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 Pop Up Option provides a monthly benefit for the lifetime of the retiree and, upon the death of the retiree, 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 retirees benefit- depending on the election made at the time of retirement. However, if the joint annuitant predeceases the retiree, the monthly benefit will pop-up to the Lifetime Option amount for the rest of the retiree’s life. The Joint Annuitant cannot be changed.
  • 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 Guaranteed Period Annuity provides a monthly benefit that is paid to the retiree for their lifetime. If the retiree dies before 10 or 15 years from the date of retirement, the benefits continue to the surviving beneficiary for the balance of the 10 or 15 year period. If the retiree lives beyond the 10 or 15 year period, no benefits will be paid to the surviving beneficiary upon the death of the retiree.
  • The Lump Sum payment is equal to the actuarial value of the member’s accrued benefit. This represents a full discharge of all rights accumulated under the Pension Plan.

How did the Police Officers’ Plan changes in 2012 impact how benefits are calculated

Click here for an explanation of the changes effective as of October 1, 2012.

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.

If I am not vested and I terminate employment, what happens to my contributions

When you terminate employment and you are not vested, you may leave your contributions on deposit for up to five years, however your contributions will earn no additional interest. After you terminate, you may choose to receive a refund of your contributions plus any interest earned through the termination date.

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 police officer loses their life as a direct result of the performance of their duties as a police officer, the surviving spouse shall be entitled to the same monthly pension as if the deceased member had taken a normal retirement and then died. If the police officer has less than twenty-five (25) years of service, the pension will be calculated assuming twenty-five (25) years of service. If a police officer is killed in the line of duty, the spouse’s benefit will not cease upon remarriage.

If a retired member dies without a surviving spouse, or dependent child, or dependent parent, a lump sum payment equal to the amount of the member's contributions, reduced by any benefit payments already made, will be paid to the member's designated beneficiary or, if none, then to the member's estate.

Death Not in Performance of Duties

If any police officer dies of causes not directly attributed to the performance of their duties as a police officer, their spouse will be entitled to the same monthly pension as if the deceased member had taken a Not Line of Duty Disability and then died.

If a retired member dies without a surviving spouse, or dependent child, or dependent parent, a lump sum payment equal to the amount of the member's contributions, reduced by any benefit payments already made, will be paid to the member's designated beneficiary or, if none, then to the member's estate.

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.

Am I eligible for the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP)

In lieu of terminating employment as a police officer, any member that is eligible for normal retirement may elect to defer receipt of retirement pension to participate in the DROP. The maximum length for participation in the DROP is sixty (60) months.

Entry into the DROP constitutes an irrevocable notice of termination, effective not later than sixty (60) months from the effective date of the DROP.

Can I change my investment return option in the DROP

Participants can select an investment return equal to the same rate of return earned by the Pension Fund, or a fixed rate of 2.5% per quarter. The investment choice may be changed once during the period of participation, however, the change will become effective the beginning of the next quarter. Please contact the pension office in order to update your investment return option.

When should I notify the pension office when I am terminating employment and I am in the DROP

The pension office should be notified as soon as you are aware of your termination date.

If I am in the DROP, what does the pension office need from me when I terminate employment

The pension office will need a copy of a voided check for direct deposit and a completed W-4P form for federal income taxes. The pension office will also need forms completed to direct how to pay the DROP money.

How quickly will my lump sum payment for my DROP money be paid

The DROP 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.

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 COLA for a person who retired prior to October 1, 2012 is a 3.2% annual increase and the increase is made the last day of the month of February.

The COLA for a person who retired after October 1, 2012 is 3.2% for the service accrued prior to October 1, 2012 and the adjustment is made the last day of the month of February. The service accrued after October 1, 2012 is a 1% annual increase and is effective on the retirees 65th birthday.

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

Time served under honorable conditions in the military service of the Armed Forces of the United States or the United States Merchant Marines prior to initial employment can be purchased and added to the years of service, but will not be counted toward vesting. The maximum purchase is 5 years.

Time that a member previously served as police officer for any other municipal, county, state or federal law enforcement agency in the United States can be added to the years of credited services, but will not be counting toward vesting.

Please contact the pension office at (941) 954-2600 or (941) 954-4141 for any additional information and costs associated with buying previous service time.

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.

How do I become a member of the Police Officers’ Pension Board of Trustees

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

a. Two of the members are appointed by the City Commission.
b. Two of the members are active members of the City of Sarasota’s Police Officers’ 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.