Retired Members FAQs
- How soon should I submit my pension application in order to receive a pension at the end of the month of my retirement?
Members are advised to submit their applications at least four to six weeks in advance. Your pension will be payable approximately one to two months after your employment termination date.
- Can you give me tax advice?
No. You will need to speak with your tax advisor or the taxing agency.
If you wish to calculate an estimate of your Federal and State taxes based on various tax withholding scenarios, you may do so utilizing Paycheck City Calculator.
- How much money will my former spouse receive when I retire?
A signed written request is required providing the projected date of retirement and marital period information if the Department does not have Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) documents on file. A calculation of the member’s benefit is prepared first. The community property portion is determined based upon the marital period and the member’s pension amount. Responses are completed and mailed within 7-10 business days.
- Do you deduct non-California state taxes?
No. If you complete an Income Tax Withholding Form, you will only be able to withhold for the federal government and the State of California. Effective January 1, 2018, for members who reside outside of California, their State tax withholding will be changed automatically to “Do Not Withhold.”
- How do I change my address?
Members are advised to submit a signed written notification of the address change (fax, email or U.S. Mail). You can update your address using MyLAFPP or download and submit a Change of Address Form. You can also write a letter stating the current address, the new address, member’s signature and the last four digits of the Social Security number.
- Can you help me with questions regarding my medical/dental subsidy?
Our Medical and Dental Benefits Section can assist you at (213) 279-3115 or (844) 88-LAFPP (52377).
- I am divorced from a LAFFP pensioner and receiving a community property share of this member’s pension. Will my portion continue when the member dies?
In the event of a member’s death, payment of your community property portion will terminate if there is no qualified survivor. If the member has a qualified survivor, you may be entitled to the community property portion of the survivor benefit. Please refer to your marriage dissolution documents.
- When will the new cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) information be available?
In late March of each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will establish the Consumer Price Index percentage, which we will apply effective July 1, and will be reflected on your pension payment dated July 31. Be sure to read through the information available in Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA).
- Why does it take so long to process final checks due to the estates of deceased members?
Final payments due to the estates of deceased members cannot be processed until:
- a death certificate is received;
- the pension discontinuance is approved by the Board of Fire & Police Pension Commissioners;
- an affidavit, mailed to the survivor, is completed in the presence of a notary and returned to the Department; and
- the direct deposit reversal is completed and funds are received from the bank, if applicable.
If the death is reported in a timely manner, the final check can still take up to 30 to 90 days to complete due to circumstances where death and marriage certificates are not readily available; established payment transaction cut off dates; and the benefit payment cycle on a monthly basis.
- I’m getting things organized and I’d like to give you records for my Dependent Child so that he/she is on file with your office if I die before him/her. Who receives those records in your office?
A Dependent Child is a child of a member who became mentally or physically disabled before age 21 and is not capable of earning a living. Dependent Children become eligible for benefits upon the death of their parent who is a member of the pension system. Since processing of the Dependent Child benefits do not start until the death of the pension member, it would be prudent to keep essential documents available for others to provide the Fire and Police Pensions Department upon your death. We also encourage you to submit copies of any documentation you may have in person or by mail to: Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions Disability Pension Section 701 East Third Street, Suite 200 Los Angeles, CA 90013. The information you collect to document the disabling condition may include medical records, school records, social security benefits, assisted living or institutionalization records, etc. In addition, we will also need the birth certificate for your child, marriage certificate for you and your spouse, any previous dissolution decrees for previous marriages, guardianship/conservatorship papers, and a written request for the child to be granted dependent child status. A letter confirming our receipt of your documentation is usually mailed within 10 business days.
- When is my money deposited in my bank account?
It is directly deposited on the last working day of the month. Availability of funds may vary according to your financial institution.
- How do I change my direct deposit or tax withholding?
You can make these changes online using MyLAFPP or you may download and complete a Direct Deposit Form or Income Tax Withholding Form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to us at: 701 E. Third Street, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90013. In addition, forms can be mailed to you by calling the Retirement Services Section at (213) 279-3125 or (844) 88-LAFPP (52377).
- How do I get a letter for Social Security or for pension verification for a loan?
The members must submit a written request (fax or U.S. Mail). The request must be signed by the member and include the last four digits of your Social Security number. The response is completed and mailed within three business days. For questions, please contact email@example.com.
- How do I cancel/change/or add a voluntary payroll deduction?
To change a voluntary deduction, you must directly call the agency where the deduction was made.
- What will be my survivor’s pension if I die?
The benefit paid to a qualified surviving spouse/domestic partner varies according to the member’s tier and his/her status at the time of death – active or retired. More information is available in the Survivor Benefits Handbook. You can also contact the Retirement Services Section by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (213) 279-3125 or (844) 88-LAFPP (52377) for more information.
- How do I update my address?
You can update your address online using MyLAFPP or you may email (email@example.com), mail or fax a Change of Address Form to our Retirement Services Section at: 701 E. Third St., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90013 or you may fax it to (213) 628-7716. You can also send a signed written request including your current address, your new address, and the last 4 digits of your social security number. For questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What Tier am I in?
The information in HOW TO: Determine Your Plan Tier will help you identify your tier using your pension check. You can also contact the Retirement Services Section by email at email@example.com or by phone at (213) 279-3125 or (844) 88-LAFPP (52377) and a staff member can provide that information to you.
- How do I get a pension verification letter?
Please call the Retirement Services Section at (213) 279-3125 or (844) 88-LAFPP (52377), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What pension amount will I receive when I retire?
Members with internet access are encouraged to utilize MyLAFPP. You will be able to run various estimates at your convenience. If you do not have internet access, a signed, written request is required providing the projected date of retirement. Upon receipt, the member’s service records are reviewed and a pension estimate is prepared based upon the date provided and current salary information. Responses are completed and mailed within 7-10 business days.
- Can I get a copy of my direct deposit statement?
A duplicate copy can be printed for you by calling or emailing (email@example.com) the Retirement Services Section at (213) 279-3125 or (844) 88-LAFPP (52377).
- Can I work when I’m on a disability pension?
Members of the pension system are allowed to work if they are on a disability pension. However, they should be aware of any work restrictions that the pension doctors issued when the pension was granted. If they are working in a capacity that exceeds the work restrictions of the pension doctors, the Board of Fire and Police Pension Commissioners has the authority to review the pension and adjust it accordingly if it is determined that the disability status has changed.
- Can my disability pension be reviewed even though a scheduled or periodic review was not assigned?
Yes. Some disability pensions are granted with a scheduled review. These are typically cases where the disability is determined to have a potential to change in the near future and the Board reviews the granted disability to make any adjustments to the pension that may be warranted. However, the City Charter and Administrative Code grants the Board of Fire and Police Pension Commissioners the authority to review all disability pensions.
- What is recaptured by Workers’ Compensation if I get a disability/surviving spouse pension?
If a Disability Pension is granted, service connected or non-service connected, regardless of the disability involved, the following will be recaptured by Workers’ Compensation:
- All permanent disability cash awards, including attorney’s fees
- Temporary Disability paid at State Rate
- Advances from permanent disability
- Vocational Rehabilitation Maintenance Allowance
Surviving Spouses are not required to pay back Workers’ Compensation awards of a member’s prior injuries. Surviving Spouses pay back the State Death Benefit when a surviving spouse pension is granted, service connected or non-service connected. Arrangements for the recapture of funds are made with the Accounting Section of the Department of Fire and Police Pensions and the City’s third-party Workers’ Compensation administrator.
- Am I eligible for a LAFPP medical subsidy?
With at least 10 complete years of service:
- At least age 55 with a retirement date after June 30, 1998; OR
- At least age 60 with a retirement date before July 1, 1998.
With at least 20 years of service:
- Between ages 55 and 60 AND
- Retired after June 30, 1988 but before July 1, 1998 may be eligible for a special flat-rate Memorandum of Understanding subsidy.
Enroll in Medicare to the full extent of eligibility (usually three months before age 65).
- Am I eligible for a LAFPP dental subsidy?
You are eligible for the subsidy if you are:
- Enrolled in a Board-approved dental plan (Los Angeles Police Relief Association (LAPRA), Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) for Police members, or United Firefighters of Los Angeles City (UFLAC) for Fire members)
- At least 10 complete years of service; AND
- At least 55 years of age
- I have medical insurance coverage with premiums partially paid by my current employer. Is there a way to utilize my LAFPP medical subsidy allowance towards the premium payments made by me?
For those pensioners and qualified surviving spouses/domestic partners they may receive reimbursement, up to the maximum monthly health insurance subsidy allowed. Reimbursement will be made for health insurance premiums paid to a non-Board approved, state-regulated health plan.Dental plan premiums do not qualify for reimbursement under this plan. Learn more about the Health Insurance Premium Reimbursement Program here.
- Do I need to sign up for Medicare by age 65? What are LAFPP’s requirements regarding the Medicare program?
All members, Qualified Surviving Spouses and Qualified Surviving Domestic Partners receiving health insurance subsidies are required to enroll in Medicare to the fullest extent of their entitlement three months before turning 65. (Part B only, or Parts A and B, if eligible for both). Covered dependents (e.g. spouse/domestic partner, dependent child) must also enroll in Medicare to the full extent of their eligibility at age 65.
To remain eligible for a health insurance subsidy or Health Insurance Premium Reimbursement, you must:
- Provide LAFPP with a copy of your Medicare card or Medicare enrollment confirmation.
- Enroll in a Board-approved health plan or participate in the Health Insurance Premium Reimbursement Program.
- Enroll in Medicare Part A if eligible at no cost (if you have 40 credits or will be receiving a Social Security benefit).
- Must enroll in Medicare Part B and maintain your Part B coverage by paying the required monthly premiums directly to Medicare or Social Security.
Members or Qualified Surviving Spouses/Domestic Partners who are enrolled in both a Board-approved health plan and Medicare Parts A and B may receive a reimbursement of their monthly Medicare Part B premium at the standard amount. Those who qualify for only Part B of Medicare do not receive Medicare Part B premium reimbursement.
If early Medicare coverage is granted due to disability before the age of 65, LAFPP and your Board-approved health plan administrator should be notified.
- Do my covered dependents need to enroll in Medicare?
Covered dependents (e.g. Qualified Surviving Spouse/Domestic Partner, Dependent child) must also enroll in Medicare to the full extent of their eligibility three months before turning 65. Also, since qualified survivors must meet the same eligibility requirements as you, LAFPP highly recommends that covered dependents enroll in Medicare when first eligible in order to receive a health subsidy as part of their survivor benefits. Additionally, the following may impact your health insurance premium if your covered dependent(s):
- Fails to enroll in Medicare Part B at age 65.
- Enrolls in Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) outside of your health plan.
- Enrolls in Medicare, but does not include his/her Part A, B and/or D benefit in your health plan.
- Does not disclose his/her Medicare status to your health plan and is age 65 or older.
If any of the above applies, your premiums could increase without additional subsidy provided by LAFPP. For example, if your dependent qualified for Medicare Part B, but chose not to enroll, the subsidy applied to your premium may be less because they did not enroll.
What is the Pension Protection Act (PPA)?
Under the Pension Protection Act of 2006, Section 845, retired public safety officers with a taxable pension who meet eligibility requirements may have a tax exclusion from gross income for up to $3,000 per year for health and dental insurance premiums deducted directly from their pension checks and paid directly to their health and/or dental plans by LAFPP. This exclusion from gross income will have a positive tax advantage. Members can locate the end-of-year deduction totals for their medical and/or dental premium payments on their December 31 payroll stub.
- Will my City pension impact my Social Security retirement benefit?
Yes. If you receive a pension from employment in which you did not pay Social Security taxes and you also qualify for your own Social Security retirement or disability benefit, your Social Security benefit may be reduced, but not eliminated, by the Windfall Elimination Provision. The amount of the reduction, if any, depends on your earnings and number of years in jobs in which you paid Social Security taxes, and the year you are age 62 or become disabled.
- I understand there may be different rules if I was eligible to receive a City pension before 1986. Are there any exceptions to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)?
Yes. Exceptions to the WEP apply to:
- People age 62 before 1986.
- People eligible for a City pension before 1986.
- Disabled-worker beneficiaries disabled before 1986.
- People with at least 30 years of “substantial” Social Security coverage.
- Federal employees who were mandatorily covered by Social Security on January 1, 1984.
- People employed on December 31, 1983, by nonprofit organizations that were not covered by Social Security at any time before 1984.
- Ministerial pensions under denominational plans for services not covered by Social Security.
- Military reservist pensions.
- Why am I subject to the WEP?
Before 1983, people who worked mainly in a job not covered by Social Security had their Social Security benefits calculated as if they were long-term, low-wage workers. The way Social Security benefit amounts are figured, lower-paid workers get a higher return than highly paid workers. This created the advantage of receiving a higher Social Security benefit, plus a pension from a job where they did not pay Social Security taxes. Congress passed the WEP to remove that advantage.
- What is the Government Pension Offset (GPO)?
If you receive a pension based on federal, state or local government work in which you did not pay Social Security taxes and you qualify, now or in the future, for Social Security benefits as a current or former spouse, widow or widower, you are likely to be affected by GPO. If GPO applies, your Social Security benefit will be reduced by an amount equal to two-thirds of your government pension, and could be reduced to zero. Even if your benefit is reduced to zero, you will be eligible for Medicare at age 65 on your spouse’s record.
Example: If you are eligible to receive a pension through the City of Los Angeles in the amount of $4,500. As a spouse, you are eligible for a Social Security benefit in the amount of $900 a month. Two-thirds of $4,500 is $3,000. The $3,000 is more than the $900 survivor benefit; therefore, the Social Security benefit is reduced to $0.
- Are there any exceptions to the Government Pension Offset (GPO)?
Yes. GPO does not apply to people who:
Are receiving a government pension that is not based on your earnings; or
Are a state or local employee whose government pension is based on a job where you are paying Social Security taxes
on the last day of employment and your last day was before July 1, 2004;
During the last five years of employment and your last day of employment was July 1, 2004, or later. (Under certain conditions, fewer than five years may be required for people whose last day of employment falls between July 1, 2004, and March 2, 2009);
Are a federal employee, including Civil Service Offset employee, who pays Social Security taxes on your earnings. (A Civil Service Offset employee is a federal employee who was rehired after December 31, 1983, following a break in service of more than 365 days and had five years of prior civil service retirement system coverage);
Are a federal employee who elected to switch from the Civil Service Retirement System to the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) on or before June 30, 1988. If you switched after that date, including during the open season from July 1, 1998, through December 31, 1998, you need five years under FERS to be exempt from the Government Pension Offset;
Received or were eligible to receive a government pension before December 1982 and meet all the requirements for Social Security spouse’s benefits in effect in January 1977; or
Received or were eligible to receive a federal, state or local government pension before July 1, 1983, and were receiving one-half support from your spouse.
- Why am I subject to the GPO?
If a government employee’s work had been subject to Social Security taxes, any Social Security benefit payable as a spouse, widow or widower would have been reduced by the person’s own Social Security retirement benefit. Therefore, the GPO was enacted to treat retired government employees similarly to other retirees who worked in Social Security covered employment. Visit here to learn more about GPO.
- How do I contact Social Security?
You can visit your local Social Security office, call (800)772-1213, or visit their Web site at www.ssa.gov.