As an FRS Pension Plan member eligible for regular service retirement (see requirements in Question #1 above), you may be eligible to participate in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) if you wish to continue working after the milestones of age 62, or 30 years of service. Note: FRS Investment Plan members are not eligible to participate in DROP.
The retirement system calculates your benefits as if you were actually going to retire, but holds your monthly retirement benefit for up to 60 months in an interest-earning account while you continue working. The 60 months of monthly benefits accumulate, and when you do stop working and retire, you receive the accumulated DROP amount, in addition to receiving your monthly retirement benefit for your years of service. Read more at the FRS DROP webpage.
Note: The annual interest rate on DROP accounts is 1.3%.
Create your New User ID to view your Online Services Account to access retirement information including service credit, salary history, and current beneficiary information. You can also calculate a DROP Accumulation estimate based on a DROP entry month of your choice. .
When you enroll in DROP, you must state a separation/retirement/exit date. The DROP Calendar allows you to easily determine your DROP exit date, based on your DROP start date (if you have the maximum 60 months of DROP eligibility*). Using this calendar will help you avoid selecting an invalid DROP termination or exit date.
* Some non-instructional employees may be eligible for fewer months in DROP due to a “late start.” For more information, see the latest version of the DROP Guide.
Vacation Leave – Employees on a 12-month work schedule have the option to contribute a limited amount of accrued vacation leave toward their DROP annual salary calculation.
BENCOR and Sick Leave – The BENCOR Special Pay Plan is an automatic benefit for DROP participants which helps you save up to 7.65% of Social Security/Medicare taxes while paying you for your unused sick leave when you exit out of DROP/retire. Every year after the anniversary date of entering DROP, a percentage of the pre-DROP payout balance of your pre-DROP sick leave is rolled over into a BENCOR Special Pay Plan account. Approximately 45 days after retirement, you may contact the BENCOR retirement consultants for access to your BENCOR account. You are under no obligation to leave your money with BENCOR. The funds are yours to transfer or request distribution after the BENCOR account is set up.
View the DROP Frequently Asked Questions for additional helpful information.
Can I defer or postpone enrollment in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP)?
Eligible instructional employees in Kindergarten -12th Grade positions may enter DROP at any time after reaching their eligibility date.
Eligible employees may defer or postpone the date of DROP entry after completion of 30 years of service based upon the exceptions listed below. These employees must elect to join DROP within 12 months beginning with the month the maximum deferral date is reached. During this 12-month period, the total allowable DROP participation decreases by one month for each month the decision is delayed. If DROP participation does not begin within this 12-month “window” the right to participate in DROP is forfeited. (See Deferral Exceptions below.)
DROP Deferral Exceptions:
If you have reached one of the milestones for normal retirement eligibility (either age 62 and vested, or 30 years of service credit), you may be able to defer DROP election as described below if you meet one of the following criteria:
- A Pension Plan member who reaches his/her normal retirement date based on 30 or more years of service before age 57 may defer his/her DROP election. He/she may elect to enter DROP anytime from the member’s initial eligibility date (either age 62 and vested, or 30 years of service credit) through the month he/she attains age 57 and participate for a full 60 months. (The member could also make the deferred DROP election at any time during the 12 months after the month in which he/she reaches age 57 but his/her participation period would be shortened accordingly.)
- For example, if an employee has earned 30 years of service credit at age 55 but is not ready to retire, that employee has until the month he/she turns age 57 to enter DROP. For every month the employee waits after turning age 57, the participation period is shortened by one month. After age 58 this employee may not participate in DROP.
- If you are employed as K-12 Instructional Personnel (not Pre-K) as defined in s. s. 1012.01(2)(a)-(e), Florida Statutes 16. (see below) at the time of your initial 60-month DROP participation, you may indefinitely postpone the DROP election after reaching your normal retirement date and still participate in DROP for a full 60 months, regardless of the date you begin DROP.
s. 1012.01(2), Florida Statutes.16. INSTRUCTIONAL PERSONNEL.–“Instructional personnel” means any K-12 staff member whose function includes the provision of direct instructional services to students. Instructional personnel also includes K-12 personnel whose functions provide direct support in the learning process of students. Included in the classification of instructional personnel are the following K-12 personnel:
(a) Classroom teachers.
(b) Student personnel services.– Included in this classification are guidance counselors, social workers, career specialists, and school psychologists.
(c) Librarians/media specialists.
(d) Other instructional staff.– Included in this classification are primary specialists, learning resource specialists, instructional trainers, adjunct educators certified pursuant to s. 1012.57, and similar positions.
(e) Education paraprofessionals.
If you decide to postpone DROP participation because you qualify for a deferral exception, you do not need to notify FRS that you plan to defer your DROP participation. However, to maximize your time in DROP, you must apply promptly before your deferral exception date occurs. FRS will accept your application up to six months in advance of your planned DROP entry date.