Where is the Pension Office located?

The Pension Plans Administration is a division of the Office of the City Auditor & Clerk located at:
City of Sarasota, City Hall
1565 First Street, Room 110
Sarasota, Florida 34236

What is the contact information for its staff?

Harry Ramphal Harry.Ramphal@sarasotagov.com
Pension Plans Administrator (941)954-2600

Anthony Ferrer Anthony.Ferrer@sarasotagov.com
Pension Analyst (941)954-4141

Chinyere Deehan Chinyere.Deehan@sarasotagov.com
Administrative Specialist (941)954-4141

How do I update my beneficiary, if I am an active employee?

Click here for the Active Members Beneficiary Form. Please send this form through interoffice mail to Pension Office or mail directly to City Hall, 1565 First Street, Room 110 Sarasota, Florida 34236

When am I vested in the plan?

A member is vested at the completion of 10 years of credited service.

What are the Normal Retirement criteria?

A member is eligible for normal retirement after 25 years of credited service, regardless of age or after attaining age 50 with a minimum of 10 years of service.

What are the forms of benefit available to me?

  • The Lifetime Option is a benefit paid for the life of the retiree and no survivor benefit will be paid after your death.
  • The Spousal Benefit of 67% provides a benefit for the lifetime of the retiree. Upon the retirees death, 67% of the benefit is payable to the spouse at the time of death as long as the spouse lives.
  • The Option to Change Joint Annuitant provides the retiree with a monthly benefit for the rest of their lifetime and, upon your death, the payment continues to the joint annuitant for the rest of their life. The monthly benefit the joint annuitant receives is 50%, 67%, 75%, or 100% of the retiree’s benefit - depending on the election made at the time of retirement. The joint annuitant can be changed twice and the amount of the benefit will be recalculated based on the age of the new joint annuitant.
  • The Life and 10 Years Certain provides a monthly benefit that is paid to the retiree for their lifetime. If the retiree dies before 10 years from the date of retirement, the benefits continue to the surviving beneficiary for the balance of the 10 year period. If the retiree lives beyond the 10 year period, no benefits will be paid to the surviving beneficiary upon the death of the retiree.
  • A member that has exceeded the age or service requirements for a normal retirement may elect a partial lump sum distribution of the benefit. The partial lump sum may not exceed the equivalent of 60 months regardless of the actual accrued service time. If a partial lump sum is elected, the pension that the retiree would be entitled to will be reduced on an actuarially equivalent basis to reflect the payment of the lump sum distribution.

How do I determine what my pension benefits will be?

Contact the pension office at (941) 954-2600 or (941) 954-4141 for a calculation of your benefit.

Can I change my beneficiary once I am retired?

You can only change the beneficiary once you have retired if you elect a form of benefit that allows the change.

What happens if I die before my retirement?

Death in Performance of Duties

If any firefighter loses their life as a direct result of the performance of their duties as a firefighter, the beneficiary will receive for 10 years the same monthly pension as if the deceased member had taken a normal retirement and then died. If the firefighter has less than twenty-five (25) years of service, the pension will be calculated assuming twenty-five (25) years of service.

Death Not in Performance of Duties

If any firefighter dies of causes not directly attributed to the performance of their duties as a firefighter, the beneficiary will receive for 10 years the same monthly pension as if the deceased member had taken a Not Line of Duty Disability and then died.

When do I file for my retirement?

To ensure that pension benefits are received on time, an application should be filed with the Pension Office at least 60 days before retirement. All forms may be obtained from the Pension Office or on the forms link.

How quickly will my lump sum payment for my Share money or partial lump sum be paid?

The Share money will be paid as soon as administratively feasible, but not prior to the termination date. Funds must be withdrawn within 90 days after termination from the City.

How long can I leave my share distribution in the Plan without withdrawing it after I retire?

No more than 90 days.

When will I get my first check?

The pension payments are paid on the last business day of the month.

Is the pension taxable?

Yes, pensions are subject to federal income tax only. 1099R tax statements are provided each year for filing taxes. Please contact a tax advisor for how the taxes will affect your benefit.

How much is my lump sum payment going to be taxed?

Click here to view the Special Tax Notice.

Am I eligible for insurance?

Contact Human Resources at (941) 951-3660 in regard to insurance questions.

What kind of plans can I roll my lump sum payment into?

Below is a list of the type of plan or account that a lump sum payment can be rolled into:

401(a) [401(k), profit sharing, defined benefit plan, money purchase plan, other “eligible employer plan”]
403(a) [annuity plan]
403(b) [tax-sheltered annuity]
457(b) [eligible deferred compensation plan maintained by government employer]
408(a) [Traditional IRA (not Simple IRA or Coverdell Education Savings Account)]
408A [Roth IRA]

What is the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) on my pension?

The firefighters’ COLA is 3.5% applied on the last day of the month of February.

How do I update my direct deposit information once I am retired?

To update direct deposit information, please send a letter to the pension office with the requested changes. A copy of the voided check for a new account must be submitted with the request. It will take a month for the direct deposit to set up, and a check will be issued for the first month.

Can I buy back service from previous government or military employment?

This plan does not allow for members to buy back service.

How do I get a copy of my 1099R?

Contact the pension office at (941) 954-2600 or (941) 954-4141 for a copy of the 1099R.

Who do I contact for an income verification letter?

Contact the pension office for an income verification letter at (941) 954-2600 or (941) 954-4141.

When is the 13th check or share distribution sent?

The 13th check or the share distribution is issued in September of each for those who are eligible for this payment.

How do I become a member of the Firefighters’ Pension Board of Trustees?

There are certain qualifications and requirements to become a Trustee on the Firefighters’ Pension Board. Below is an explanation of who is eligible to run for a seat on this Board:

a. Two of the members are legal residents appointed by the City Commission.
b. Two of the members are active members of the City of Sarasota’s Firefighters’ Pension Plan.
c. One member is appointed by the four above mentioned members.

If you are interested in becoming a member of this Board and meet these requirements, please contact the pension office at (941) 954-2600 or (941) 954-4141.

How does the election process work?

For an active member, a memo is distributed to all active members of the Plan explaining the date the seat will expire and the date the nominating petition is due to the pension office. If only one nomination is received, that member, by default, will take the seat. If multiple nominations are received, ballots will be prepared and distributed to each member of the Plan. The ballots must be returned to the pension office in a sealed envelope. These secret ballots will then be opened and counted at the next Board meeting.

For the City Commission appointed seat, the opening will be advertised on the City’s Advisory Board Vacancies and Application web page. Once the applications are received, they will go before the City Commission for consideration.