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CHAPTER 353G. VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS; LUMP-SUM RETIREMENT

Table of Sections
Section Headnote
LUMP-SUM VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER RETIREMENT PLAN
353G.01 DEFINITIONS.
353G.02 PLAN AND FUND CREATION.
353G.03 VOLUNTARY STATEWIDE LUMP-SUM VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER RETIREMENT PLAN ADVISORY BOARD.
353G.04 INFORMATION FROM MUNICIPALITIES AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS.
353G.05 PLAN COVERAGE ELECTION.
353G.06 DISESTABLISHMENT OF PRIOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS' RELIEF ASSOCIATION SPECIAL FUND UPON RETIREMENT COVERAGE CHANGE.
353G.07 CERTIFICATION OF GOOD TIME SERVICE CREDIT.
353G.08 RETIREMENT PLAN FUNDING; DISBURSEMENTS.
353G.09 RETIREMENT BENEFIT ELIGIBILITY.
353G.10 DEFERRED SERVICE PENSION AMOUNT.
353G.11 SERVICE PENSION LEVELS.
353G.115 DISABILITY BENEFIT COVERAGE; AUTHORITY FOR CASUALTY INSURANCE.
353G.12 SURVIVOR BENEFIT.
353G.13 PORTABILITY.
353G.14 PURCHASE OF ANNUITY CONTRACTS.
353G.15 INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT ACCOUNT TRANSFER.
353G.16 EXEMPTION FROM PROCESS.

LUMP-SUM VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER RETIREMENT PLAN

353G.01 DEFINITIONS.

Subdivision 1.Scope.

For the purposes of this chapter, the words or terms defined in this section have the meanings given to them unless the context of the word or term clearly indicates otherwise.

Subd. 2.Advisory board.

"Advisory board" means the board established by section 353G.03.

Subd. 3.Board.

"Board" means the board of trustees of the Public Employees Retirement Association operating under section 353.03.

Subd. 4.Commissioner of management and budget.

"Commissioner of management and budget" means the state official appointed and qualified under section 16A.01.

Subd. 5.Executive director; director.

"Executive director" or "director" means the person appointed under section 353.03, subdivision 3a.

Subd. 6.Fund.

"Fund" means the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement fund established under section 353G.02, subdivision 3.

Subd. 7.Good time service credit.

"Good time service credit" means the length of service credit for an active firefighter that is reported by the applicable fire chief based on the minimum firefighter activity standards of the fire department. The credit may be recognized on an annual or monthly basis.

Subd. 8.Member.

"Member" means a volunteer firefighter who provides active service to a municipal fire department or an independent nonprofit firefighting corporation where the applicable municipality or corporation has elected coverage by the retirement plan under section 353G.05, and which service is covered by the retirement plan.

Subd. 9.Municipality.

"Municipality" means a governmental entity specified in section 69.011, subdivision 1, paragraph (b), clauses (1), (2), and (5).

Subd. 10.Plan.

"Plan" means the retirement plan established by this chapter.

Subd. 11.Retirement fund.

"Retirement fund" means the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement fund established under section 353G.02, subdivision 3.

Subd. 12.Retirement plan.

"Retirement plan" means the retirement plan established by this chapter.

Subd. 13.Standards for actuarial work.

"Standards for actuarial work" means the standards adopted by the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement under section 3.85, subdivision 10.

Subd. 14.State Board of Investment.

"State Board of Investment" means the board created by article XI, section 8, of the Minnesota Constitution and governed by chapter 11A.

Subd. 15.Volunteer firefighter.

"Volunteer firefighter" means a person who is an active member of a municipal fire department or independent nonprofit firefighting corporation and who, in that capacity, engages in fire suppression activities, provides emergency response services, or delivers fire education or prevention services on an on-call basis.

353G.02 PLAN AND FUND CREATION.

Subdivision 1.Retirement plan.

The voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan is created.

Subd. 2.Administration.

The policy-making, management, and administrative functions related to the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan and fund are vested in the board of trustees and the executive director of the Public Employees Retirement Association. Their duties, authority, and responsibilities are as provided in section 353.03. Fiduciary activities of the plan and fund must be undertaken in a manner consistent with chapter 356A.

Subd. 3.Retirement fund.

(a) The voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement fund is created. The fund contains the assets attributable to the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan.

(b) The State Board of Investment shall invest those portions of the retirement fund not required for immediate purposes in the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan in the statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter account of the Minnesota supplemental investment fund under section 11A.17.

(c) The commissioner of management and budget is the ex officio treasurer of the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement fund. The commissioner of management and budget's general bond to the state covers all liability for actions taken as the treasurer of the retirement fund.

(d) The revenues of the retirement plan beyond investment returns are governed by section 353G.08 and must be deposited in the retirement fund. The disbursements of the retirement plan are governed by section 353G.08. The commissioner of management and budget shall transmit a detailed statement showing all credits to and disbursements from the retirement fund to the executive director monthly.

Subd. 4.Audit; actuarial valuation.

(a) The legislative auditor shall periodically audit the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement fund.

(b) An actuarial valuation of the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan may be performed periodically as determined to be appropriate or useful by the board. An actuarial valuation must be performed by the approved actuary retained under section 356.214 and must conform with section 356.215 and the standards for actuarial work. An actuarial valuation must contain sufficient detail for each participating employing entity to ascertain the actuarial condition of its account in the fund and the contribution requirement towards its account.

Subd. 5.Legal advisor; attorney general.

(a) The legal advisor of the board and the executive director with respect to the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan is the attorney general.

(b) The board may sue, petition, be sued, or be petitioned under this chapter with respect to the plan or the fund in the name of the board.

(c) The attorney general shall represent the board in all actions by the board or against the board with respect to the plan or the fund.

(d) Venue of all actions related to the plan or fund is in the court for the first judicial district unless the action is an appeal to the Court of Appeals under section 356.96.

353G.03 VOLUNTARY STATEWIDE LUMP-SUM VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER RETIREMENT PLAN ADVISORY BOARD.

Subdivision 1.Establishment.

A Voluntary Statewide Lump-Sum Volunteer Firefighter Retirement Plan Advisory Board is created.

Subd. 2.Function; purpose.

The advisory board shall provide advice to the board of trustees of the Public Employees Retirement Association about the retirement coverage needs of volunteer firefighters who are members of the plan and about the legislative and administrative changes that would assist the retirement plan in accommodating volunteer firefighters who are not members of the plan.

Subd. 3.Composition.

(a) The advisory board consists of seven members.

(b) The advisory board members are:

(1) one representative of Minnesota townships, appointed by the Minnesota Association of Townships;

(2) two representatives of Minnesota cities, appointed by the League of Minnesota Cities;

(3) one representative of Minnesota fire chiefs, who is a fire chief, appointed by the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association;

(4) two representatives of Minnesota volunteer firefighters, who are active volunteer firefighters, appointed by the Minnesota State Fire Departments Association; and

(5) one representative of the Office of the State Auditor, designated by the state auditor.

Subd. 4.Term.

(a) The initial terms on the advisory board for the Minnesota townships representative and the Minnesota fire chiefs representative are one year. The initial terms on the advisory board for one of the Minnesota cities representatives and one of the Minnesota active volunteer firefighter representatives are two years. The initial terms on the advisory board for the other Minnesota cities representative and the other Minnesota active volunteer firefighter representative are three years. The term for the Office of the State Auditor representative is determined by the state auditor.

(b) Subsequent terms on the advisory board other than the Office of the State Auditor representative are three years.

Subd. 5.Compensation of advisory board.

The compensation of members of the advisory board other than the Office of the State Auditor representative is governed by section 15.0575, subdivision 3.

353G.04 INFORMATION FROM MUNICIPALITIES AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS.

The chief executive officers of municipalities and fire departments with volunteer firefighters covered by the voluntary lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan shall provide all relevant information and records requested by the board, the executive director, and the State Board of Investment as required to perform their duties.

353G.05 PLAN COVERAGE ELECTION.

Subdivision 1.Coverage.

Any municipality or independent nonprofit firefighting corporation may elect to have its volunteer firefighters covered by the retirement plan.

Subd. 2.Election of coverage.

(a) The process for electing coverage of volunteer firefighters by the retirement plan is initiated by a request to the executive director for a cost analysis of the prospective retirement coverage.

(b) If the volunteer firefighters are currently covered by a volunteer firefighters' relief association governed by chapter 424A, the cost analysis of the prospective retirement coverage must be requested jointly by the secretary of the volunteer firefighters' relief association, following approval of the request by the board of the volunteer firefighters' relief association, and the chief administrative officer of the entity associated with the relief association, following approval of the request by the governing body of the entity associated with the relief association. If the relief association is associated with more than one entity, the chief administrative officer of each associated entity must execute the request. If the volunteer firefighters are not currently covered by a volunteer firefighters' relief association, the cost analysis of the prospective retirement coverage must be requested by the chief administrative officer of the entity operating the fire department. The request must be made in writing and must be made on a form prescribed by the executive director.

(c) The cost analysis of the prospective retirement coverage by the statewide retirement plan must be based on the service pension amount under section 353G.11 closest to the service pension amount provided by the volunteer firefighters' relief association if the relief association is a lump-sum defined benefit plan, or the amount equal to 95 percent of the most current average account balance per relief association member if the relief association is a defined contribution plan, or to the lowest service pension amount under section 353G.11 if there is no volunteer firefighters' relief association, rounded up, and any other service pension amount designated by the requester or requesters. The cost analysis must be prepared using a mathematical procedure certified as accurate by an approved actuary retained by the Public Employees Retirement Association.

(d) If a cost analysis is requested and a volunteer firefighters' relief association exists that has filed the information required under section 69.051 in a timely fashion, upon request by the executive director, the state auditor shall provide the most recent data available on the financial condition of the volunteer firefighters' relief association, the most recent firefighter demographic data available, and a copy of the current relief association bylaws. If a cost analysis is requested, but no volunteer firefighters' relief association exists, the chief administrative officer of the entity operating the fire department shall provide the demographic information on the volunteer firefighters serving as members of the fire department requested by the executive director.

(e) If a cost analysis is requested, the executive director of the State Board of Investment shall review the investment portfolio of the relief association, if applicable, for compliance with the applicable provisions of chapter 11A and for appropriateness for retention under the established investment objectives and investment policies of the State Board of Investment. If the prospective retirement coverage change is approved under paragraph (f), the State Board of Investment may require that the relief association liquidate any investment security or other asset which the executive director of the State Board of Investment has determined to be an ineligible or inappropriate investment for retention by the State Board of Investment. The security or asset liquidation must occur before the effective date of the transfer of retirement plan coverage. If requested to do so by the chief administrative officer of the relief association, the executive director of the State Board of Investment shall provide advice about the best means to conduct the liquidation.

(f) Upon receipt of the cost analysis, the governing body of the municipality or independent nonprofit firefighting corporation associated with the fire department shall either approve or disapprove the retirement coverage change within 90 days. If the retirement coverage change is not acted upon within 90 days, it is deemed to be disapproved. If the retirement coverage change is approved by the applicable governing body, coverage by the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan is effective on the next following January 1.

353G.06 DISESTABLISHMENT OF PRIOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS' RELIEF ASSOCIATION SPECIAL FUND UPON RETIREMENT COVERAGE CHANGE.

Subdivision 1.Special fund disestablishment.

On the date immediately prior to the effective date of the coverage change, the special fund of the applicable volunteer firefighters' relief association, if one exists, ceases to exist as a pension fund of the association and legal title to the assets of the special fund transfers to the State Board of Investment, with the beneficial title to the assets of the special fund remaining in the applicable volunteer firefighters.

Subd. 2.Other relief association changes.

In addition to the transfer and disestablishment of the special fund under subdivision 1, notwithstanding any provisions of chapter 424A or 424B to the contrary, upon the effective date of the change in volunteer firefighter retirement coverage, if the relief association membership elects to retain the relief association after the benefit coverage election, the following changes must be implemented with respect to the applicable volunteer firefighters' relief association:

(1) the relief association board of trustees membership is reduced to five, comprised of the fire chief of the fire department and four trustees elected by and from the relief association membership;

(2) the relief association may only maintain a general fund, which continues to be governed by section 424A.06;

(3) the relief association is not authorized to receive the proceeds of any state aid or to receive any municipal funds; and

(4) the relief association may not pay any service pension or benefit that was not authorized as a general fund disbursement under the articles of incorporation or bylaws of the relief association in effect prior to the plan coverage election process.

Subd. 3.Successor in interest.

Upon the disestablishment of the special fund of the volunteer firefighters' relief association under this section, the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan is the successor in interest of the special fund of the volunteer firefighters' relief association for all claims against the special fund other than a claim against the special fund, the volunteer firefighters' relief association, the municipality, the fire department, or any person connected with the volunteer firefighters' relief association in a fiduciary capacity under chapter 356A or common law that was based on any act or acts which were not performed in good faith and which constituted a breach of a fiduciary obligation. As the successor in interest of the special fund of the volunteer firefighters' relief association, the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan may assert any applicable defense in any judicial proceeding which the board of trustees of the volunteer firefighters' relief association or the municipality would have been entitled to assert.

353G.07 CERTIFICATION OF GOOD TIME SERVICE CREDIT.

(a) Annually, by March 31, the fire chief of the fire department with firefighters who are active members of the retirement plan shall certify to the executive director the good time service credit for the previous calendar year of each firefighter rendering active service with the fire department.

(b) The fire chief shall provide to each firefighter rendering active service with the fire department notification of the amount of good time service credit rendered by the firefighter for the calendar year. The good time service credit notification must be provided to the firefighter 60 days before its certification to the executive director of the Public Employees Retirement Association, along with an indication of the process for the firefighter to challenge the fire chief's determination of good time service credit. If the good time service credit amount is challenged in a timely fashion, the fire chief shall hold a hearing on the challenge, accept and consider any additional pertinent information, and make a final determination of good time service credit. The final determination of good time service credit by the fire chief is not reviewable by the executive director of the Public Employees Retirement Association or by the board of trustees of the Public Employees Retirement Association.

(c) The good time service credit certification is an official public document. If a false good time service credit certification is filed or if false information regarding good time service credits is provided, section 353.19 applies.

(d) The good time service credit certification must be expressed as a percentage of a full year of service during which an active firefighter rendered at least the minimum level and quantity of fire suppression, emergency response, fire prevention, or fire education duties required by the fire department under the rules and regulations applicable to the fire department. No more than one year of good time service credit may be certified for a calendar year.

(e) If a firefighter covered by the retirement plan leaves active firefighting service to render active military service that is required to be covered by the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, as amended, the person must be certified as providing a full year of good time service credit in each year of the military service, up to the applicable limit of the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. If the firefighter does not return from the military service in compliance with the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, the good time service credits applicable to that military service credit period are forfeited and cancel at the end of the calendar year in which the federal law time limit occurs.

353G.08 RETIREMENT PLAN FUNDING; DISBURSEMENTS.

Subdivision 1.Annual funding requirements.

(a) Annually, the executive director shall determine the funding requirements of each account in the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan on or before August 1. The funding requirements as directed under this section, must be determined using a mathematical procedure developed and certified as accurate by an approved actuary retained by the Public Employees Retirement Association and based on present value factors using a six percent interest rate, without any decrement assumptions. The funding requirements must be certified to the entity or entities associated with the fire department whose active firefighters are covered by the retirement plan.

(b) The overall funding balance of each account for the current calendar year must be determined in the following manner:

(1) The total accrued liability for all active and deferred members of the account as of December 31 of the current year must be calculated based on the good time service credit of active and deferred members as of that date.

(2) The total present assets of the account projected to December 31 of the current year, including receipts by and disbursements from the account anticipated to occur on or before December 31, must be calculated. To the extent possible, the market value of assets must be utilized in making this calculation.

(3) The amount of the total present assets calculated under clause (2) must be subtracted from the amount of the total accrued liability calculated under clause (1). If the amount of total present assets exceeds the amount of the total accrued liability, then the account is considered to have a surplus over full funding. If the amount of the total present assets is less than the amount of the total accrued liability, then the account is considered to have a deficit from full funding. If the amount of total present assets is equal to the amount of the total accrued liability, then the special fund is considered to be fully funded.

(c) The financial requirements of each account for the following calendar year must be determined in the following manner:

(1) The total accrued liability for all active and deferred members of the account as of December 31 of the calendar year next following the current calendar year must be calculated based on the good time service used in the calculation under paragraph (b), clause (1), increased by one year.

(2) The increase in the total accrued liability of the account for the following calendar year over the total accrued liability of the account for the current year must be calculated.

(3) The amount of anticipated future administrative expenses of the account must be calculated by multiplying the dollar amount of the administrative expenses for the most recent prior calendar year by the factor of 1.035.

(4) If the account is fully funded, the financial requirement of the account for the following calendar year is the total of the amounts calculated under clauses (2) and (3).

(5) If the account has a deficit from full funding, the financial requirement of the account for the following calendar year is the total of the amounts calculated under clauses (2) and (3) plus an amount equal to one-tenth of the amount of the deficit from full funding of the account.

(6) If the account has a surplus over full funding, the financial requirement of the account for the following calendar year is the financial requirement of the account calculated as though the account was fully funded under clause (4) and, if the account has also had a surplus over full funding during the prior two years, additionally reduced by an amount equal to one-tenth of the amount of the surplus over full funding of the account.

(d) The required contribution of the entity or entities associated with the fire department whose active firefighters are covered by the retirement plan is the annual financial requirements of the account of the retirement plan under paragraph (c) reduced by the amount of any fire state aid payable under sections 69.011 to 69.051 reasonably anticipated to be received by the retirement plan attributable to the entity or entities during the following calendar year, and an amount of interest on the assets projected to be received during the following calendar year calculated at the rate of six percent per annum. The required contribution must be allocated between the entities if more than one entity is involved. A reasonable amount of anticipated fire state aid is an amount that does not exceed the fire state aid actually received in the prior year multiplied by the factor 1.035.

(e) The required contribution calculated in paragraph (d) must be paid to the retirement plan on or before December 31 of the year for which it was calculated. If the contribution is not received by the retirement plan by December 31, it is payable with interest at an annual compound rate of six percent from the date due until the date payment is received by the retirement plan. If the entity does not pay the full amount of the required contribution, the executive director shall collect the unpaid amount under section 353.28, subdivision 6.

Subd. 2.Cash flow funding requirement.

If the executive director determines that an account in the voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan has insufficient assets to meet the service pensions determined payable from the account, the executive director shall certify the amount of the potential service pension shortfall to the municipality or municipalities and the municipality or municipalities shall make an additional employer contribution to the account within ten days of the certification. If more than one municipality is associated with the account, unless the municipalities agree to a different allocation, the municipalities shall allocate the additional employer contribution one-half in proportion to the population of each municipality and one-half in proportion to the market value of the property of each municipality.

Subd. 2a.Additional municipal contributions authorized.

(a) At the discretion of the municipality or the independent nonprofit firefighting corporation associated with a fire department covered by a voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer firefighter retirement plan account, the municipality or the corporation may make additional contributions to the applicable account.

(b) The executive director of the Public Employees Retirement Association may specify requirements as to the form, timing, and accompanying information for contributions made under this subdivision.

(c) Any contributions made under this subdivision must be included as total present assets of the account for the calculation of any subsequent annual funding requirements for the account under subdivision 1 or for the calculation of any cash flow funding requirement under subdivision 2.

Subd. 3.Authorized account disbursements.

The assets of the retirement fund may only be disbursed for:

(1) the administrative expenses of the retirement plan;

(2) the investment expenses of the retirement fund;

(3) the service pensions payable under section 353G.10, 353G.11, 353G.14, or 353G.15;

(4) the survivor benefits payable under section 353G.12; and

(5) the disability benefit coverage insurance premiums under section 353G.115.

353G.09 RETIREMENT BENEFIT ELIGIBILITY.

Subdivision 1.Entitlement.

Except as provided in subdivision 3, an active member of the retirement plan is entitled to a lump-sum service pension from the retirement plan if the person:

(1) has separated from active service with the fire department for at least 30 days;

(2) has attained the age of at least 50 years;

(3) has completed at least five years of good time service credit as a member of the retirement plan; and

(4) applies in a manner prescribed by the executive director for the service pension.

Subd. 2.Vesting schedule; nonforfeitable portion of service pension.

If an active member has completed less than 20 years of good time service credit, the person's entitlement is to the nonforfeitable percentage of the applicable service pension amount, as follows:

Completed years of good time service credit Nonforfeitable percentage of the service pension
5 40 percent
6 44 percent
7 48 percent
8 52 percent
9 56 percent
10 60 percent
11 64 percent
12 68 percent
13 72 percent
14 76 percent
15 80 percent
16 84 percent
17 88 percent
18 92 percent
19 96 percent
20 and thereafter 100 percent

Subd. 3.Alternative pension eligibility and computation.

(a) An active member of the retirement plan is entitled to an alternative lump-sum service pension from the retirement plan if the person:

(1) has separated from active service with the fire department for at least 30 days;

(2) has attained the age of at least 50 years or the age for receipt of a service pension under the benefit plan of the applicable former volunteer firefighters' relief association as of the date immediately prior to the election of the retirement coverage change, whichever is later;

(3) has completed at least five years of active service with the fire department and at least five years in total as a member of the applicable former volunteer firefighters' relief association or of the retirement plan, but has not rendered at least five years of good time service credit as a member of the retirement plan; and

(4) applies in a manner prescribed by the executive director for the service pension.

(b) If retirement coverage prior to statewide retirement plan coverage was provided by a defined benefit plan volunteer firefighters relief association, the alternative lump-sum service pension is the service pension amount specified in the bylaws of the applicable former volunteer firefighters' relief association either as of the date immediately prior to the election of the retirement coverage change or as of the date immediately before the termination of firefighting services, whichever is earlier, multiplied by the total number of years of service as a member of that volunteer firefighters' relief association and as a member of the retirement plan. If retirement coverage prior to statewide retirement plan coverage was provided by a defined contribution plan volunteer firefighters relief association, the alternative lump-sum service pension is an amount equal to the person's account balance as of the date immediately prior to the date on which statewide retirement plan coverage was first provided to the person plus six percent annual compound interest from that date until the date immediately prior to the date of retirement.

353G.10 DEFERRED SERVICE PENSION AMOUNT.

A person who was an active member of a fire department covered by the retirement plan who has separated from active firefighting service for at least 30 days and who has completed at least five years of good time service credit, but has not attained the age of 50 years, is entitled to a deferred service pension on or after attaining the age of 50 years and applying in a manner specified by the executive director for the service pension. The service pension payable is the nonforfeitable percentage of the service pension under section 353G.09, subdivision 2, and is payable without any interest over the period of deferral.

353G.11 SERVICE PENSION LEVELS.

Subdivision 1.Levels.

The retirement plan provides the following levels of service pension amounts to be selected at the election of coverage, or, if fully funded, thereafter:

Level A $500 per year of good time service credit
Level B $600 per year of good time service credit
Level C $700 per year of good time service credit
Level D $800 per year of good time service credit
Level E $900 per year of good time service credit
Level F $1,000 per year of good time service credit
Level G $1,250 per year of good time service credit
Level H $1,500 per year of good time service credit
Level I $2,000 per year of good time service credit
Level J $2,500 per year of good time service credit
Level K $3,000 per year of good time service credit
Level L $3,500 per year of good time service credit
Level M $4,000 per year of good time service credit
Level N $4,500 per year of good time service credit
Level O $5,000 per year of good time service credit
Level P $5,500 per year of good time service credit
Level Q $6,000 per year of good time service credit
Level R $6,500 per year of good time service credit
Level S $7,000 per year of good time service credit
Level T $7,500 per year of good time service credit

Subd. 1a.Continuation of prior service pension levels.

If a municipality or independent nonprofit firefighting corporation elects to be covered by the retirement plan prior to January 1, 2010, and selects the $750 per year of good time service credit service pension amount effective for January 1, 2010, that level continues for the volunteer firefighters of that municipality or independent nonprofit firefighting corporation until a different service pension amount is selected under subdivision 2 after January 1, 2010.

Subd. 2.Level selection.

At the time of the election to transfer retirement coverage, or on April 30 thereafter, the governing body or bodies of the entity or entities operating the fire department whose firefighters are covered by the retirement plan may request a cost estimate from the executive director of an increase in the service pension level applicable to the active firefighters of the fire department. Within 90 days of the receipt of the cost estimate prepared by the executive director using a procedure certified as accurate by the approved actuary retained by the Public Employees Retirement Association, the governing body or bodies may approve the service pension level change, effective for the following calendar year. If not approved in a timely fashion, the service pension level change is considered to have been disapproved.

Subd. 3.Supplemental benefit.

The retirement plan also shall pay a supplemental benefit as provided for in section 424A.10.

Subd. 4.Ancillary benefits.

No disability, death, funeral, or other ancillary benefit beyond a service pension or a survivor benefit is payable from the retirement plan.

353G.115 DISABILITY BENEFIT COVERAGE; AUTHORITY FOR CASUALTY INSURANCE.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), no disability benefit is payable from the statewide retirement plan.

(b) If the board approves the arrangement, disability coverage for statewide retirement plan members may be provided through a group disability insurance policy obtained from an insurance company licensed to do business in this state. The voluntary statewide lump-sum volunteer retirement plan is authorized to pay the premium for the disability insurance authorized by this paragraph. The proportional amount of the total annual disability insurance premium must be added to the required contribution amount determined under section 353G.08.

353G.12 SURVIVOR BENEFIT.

Subdivision 1.Entitlement.

(a) A survivor of a deceased active member of the retirement plan or a deceased deferred member of the retirement plan, upon application as prescribed by the executive director, is entitled to receive a survivor benefit.

(b) A survivor is the spouse of the member, or if none, the minor child or children of the member, or if none, the estate of the member.

Subd. 2.Survivor benefit amount.

The amount of the survivor benefit is the amount of the service pension that would have been payable to the member of the retirement plan on the date of death if the member had been age 50 or older on that date.

353G.13 PORTABILITY.

Subdivision 1.Eligibility.

An active firefighter who is a member of the retirement plan who also renders firefighting service and has good time service credit in the retirement plan from another fire department, if the good time service credit in the plan from a combination of periods totals at least five years, is eligible, upon complying with the other requirements of section 353G.09, to receive a service pension upon filing an application in the manner prescribed by the executive director, computed as provided in subdivision 2.

Subd. 2.Combined service pension computation.

The service pension payable to a firefighter who qualifies under subdivision 1 is the per year of good time service credit service pension amount in effect for each account in which the firefighter has good time service credit as of the date on which the firefighter terminated active service with the fire department associated with the applicable account, multiplied by the number of years of good time service credit that the firefighter has in the applicable account.

Subd. 3.Payment.

A service pension under this section must be paid in a single payment, with the applicable portion of the total service pension payment amount deducted from each account.

353G.14 PURCHASE OF ANNUITY CONTRACTS.

The executive director may purchase an annuity contract on behalf of a retiring firefighter with a total premium payment in an amount equal to the lump-sum service pension payable under section 353G.09 if the purchase was requested by the retiring firefighter in a manner prescribed by the executive director. The annuity contract must be purchased from an insurance carrier that is licensed to do business in this state. If purchased, the annuity contract is in lieu of any service pension or other benefit from the retirement plan. The annuity contract may be purchased at any time after the volunteer firefighter discontinues active service, but the annuity contract must stipulate that no annuity amounts are payable before the former volunteer firefighter attains the age of 50.

353G.15 INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT ACCOUNT TRANSFER.

Upon receipt of a determination that the retirement plan is a qualified pension plan under section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended, the executive director, upon request, shall transfer the service pension amount under sections 353G.08 and 353G.11 of a former volunteer firefighter who has terminated active firefighting services covered by the plan and who has attained the age of at least 50 years to the person's individual retirement account under section 408(a) of the federal Internal Revenue Code, as amended. The transfer request must be in a manner prescribed by the executive director and must be filed by the former volunteer firefighter who has sufficient service credit to be entitled to a service pension or, following the death of a participating active firefighter, must be filed by the deceased firefighter's surviving spouse.

353G.16 EXEMPTION FROM PROCESS.

The provisions of section 356.401 apply to the retirement plan.