We at Bledsoe Asset Management can help analyze your retirement options. These services include a review of your years of service, assisting in purchasing or redeeming prior service, calculating pension benefits, and assisting with retirement health care options.
The Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP)
The Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) is a program that provides certain public safety personnel access to a lump sum benefit in addition to their monthly retirement benefit when they terminate employment and retire. Employees who became members of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System of the State of Arizona before January 1, 2012, are eligible to participate once they have 20 years of credited service. Employees who became members of the system on or after January 1, 2012, are not eligible to participate.
A member must voluntarily and irrevocably elect to enter into the program with their employer for a period of up to 60 months. During the DROP period, the member remains employed as a full-time paid firefighter or full-time paid police officer. If a member elects to enter the DROP, no additional service time will be credited to the member’s pension calculation. If you became a member of the system on or after January 1, 2012 you are not eligible to participate in the DROP program (Tier 3 employee).
Members hired before January 1, 2012, but with less than 20 years credited service at that time are eligible to enter the DROP, but will continue to contribute to the Pension system while in the DROP (Tier 2 employee). Effective August 2, 2012, these contributions, along with a possible 2% interest rate will be refunded to the member and included in the DROP payment. Members who had twenty (20) years of credited service before January 1, 2012, will not have to contribute to the pension system while in the DROP (Tier 1 employee).
The member’s monthly pension is calculated based upon the years of credited service and average monthly compensation at the beginning of the DROP period. This monthly pension amount is credited to a DROP participation account for the individual and earns a guaranteed interest rate. Currently interest is being credited at 7.5% for Tier 1 employees and 3.1% for Tier 2 employees.
At the end of the DROP period or prior to that time if the member terminates their employment, the monies in the DROP participation account will be either paid to the member in a lump-sum amount or if allowed by the Internal Revenue Service paid in a lump-sum distribution to an eligible retirement plan or individual retirement account.