Subject 513-7-1 ADMINISTRATIVE RULES
|(1)||The mailing address of the Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund (GFPF) is 2171 East View Parkway Conyers, Georgia 30013.|
|(2)||The principal office of the Fund is located at 2171 East View Parkway Conyers, Georgia 30013.|
|(3)||The official web site of the Fund is www.gfpf.org .|
|(4)||Correspondence with the Board of Trustees concerning the Fund should be addressed to the Executive Director of the Fund only at the address in (1) above.|
|(5)||Unless otherwise provided by the Board of Trustees, meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be held at its principal office.|
|(6)||All checks issued by the Fund require the signature of the Executive Director or a duly authorized designee as approved by the Board of Trustees.|
|(7)||This rule is solely for the purpose of determining compliance with time requirements for delivery to the Board of Trustees of such matters; any matter required to be filed with the Board of Trustees, and any payment required to be made to the Board of Trustees, shall be deemed received by the Board of Trustees based on the U. S. Postal Service postmark date when such matter, or payment, is mailed to the Board of Trustees, if such mailing is later received by the Board of Trustees. The sender of any matter or any payment shall not be excused from the obligation to send or pay in the event any matter or payment so mailed is for any reason not delivered to the Fund.|
|(8)||In all instances in the succeeding paragraphs, where the signature of a "Department Chief" is required, the Chief may designate no more than two delegates with signature authority for purposes of signing membership and retirement applications and beneficiary forms. Such delegations shall be on file with the Pension Fund Office in a form prescribed and approved by the Board of Trustees.|
|(9)||All forms referenced herein are available from the principal office of the Fund or from the official web site of the Fund as noted above.|
|(1)||The Board shall annually elect a Chair, Vice-Chair, and such other officers as it shall determine appropriate. Each officer shall hold office until the officer's successor is elected and qualified.|
|(2)||There shall be an Investment Committee which shall consist of all of the Board Members.|
|(3)||Unless otherwise provided, the Chair shall preside at each meeting of the Board or of any committee on which the Chair serves.|
|(1)||Unless otherwise provided by the Board, each determination of the Board, with respect to eligibility for membership or continued membership in the Fund, creditable service, eligibility for regular retirement or disability retirement benefits, the amount of retirement benefits, or the termination or suspension of benefits shall become final upon the expiration of thirty (30) days after the date of such decision.|
|(2)|| Request for Hearing.
|(3)||No person shall be entitled to a second hearing on the same question or subject matter unless new evidence relevant to the subject matter in question shall be discovered. However, in all matters of alleged newly discovered evidence, the person so claiming shall first submit such evidence to the Board of Trustees, in writing, and, if said evidence has sufficient merit to warrant a second hearing on the matter, the Board of Trustees in its sole discretion may grant a second hearing.|
|(1)|| To qualify for initial membership in the
Pension Fund, an individual must meet one of the following,
|(2)||Employees who are not state certified through the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council and whose only function is the performance of emergency medical services are not eligible for membership.|
|(3)||No person under a sentence of confinement shall be eligible for active membership in the Fund, nor shall any member of the Fund earn creditable service during a time period in which the member is incarcerated under a sentence of confinement.|
|(4)||Any individual who does not qualify for membership under (1) above, or who does not have and principally perform the duties of a firefighter shall not be eligible for initial or continued membership in the Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund, even though the individual is employed by a fire department in some other capacity, unless prior to July 1, 2006 as an employee of a full-time fire department, the individual principally performed within that fire department a support function set forth in subpart (5) (a, b and c).|
|(5)|| Current members of the Pension Fund who
do not meet the initial membership requirements specified in paragraph (1)
above, and who were admitted to the Fund prior to July 1, 2006 may remain in
the Fund and continue to earn creditable service so long as there is no break
in eligibility based on qualifying employment listed below,
|(6)|| The Board may require evidence of
qualification for initial or continued membership in the Georgia Firefighters'
Pension Fund and of the performance of creditable service certification by the
applicant or member and by the Chief of the department as to the roster of the
department, showing the position held and the duties of the position held.
|(7)|| Creditable service may be
earned by qualifying firefighters serving in a public fire department that
serves a designated district provided all of the following are met;
|(8)|| Credit for prior eligible service may be
granted if the member satisfied the requirements for membership and creditable
service in 513-7-1-.04 at the time such service was rendered. For the member to
be eligible for the purchase of prior eligible service the department with
which credit is being claimed must have met the requirements set forth above in
A member shall be entitled to credit for up to ten years of prior eligible service, provided that such person satisfies the following requirements;
|(1)||A person applying for membership in the Fund shall file a completed application in the form prescribed by the Board, together with proof of date of birth, and a specified payment which shall be applied to dues payable for the first month of membership in the event the application is granted.|
|(2)||As noted in the application, the applicant shall select a beneficiary. A beneficiary is any person designated before or after the approval of an application for retirement, by the applicant or member to receive benefits which may continue to be payable upon the death of the member. See also 513-7-1-.12.|
|(3)||The applicant shall furnish such additional information as may be requested by the Board or the Executive Director.|
|(4)||Upon receipt of a completed application and upon Board approval, a letter of acceptance shall be mailed to the applicant and a copy to the applicant's fire department. For the member's convenience, a copy of the "Rules and Regulations" is available on the GFPF website.|
|(5)||Upon acceptance to the Fund, new members shall be assigned a "Member Identification Number" (Member ID) to be used in all correspondence with the Pension Fund office and for access to member records in the "Member's Area" of the website.|
|(6)||Upon the determination by the Executive Director that an applicant does not satisfy the objective standards of the Fund relating to membership, the Executive Director shall have authority to give notice to the applicant that the application has been rejected.|
|(7)||Incomplete applications received by the Pension Fund shall be returned to the applicant.|
|(8)||Membership in the Fund shall be deemed to have commenced on the date the Pension Fund receives a completed application which includes the first months dues payment. The Executive Director shall report such action to the Board.|
|(1)||A member who changes status from one to another of the following, full time, part-time or volunteer, or a member who changes from one fire department to another, shall report such change to the Pension Fund Office within sixty (60) days of the change date on the Change of Status/Transfer Form prescribed by the Board. If the reporting date is more than sixty (60) days past the transfer date, documentation providing proof of employment by paid personnel, or training and incident response documentation by volunteers, shall be required. Failure to report such changes may result in loss of subsequent creditable service through the date the form is stamped "Received" in the Pension Fund Office.|
|(2)||A member shall give notice to the Board of any change of employment status, including any change of duties to those which are not the duties of a firefighter, or a support function described in 513-7-1-.04. This shall be submitted on the Change of Status/Transfer Form prescribed by the Board. A member may request leave of absence under 513-7-1-.09. A member may also resign from the Fund and request a refund of dues under 513-7-1-.10.|
|(3)||Any member who receives non-creditable service from a department shall not claim credit from another department for that same time period. Credit shall only be earned from the department in which the member was/is enrolled with the Pension Fund.|
Each applicant for membership shall be required to provide their current mailing address to the Pension Fund. Each member, and each retiree shall be required to give notice to the Pension Fund of any change in member's current mailing address. The Pension Fund shall rely upon, and use for the purpose of correspondence and giving notices, the most recent mailing address provided by the member, which is on file with the Pension Fund Office.
firefighters shall meet a minimum standard of 50% of the aggregate of
creditable department drills or meetings and creditable calls for the calendar
year using a point based system. One point shall be earned for each eligible
call, and one point for each completed hour of designated department drills or
meetings held as a group.
Additional pension eligible points may be earned for Additional Training and
|(3)|| The Chief or Chief's designee shall
determine if a Volunteer has earned pension creditable service for the period
under report by summarizing the points earned relative to points available to
determine if the "50%" standard has been met in accordance with O.C.G.A.
Service Affidavits for each active volunteer shall be filed promptly after the
end of each calendar year by the chief of each department with which volunteer
firefighters are enrolled attesting to the attendance of the volunteer
firefighters for the prior calendar year.
Part-Time Firefighters are state certified firefighters, employed in a
permanent compensated position, working at least 20 hours per week on average,
(1040 hours annually).
|(1)|| Leave of Absence
Leave of Absence.
|(3)||A full time firefighter may earn up to 90 days/3 months of creditable service while on unpaid medical leave so long as the leave is reported to the Fund on forms prescribed by the Board.|
|(4)||In the event a member fails to submit requested documentation regarding his/her status, a Leave of Absence may be imposed by the Board.|
|(1)||Dues are to be paid in the amount as prescribed in O.C.G.A. 47-7-60. Dues are due on the tenth (10th) day of each month if paid by individual or department. If paid by direct debit, dues are debited on the fifteenth (15th) day of each month.|
|(2)|| Dues payments made directly to the Fund
by an individual may be paid by personal check, money order or direct debit.
Each such check or money order shall show the member's Pension Fund ID number
or social security number.
|(3)|| As a matter of convenience to its
members, the Fund, subject to these rules, accepts remittance of dues made on
behalf of its members by the employer fire department. In such cases, the
employer fire department is not acting as agent for the Fund. The Fund is not
responsible for loss or error by the employer fire department. In such cases:
|(4)||Dues payments, whether by individual members or by employer fire departments, are not effective until actually received by the Fund.|
|(5)||Any member leaving the fire service or Pension Fund for any reason may request are fund of dues less a 5% administrative service cost. Moneys paid to the Fund for creditable service are refunded to the member regardless of the source of payment.|
|(1)||As a matter of courtesy, any member of this Fund who becomes delinquent in the payment of dues by failure to pay the prescribed amount of dues shall be notified of such delinquency by first class mail by the Executive Director after five (5) months of delinquency. The notice shall be mailed to the member's current mailing address on file with the Pension Fund, and a copy of such notice shall be sent to the employer fire department by first class mail. If the member becomes six (6) months delinquent, the member shall then be suspended from active membership in the Fund and a notice of suspension shall be sent by first class mail to the member and the employer fire department. In such an event, a refund of 95% of the dues paid by the delinquent member shall be available for refund to the member upon request.|
|(2)||The notices set forth above are provided by the Fund to its members solely as a matter of courtesy to its membership. The failure of the Fund to give notice, in any case, or the failure of a member to receive such notices, shall not excuse a member's responsibility and a member may not rely upon the procedure set forth above to avoid payment of dues when required by law. No claim shall be made upon the Executive Director or any member of the Pension Fund's staff for the failure to give such notice or for the member's failure to receive it.|
|(2)||Payments of retirement benefits shall not commence until it has been determined that all requirements for retirement eligibility have been satisfied and an application for retirement has been approved by the Board.|
|(3)||All volunteer firefighters, upon application for retirement, shall complete and submit a notarized Creditable Service Affidavit, indicating that they have met the requirements for creditable service since the previous year's affidavit was filed.|
|(4)|| Benefits may not commence until the
member is no longer employed by a fire department nor engaged in a compensated
capacity that would qualify him/her for membership in the Fund.
|(5)||Retired firefighters who are receiving benefits and choose to return to service with a fire department shall notify the Fund within 30 days of re-employment. Benefits shall be suspended for the period of re-employment. Such member may re-join the Fund and earn additional creditable service under O.C.G.A. Sec. 47-7-101. Benefits will be resumed at the prior level, plus any increases granted in the interim, when the member subsequently retires.|
|(6)||The retired member shall notify the Pension Fund office of any of the following changes: mailing address, direct deposit information, marital status (i.e. divorce, death of spouse, re-marriage), beneficiary, tax withholding or re-engagement for compensation in a capacity that qualifies for membership in the Pension Fund.|
|(1)||A member who no longer serves in the fire service and has not yet attained the age of 50 (for early retirement) or 55 (for full retirement), but who has earned the minimum creditable service years required for benefits upon application, may defer the receipt of benefits until the member reaches the chosen retirement age. Such member shall be placed in "Waiting Legal Age" status. In the event the member is placed in "Waiting Legal Age" status, an application for retirement shall be filed with the Fund, but shall not be presented to the Board for approval until the member reaches the chosen retirement age. A member who elects "Waiting Legal Age" status at the minimum vested age may at any time revoke the election and apply for early retirement benefits, if otherwise eligible.|
|(2)||Any person in "Waiting Legal Age" status who returns to active service revokes the member's election for retirement and must notify the Executive Director of that fact within thirty (30) days after returning to active service. Such member will automatically be placed on "Leave of Absence" pending the receipt of a new member application, if the member chooses to re-join the Fund.|
|(1)||Pension benefit payments shall commence in the month following the date the Board of Trustees approves the member's application for retirement. Benefits shall not be paid retroactively should the application be delayed or not submitted to the Board in a timely manner.|
|(3)||Pension payments to those retirees choosing to receive benefit payments by check shall be issued no later than the last working day of the current month. A retiree who does not receive his/her check by the tenth (10th) day of the following month may request a new check be drawn and a stop payment ordered on the previously issued check. The Fund may delay issuance of a new check pending a determination that the stop payment order was effective.|
|(4)||Pension payments shall be issued to and in the name of the member only, except in the case of the survivor benefits payable under Option A (Joint & Survivor) or Option B (Ten years Certain). In the case of optional benefits, upon notice to the Fund of the death of the member, and receipt of evidence of death, benefit payments shall be issued in the name of the designated beneficiary.|
|(5)|| Death benefits, other than survivor
benefits are available to beneficiaries of members who become deceased in the
|(1)||A member may choose to receive a reduced monthly benefit if they are between the ages of 50 and 55 and/or they earned between 15 and 25 years of creditable service at the time of retirement. The monthly benefit will be a prorata amount based on the maximum monthly retirement benefit in effect at the time of the member's retirement to which the member would have otherwise been eligible to receive. For each year of age less than 55, the member's maximum monthly retirement benefit will be reduced by 6%. For each year of creditable service less than 25, the member's maximum monthly retirement benefit in effect will be reduce by 4%. If a member has more than 25 years of creditable service upon retirement, 2% of the member's maximum monthly retirement benefit will be added to that monthly benefit for each additional year.|
|(2)|| A retired
member who has begun receiving benefits must immediately notify the Executive
Director if they become reemployed with a Fire Department. Retirement benefits
being paid to such person shall be suspended from the time of when reemployment
begins until the time reemployment terminates. After their reemployment has
terminated and they have notified the Pension Fund, retirement benefits shall
be resumed. That benefit amount will be based on the firefighter's age and
creditable service earned at the original retirement date.
Unless this rule shall be properly amended, any increases in benefits authorized by the Board of Trustees under O.C.G.A. Section § 47-7-27 by resolution shall be applied as follows: The maximum monthly retirement benefit and the maximum monthly disability benefit of those members who have theretofore retired or who thereafter retire under O.C.G.A. Section § 47-7-100 and Section § 47-7-102, respectively, shall be increased by an amount equal to the percentage increase authorized by Board resolution applied to the maximum monthly benefit in effect on the date of such member's retirement. In the case of retirement benefits theretofore elected or thereafter elected under Option A ,"Joint and Survivor," or Option B,"Ten year Certain and Life." of Section § 47-7-100, the percentage increase shall be applied to the maximum monthly retirement benefit to which such option was or is thereafter applied.
|(1)||Purpose of Rule. This rule implements Code Section § 47-7-100(d)(3) concerning conversions of a Joint and Survivor benefit to a retiree lifetime benefit following death of or divorce from a spouse and conversion of a retiree lifetime benefit to a Joint and Survivor benefit upon a subsequent remarriage. This rule prescribes the manner in which the calculation of resulting benefits is to be made.|
|(2)|| Death or
Each member receiving disability retirement from the Fund shall, within 120 days of January 1st of each year, furnish the Executive Director, in affidavit form, an itemized statement showing the amounts and source, of income obtained from gainful employment by such retiree in the preceding year. Each member shall include with such affidavit, a photocopy of his/her Federal Income Tax return. In the case of a joint return, the return shall reflect the member's separate true income. Failure on the part of any disability retiree to comply with this rule shall be cause for the Executive Director to discontinue such disability retirement payment until compliance is fully achieved.
The Executive Director, or delegate, is authorized on behalf of the Board to examine such records as may be necessary to determine the accuracy of returns filed under O.C.G.A. Section 47-7-61 and to determine the tax liability of any insurance company, corporation or association thereunder. Each insurance company, corporation or association collecting or receiving premiums for fire, lightning and extended coverage, inland marine and applied lines, and wind storm insurance policies covering property within this State shall keep and make available to the Executive Director, or delegate, such records as may be necessary to determine the accuracy of returns filed by it and to determine the tax liability on such company, corporation or association under O.C.G.A. Section 47-7-61.
In connection with the examination of any return filed under O.C.G.A. Section § 47-7-61 or the determination of tax liability under such section, the Executive Director, or delegate, shall from discussions with the taxpayer or examination of the records of the taxpayer or such other records as may be available, recommend to the Board of Trustees a proposed resolution of any questions with respect to the determination of whether property covered by an insurance policy, with respect to which a tax would be otherwise due under O.C.G.A. Section § 47-7-61, is protected or unprotected property as defined in such code section. No such recommendation shall become final or be accepted by the Board of Trustees unless duly adopted by the Board at a duly called meeting.
For purposes of premium tax calculations under O.C.G.A. § 47-7-61(a)(2) only, the ratings standards filed by the American Association of Insurance Services with the Georgia Commissioner of Insurance, as of August 18, 2015, and which have not been disapproved by the Commissioner, are substantially equivalent and utilizes similar ratings as compared to the standards set forth in the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule published by the Insurance Services Office, a rating organization licensed by the Commission of Insurance and filed with the Georgia Commissioner of Insurance.