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Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
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Subject 513-7-1 ADMINISTRATIVE RULES

Rule 513-7-1-.01 Rules of General Applicability

(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.

Rule 513-7-1-.02 Organization of the Board

(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.

Rule 513-7-1-.03 Hearings Before the Board

(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.
(a) If a person desires to appear before the Board of Trustees, the request shall be made by letter, in a form prescribed by the Board of Trustees, to the Executive Director. The party requesting a hearing shall identify the issues for which a hearing is requested and the action requested of the Board.
(b) Upon determination by the Board of the date and time of the hearing, the Executive Director shall give written notice of the time and date of the hearing. The subject matter presented at that hearing shall be complete.
(c) At any hearing before the Board a person may retain legal counsel. Notice of such representation shall be provided to the Board at least 15 days in advance of any scheduled hearing.
(d) For the purpose of receiving evidence to be presented before the Board, the Board may appoint a hearing officer to receive such evidence and make a report thereof to the Board. Prior to any decision in such case, the person requesting such a hearing shall be entitled to make a closing argument before the Board of Trustees.
(e) The decision of the Board shall be final.
(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.

Rule 513-7-1-.04 Qualification for Membership and Creditable Service

(1) To qualify for initial membership in the Pension Fund, an individual must meet one of the following,
(a) Be a firefighter who,
(1) Is a permanent compensated employee of a compliant fire department;
(2) Works at least 20 hours per week on average (1040 hours annually); and,
(3) Is state certified or is a candidate for state certification by the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council,
(b) Be a Volunteer firefighter who,
(1) Is enrolled as a firefighter with a compliant volunteer fire department; and,
(2) Has the principal responsibility of preventing or suppressing fires,
(c) Be a full-time employee of the Pension Fund working an average of 30.5 hours per week.
(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,
(a) Clerical services for administration of the department performed by personnel within the fire department;
(b) Communication services for fire suppression and fire prevention activities performed by personnel within the fire department; and,
(c) The maintenance and repair of firefighting equipment and apparatus performed by personnel within the fire department.

In the event of a transfer from one department to another, no more than 30 calendar days may lapse where the member is not eligibly employed by a department.

(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.
(a) For membership which requires state certification the Board shall verify through the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council, department records, and other means, that qualifications are met.
(b) For volunteer firefighters, the Board shall require annual affidavits from department chiefs that training and attendance requirements set forth in 513-7-1-.08 are met.
(c) For part-time firefighters, the Board shall require annual affidavits from the department chiefs that requirements in 513-7-1-.08 are met.
(d) For all others, the Board shall require an initial job description and periodically, on request, reaffirmation of fire support duties through inquiries of the employing fire department.
(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;
(a) The fire department is financed by public appropriation or subscription and is not privately owned; and,
(b) The fire department has a current certificate of compliance issued by the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training council; and,
(c) The fire department has been issued an ISO rating as a Class 9 or better under the current approved ISO rating schedule, or a rating determined to be substantially equivalent according to O.C.G.A. 47-7-61(a)(2).
(d) A volunteer fire department shall offer no less than 8 (eight) hours of department drills or meetings in at least 10 (ten) months of a calendar year for any member of the department to earn creditable service for that year.
(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 513-7-1-.04(7).

A member shall be entitled to credit for up to ten years of prior eligible service, provided that such person satisfies the following requirements;

(a) The member must file with the Board an application for such credit on forms prescribed by the Board,
(b) Submit required documentation verifying that creditable service was earned; and,
(c) Pay to the fund an amount sufficient to grant requested creditable service without creating any actuarially determined accrued liability against The Fund. This amount will be determined and provided by Fund Staff, based on the most recent tables provided by the actuary retained by the Board.

Rule 513-7-1-.05 Application for Membership

(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.

Rule 513-7-1-.06 Duty to Report Changes in Department and/or Employment Status

(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.

Rule 513-7-1-.07 Duty to Report Address Changes

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.

Rule 513-7-1-.08 Volunteer and Part-Time Firefighter Requirements and Affidavits

(1) Volunteer 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.
(a) If any volunteer department fails to offer at least 8 hours of drills or meetings per month in 3 (or more) months in a calendar year, no member of the department shall be able to earn creditable service for that year.
(b) Creditable department drills or meetings must take place as a group, at the department level. If a department has multiple stations, drills and meetings as a group at the station level may count as department drills and meetings. There shall be no sub-groups within a station for the purpose of calculating annual department drills and meetings for Pension Fund credit. Of regular department drills, and meetings offered annually, each member of the department shall attend a minimum of 25%, In addition, creditable service shall not be earned if the member attended less than 24 hours of department drills and meetings for the year. Drills and meetings must be documented on forms that contain the following;
(i) Date of training/event
(ii) Actual beginning and actual end times
(iii) Location
(iv) Brief description of training/activity
(c) Creditable calls are calls specific to the department being called. If a department has multiple stations, the calls may be specific to the station. Fire calls shall be counted towards pension credit. A fire call is defined as fires on property subject to insurance coverage under O.C.G.A. 47-7-61, including, but not limited to structures, vehicles, boats, planes and motorcycles. Structures include business and residential properties, whether occupied or not. In addition to fire calls, it shall be pre-determined annually by the chief, if, and what other types of calls are also counted as creditable. Awarding of, or denying of credit for a particular type call shall be consistent throughout the year. Members shall meet a minimum of 25% of creditable calls annually. In the event the 25% calculation does not result in a whole number, the calculation may be rounded down to the nearest whole number. Firefighters from departments with one or more creditable calls, cannot earn creditable service if no calls were attended.
(2) Additional pension eligible points may be earned for Additional Training and Station Duty.
(a) One point may be earned for each hour of organized training attended which shall take place outside the department's regularly scheduled station activity. Additional training points are not required to be earned within the member's department, but shall require the approval of the member's chief. Additional training credit shall not account for more than 25% of the members total annual pension eligible points.
(b) Additional points may also be earned by performing pre-scheduled, pre-approved Station Duty. Station Duty, performed in two hour blocks, shall earn one point of additional credit per completed two hour block. Work shall take place during the time in which credit is being earned. Station Duty Credit shall not account for more than 25% of the members total annual pension eligible points.
(c) Station duty credit and additional member training credit shall not be earned concurrently. The department shall maintain documentation of station duty, and additional training where credit is being applied towards annual pension credit. Documentation shall be on forms provided, and prescribed by, the Board of Trustees.
(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. 47-7-81.
(a) The Chief or Chief's designee shall add all points earned by a Volunteer for Station Activity and Fire Calls, plus any approved points earned for Station Duty and/or Additional Training (under 513-7-1-.08(1) and (2) above) to determine Total Points Earned.
(b) The Chief or Chief's designee shall add all points offered by the station or department for Station Activity and those Fire Calls for which the Volunteer and his/her volunteer unit is responsible to determine Total Points Available.
(c) For each Volunteer unit, the total of points offered and responsible, i.e. the Total Points Available should be the same for all Volunteers.
(d) The Chief or Chief's designee shall divide Total Points Earned by Total Points Available for each pension participating Volunteer to determine if pension creditable service has been earned.
(4) Volunteer 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.
(a) The Required Annual Affidavit Packet shall be provided by the Fund, and is to be completed and returned in its entirety by the chief of their respective fire department.
(b) A list of active members will be provided to the department. Individual Volunteer Service Affidavits must be completed for each person listed. Each Volunteer Service Affidavit must be signed by the member and the chief.
(c) The annual Volunteer Service Affidavits, along with any requested or specified backup documentation for each member listed, shall be properly addressed and mailed in its entirety to the Pension Fund office, by first class mail, postage prepaid, and bear a postmark not later than February 15th of each year.
(d) Volunteer Service Affidavits received without required backup documentation, for each member listed, will be considered incomplete and shall be returned to the department for completion. Required Reporting Documentation received after February 15th shall not be accepted without the approval of the Board of Trustees. In addition, each member listed will be assessed a $25 late fee if their Volunteer Service Affidavit is received after February 15th.
(e) Creditable service extended to volunteer firefighters based on the Chief's Affidavit is provisional, and subject to audit and verification by the Fund.
(f) Records of calls, training, drills, meetings and station duty shall be maintained by the Department for a minimum of 10 years. Such records shall be made available for inspection by the Fund, upon request.
(5) 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).
(a) The annual Part-Time Affidavit, prepared by the Fund and completed by the chief, attesting that the requirements in 513-7-1-.08(5) above have been met, must be filed promptly after the end of each calendar year. The completed affidavit must contain the number of hours worked for each member listed, and be signed by the chief for the member to receive credit.
(b) The annual Part-Time Affidavit shall be properly addressed and mailed to the Pension Fund office, by first class mail; postage prepaid, and be postmarked no later than February 15th of each year.
(c) Any Part-Time Affidavit received after February 15th shall not be accepted without the approval of the Board of Trustees. In addition, each member listed on the affidavit will be assessed a $25 late fee if the "Part-Time Affidavit" is received after February 15th.
(d) Creditable service extended to part-time firefighters based on the Chief's Affidavit is provisional, and subject to audit and verification by the Fund.

Rule 513-7-1-.09 Leave of Absence

(1) Leave of Absence
(a) Any member of the Fund may request a Leave of Absence from the Fund when the member is no longer an active member of a fire department and no longer qualifies for membership in the fund, by submitting a written request for such leave to the Executive Director within thirty (30) days of the date the member wishes such leave. Upon submission of the request and approval by the Board, said request shall be granted for two years. The member shall state in the request the date the member ceased to qualify for membership and any change in mailing address.
(b) Before the end of the two year leave period, the member may, in writing, request a renewal of the leave status for an additional two years. Leaves of Absence may be renewed in such manner for an indefinite period.
(c) If a member re-enters the fire service, the member may apply for reinstatement. A request for reinstatement shall include a completed new member application and the first month's dues payment by check or money order.
(d) Pursuant to O.C.G.A. Section 47-7-41, the reinstatement to active membership from a Leave of Absence or an extension of a Leave of Absence shall be subject to the requirements of O.C.G.A. Section 47-7-40.
(e) A member is not required nor permitted to pay dues during a Leave of Absence, and no creditable service is earned during such leave.
(2) Military Leave of Absence.
(a) A member may request a Military Leave of Absence by submitting a written request, including a copy of activation orders, to the Executive Director. Such request shall be granted for the period the member remains on active duty.
(b) Members must rejoin the fire service and apply for re-instatement in the Pension Fund within one year of their release from active duty in order to preserve this benefit. A request for re-instatement shall include a new member application, a copy of military separation papers and the first month's dues payment by check or money order.
(c) Members on military leave who pay dues currently or within one year of their return from active military service shall receive pension creditable service for the period of active duty upon which the relevant dues amount is paid.
(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.

Rule 513-7-1-.10 Payment of Dues

(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.
(a) Any member having two returned items from any bank for any reason may be required by the Executive Director to pay dues by money order or certified funds until such requirement is released.
(b) Any member having a returned item from any bank for any reason shall be charged a "returned items" charge in an amount set by the Board prior to being allowed to resume dues payments.
(c) Members shall be current with their dues in order to apply for the direct debit program and shall maintain current dues payments in order to stay in the program. Members who fall in arrears on dues payments due to returned debit items shall be discontinued from the program until the arrearage is satisfied.
(d) Dues paid by check or money order may be paid up to one year in advance.
(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:
(a) All departments that submit dues payments on behalf of their employees shall enclose a copy of the Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund payments receipt;
(b) A separate notice shall be given to the Fund of each addition to the list of members for whom dues are paid and the new members shall be shown on the composite list;
(c) A person leaving the fire service or the department shall be removed from the composite list by the employer fire department and separate notice given to the Fund of such removal by the employer fire department;
(d) If a department pays the member's dues and the member consequently receives non-creditable service for such period, the department may request, in writing, that such funds be returned to the department if the money has not previously been returned to the member.
(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.

Rule 513-7-1-.11 Delinquent Dues; Notification Process

(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.

Rule 513-7-1-.12 Retirement

(1) Applications: Requirements.
(a) Members qualifying for retirement and seeking to do so shall prepare and submit an application for retirement in a form prescribed by the Board of Trustees. Such form shall be submitted 60 days in advance of the planned retirement date. The form shall be signed by the Chief of the member's fire department. A Chief's retirement application shall be signed by the Chief's civilian supervisor (e.g. Mayor, City Manager, etc.).
(b) An application for retirement shall include the form to select a survivor option, and a beneficiary (if such has not already been chosen). This shall be verified during processing by the Pension Fund office. The three options available are:
1. Full Benefits-No survivor- a named beneficiary is required to receive the final pension payment after the retiree's death;
2. Option A - Joint and Survivor - beneficiary must be a legal spouse; and
3. Option B - Ten year Certain and Life - beneficiary may be a spouse or any non-spousal relationship, but must be an individual, see Rule 513-7-1.14.
(c) A change in beneficiary designation may be made only upon forms prescribed by the Board and no change is effective until said completed form is received by the Fund. To be valid, a change in beneficiary designation shall be received in the Fund office prior to the member's death.
(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.
(a) Retired firefighters, after retiring from service with their respective fire departments and commencing to receive benefits from this Fund, may then volunteer to donate their time, service and resources to assist their local fire department in any capacity deemed appropriate to their expertise. So long as the retired firefighter is not compensated by the hour, by the call, per diem, or in any manner related to his/her service, the retired firefighter may continue to receive retirement benefits. The determinant of whether or not a firefighter is compensated or not compensated will rest with the production of tax reporting documentation for the individual. If a Form W-2 or Form 1099 is issued to report taxable income or transfer payments to a retired firefighter, then compensation shall be presumed, and benefits shall be suspended.
(b) If a retired firefighter is reimbursed for purchases made for personal equipment or on behalf of a fire department, bona fide receipts, certified by the firefighter as correct, shall be maintained and available to the pension office on request for a period not to exceed seven years.
(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.

Rule 513-7-1-.13 Waiting Legal Age Status

(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.
(3) Reserved.

Rule 513-7-1-.14 Issuance of Pension Checks

(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.
(2) Payments.
(a) Pension payments shall be made to retirees and beneficiaries by direct deposit or by check in accordance with the request of the retiree.
(b) Retirees and their beneficiaries may, and are encouraged, to request direct deposit of benefit payments to the checking or savings account of their choice. Direct deposit is the preferred method for efficiency and security. Direct deposit payments are released to retiree banks no later than the last day of the current month.
(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 following circumstances:
(a) Beneficiaries of members with less than 15 years of creditable service shall be eligible to receive a one-time payment of $5,000
(b) The beneficiary of a retired member who chooses the "Regular Retirement" option will be due:
1. The final payment at the end of the month during which the retiree died payable to the beneficiary; and
2. Should the retiree die prior to receiving a total of $5,000 in retirement benefits, the beneficiary shall receive the balance of $5,000, less the benefits paid-to-date to the retiree.
(c) Claims for death benefits must be supported by a notarized copy of the official death certificate.

Rule 513-7-1-.15 Early Retirement Calculation; Reemployment

(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.
(a) A retired member who becomes reemployed with a Fire Department and meets the requirements for membership may submit a new application for membership. If the application is granted, he or she may rejoin the Fund as an active member. After their reemployment has terminated and they have notified the Pension Fund, retirement benefits shall be resumed. If the member acquires less than seven (7) years of subsequent creditable service, the benefit amount will be based on the firefighter's age at the original retirement date and creditable service earned at the date reemployment was terminated.
(b) If the member acquires seven (7) years (or more) of creditable service during the period of re-employment, the benefit amount will be based on the firefighters' age and creditable service earned at the date reemployment was terminated.

Rule 513-7-1-.16 Increases in Monthly Retirement and Disability Benefits

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.

Rule 513-7-1-.17 Conversions Under Section 47-7-100(d)(3) on Death or Divorceor Remarriage

(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 Divorce.
(a) If a member has elected Option A, the "Joint and Survivor" benefit and following retirement the spouse dies or the member and the member's spouse are divorced, a member may convert the retirement benefit to a "Regular Retirement" benefit.
(b) The amount of the retiree lifetime benefit in that case will be calculated as of the time the application to revoke the Option A benefit is received by the Board in proper form. Payments shall commence effective the first day of the month immediately following the Board's approval. There is no payment of retiree lifetime benefits for any period prior to the time the revocation is approved by the Board.
(c) The amount of the benefit will be calculated based on:
1. The member's age at the time of the member's retirement;
2. The maximum monthly retirement benefit at the time of the member's retirement; and
3. All lump sum or percentage increases in that maximum monthly retirement benefit which have been made by action of the General Assembly, or by action of the Board since the date of the member's original retirement date.
(3) Remarriage.
(a) If after retirement, a member has previously revoked an Option A benefit because of the death of, or divorce from the designated spouse and converted the benefit to a retireelifetime benefit, and the member then remarries, the member may then elect an Option A benefit for the member and the member's new spouse.
(b) The amount of the Option A benefit payable to the member during the member's lifetime and payable to the spouse upon the death of the member shall be calculated from the time the application to elect Option A benefit is received by the Pension Fund in proper form. Payments shall commence effective on the first day of the month immediately following the Board's approval. The calculation of the Option A benefit shall be based on both the member's and new spouse's ages at the time the completed application for the Option A benefit is received by the Pension Fund.
(c) The calculation of the Option A benefit is also based on:
1. The maximum benefit in effect at the time of the member's original retirement; and
2. All lump sum of percentage increases in that maximum monthly retirement benefit which have been made by action of the General Assembly or by action of the Boardsince the date of the member's original retirement date. For purposes of simplicity, the calculation shall be made as if the member and the member's new spouse, at each of their ages at the time the application is received by the Pension Fund in proper form, were retired at the date of the member's original retirement, and adjustments to the lifetime and survivor benefits had been made since that time. However, there is no payment of benefits socalculated for any period prior to the time the application for the Option A benefit is approved by the Board. Any benefit change of this nature shall be effective on the firstday of the month immediately following board approval.

Rule 513-7-1-.18 Annual Affidavit by Disability Retirees

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.

Rule 513-7-1-.19 Examination of Records Relating to Tax on Insurance Premiums

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.

Rule 513-7-1-.20 Determination of Unprotected Property 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.

Rule 513-7-1-.21 Determination of Substantial Equivalency

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.