Termination of Active Service
Terminating employment with the City does not always mean a total loss of your contributions. Read below to learn about your options.
If you choose to resign from sworn service with the City of Los Angeles for any reason, or if you are involuntarily terminated, you have options available to you and may involve one of the following – depending on the provisions of your plan tier:
- Apply for a service pension (if eligible)
- A refund of all pension contributions, plus interest gained (except for Tier 4 members)
- Deferred service pension upon reaching age 50, if you meet eligibility requirements
- File a timely application for a disability pension.
APPLY FOR A SERVICE PENSION – Eligibility
You may apply for a Service Pension once you meet the following minimum requirements:
Age 50 and at least
10 Years of Service
|TIERS 2 & 4
Any age with at least
20 Years of Service
|TIERS 5 & 6
Age 50 and at least
20 Years of Service
For more information about applying for a Service Pension, please contact the DROP/Service Pensions Section at (213) 279-3100 or email at DROPSP@lafpp.com.
REFUND OF PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS – Tiers 2, 3, 5 and 6 Members
Upon termination/resignation, you may elect to receive a full refund of your contributions, plus accrued interest, while you were employed by the City. LAFPP will receive a Form 41 as formal notice of your termination of employment from your department within four to six weeks after termination.
You may then opt to receive a lump-sum payment, which can be rolled over to an individual retirement account (IRA) or other qualified plan, or received as a cash payment less mandatory federal taxes.
Important factors to consider:
- If you receive a refund of contributions, you forfeit all rights to any pension benefits as described in the City Charter and Los Angeles Administrative Code, including the right to receive a disability pension.
- A refund of contributions may be subject to federal income tax withholding on the taxable portion (state tax withholding may also apply) and an early-withdrawal penalty. Please note that some members have both pre-tax and post-tax contributions.
- A direct rollover is a direct payment to a traditional IRA or eligible employer plan that will accept it. You are not taxed on these funds until you take distribution of them. An early withdrawal penalty does not apply unless you take early distribution from the tax qualified plan to which the funds were transferred. Specific rules apply.
- If your pension contributions are subject to a court order that awards a former spouse his/her community property share or are subject to a wage assignment for child/spousal support, the amount refundable to you will be affected.
- Your contributions do not earn interest from LAFPP after you terminate active service. The rules that apply to your refund of contributions can be complex. You may wish to consult with a professional tax advisor who can assist you in determining how to take a distribution that is in your best interest. If you would like to receive a summary of the rules contained in our Special Tax Notice Regarding Plan Payments and the Distribution Election and Rollover Form in advance, please contact the Active Member Services Section at (213) 279-3140 or by email at AMSsection@lafpp.com
TIER 4 MEMBERS: If you terminate employment for any reason other than disability, you are not eligible for a refund of contributions.
For more information about the refund process, please visit the FAQ section of our website or call the Active Member Services Section at (213) 279-3140 or by email at AMSSection@lafpp.com. You may also view your pension contributions and interest balance by logging into your MyLAFPP account.
DEFERRED PENSION OPTION – Tiers 3, 5 and 6 only
If you have the required minimum years of service but are not yet age 50, a deferred service pension allows you to terminate active service and collect a pension when you turn age 50. You may elect a deferred pension if you are a:
- Tier 3 member with at least 10 years of service
- Tier 5 member with at least 20 years of service
- Tier 6 member with at least 20 years of service
To receive this benefit, you must leave your contributions in the system and file a written, irrevocable election with LAFPP within three years of your termination date or lose the right to receive a deferred service pension.
If you elect to receive the deferred service pension, we will contact you approximately six weeks before your 50th birthday to begin the pension application process in order to have your pension approved by the Board of Fire and Police Pension Commissioners immediately following your birthday. Please keep your address current in our records so that we may contact you and begin the process without delay.
Important factors to consider:
- Tiers 5 and 6 Members – If you elect a deferred service pension, your pension is calculated using Tier 3 pension percentages, which are lower. However, you remain a Tier 5 or 6 member and will retain the Cost of Living Adjustment Bank.
- If you die after you terminate active service and before you turn age 50, your qualified survivors do not receive a survivor’s pension. Instead, there will be a refund of contributions, plus interest, to your designated beneficiary.
TIER 4 MEMBERS: If you terminate employment for any reason other than disability, you are not eligible for a deferred pension.
For more information about Deferred Pensions, please contact the Active Member Services Section at (213) 279-3140 or by email at AMSSection@lafpp.com.
APPLY FOR A DISABILITY PENSION – All tiers
Prior to receiving a refund of contributions, you also have the right to file an application for a disability pension. However, you must file your application within one year of your termination date (this deadline may be extended if you have a pending case with Workers’ Compensation). It is important to remember that the acceptance of a claim by Workers’ Compensation does not guarantee a disability pension.
In the event you are not granted a disability pension, your options remain to elect a deferred service pension (assuming you meet the eligibility requirements) or to receive a refund of pension contributions.
For more information about filing for a disability pension, please contact the Disability Pensions Section at (213) 279-3165 or Disability@lafpp.com.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I RESIGN WHILE IN DROP?
Resigning from sworn employment with the City will automatically terminate your participation in DROP and you will be deemed to have retired. You will begin receiving your monthly retirement benefit and will have to decide how you wish to have your DROP account distributed.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM TERMINATED WHILE IN DROP?
Being terminated automatically ends your participation in DROP. Upon completion of the required DROP exit/account distribution documents, and subject to the monthly pension payroll processing deadlines, you will receive your accumulated DROP funds up to your employment termination/exit date. Your monthly service pension payments will usually begin the month following your DROP exit date.
If you are appealing your discharge, at your request, distribution of your DROP account will be withheld while the appeal of your discharge is pending.
Should you be reinstated, you may continue to participate in DROP if the account has been withheld, and the original period of DROP participation will continue but cannot exceed the original 5-year/60-month limit (plus any additional months where your DROP participation was suspended, applicable to members who enter DROP on or after February 1, 2019 – up to 30 additional months).
If the DROP funds have been distributed, you cannot return to sworn employment or continue in DROP even if your termination is overturned.
For more information about separation from DROP, please contact the DROP/Service Pensions Section at (213) 279-3100 or via email at DROPSP@lafpp.com. You may also visit the How to Exit DROP page on our website.