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Summary Plans FAQs - Retired Police and Firefighters

Who may I call if I have a question about the Plan?

  • If you are an active duty police officer or firefighter, you must contact the Office of Human Services (police officers) at 202-727-4261 or the D.C. Department of Human Resources (firefighters) at 202-442-7627. 
  • If you are retired, you must contact the DCRB Member Services Center at 202-343-3272 (or toll free at 1-866-456-3272).

How much do I contribute toward my retirement benefit?

You share the cost of providing your retirement benefit with the Treasury Department and/or the DCRB.  To help pay for your retirement benefit and the benefit(s) paid to your survivor(s), you are required to make retirement contributions to the Plan while you are employed by the Police or Fire Department.  Each pay period, your required retirement contribution is automatically deducted from your paycheck.  You contribute to the Plan

  • 7% of your base pay if you were hired before November 10, 1996, or
  • 8% of your base pay if you were hired on or after November 10, 1996.

 How much do I have to pay if I want an additional survivor benefit for my eligible spouse or child?

If you elect an additional survivor benefit at retirement (optional or deferred) and designate your eligible spouse or child to be the recipient of such a benefit, your retirement benefit will be reduced by 10%.  After your death, your designated eligible surviving spouse or child will receive an increased survivor benefit based on the value of the 10% reduction.

 What is police officer or firefighter service?

You earn police officer or firefighter service credit while you are employed by the Police or Fire Department and you are making retirement contributions to the Plan.  Your police officer or firefighter service does not include periods of suspension.  Police officer or firefighter service may also include

  • military leave (military service performed after your hire date with the Police or Fire Department), and/or
  • approved leave without pay. 

Note:  Your unused sick leave is added to your police officer or firefighter service to calculate the amount of your retirement benefit.  Unused sick leave is not used to determine your eligibility for an optional retirement benefit.  It is not added to police officer service to determine if a Plan member is eligible to have base pay include longevity pay when calculating an optional retirement benefit.

What is lateral transfer service?

If you were appointed after January 11, 2000 to the Police Department as a lateral law enforcement officer pursuant to the Lateral Law Enforcement Act, lateral transfer service is your years of prior law enforcement officer service. 

If you transferred after October 2, 2001 from being an EMT with the EMS to become a uniformed EMT firefighter with the Fire Department pursuant to the Lateral EMT Act, lateral transfer service is your years of prior service as an EMT.  Lateral transfer service is used with police officer or firefighter service to determine your eligibility to retire, even if you do not complete a purchase of service deposit.  It is included in your total creditable service to calculate the amount of your retirement benefit, provided you complete a purchase of service deposit for such service while you are an active duty police officer or firefighter.

What is other creditable service?

Other creditable service may be included in your total creditable service to calculate the amount of your retirement benefit.  Examples of other creditable service include

  • certain prior civilian service, and/or
  • active military service (performed prior to your hire date with the Police or Fire Department).

Note: You must complete a purchase of service deposit for civilian service while you are an active duty police officer or firefighter.  You may need to complete a purchase of service deposit for active military service. 

What is total creditable service?

Total creditable service is your combined full years and additional full months of police officer or firefighter service, and, if applicable, lateral transfer service and/or other creditable service.  Your total creditable service is used to calculate the amount of your retirement benefit. 

Note: You must complete a purchase of service deposit for lateral transfer service and civilian service while you are an active duty police officer or firefighter.  You may need to complete a purchase of service deposit for active military service. 

How do I find out if I am eligible to receive an optional retirement benefit?

You must contact the Police and Firefighters’’ Retirement Relief Board (PFRRB) at 202-442-9622 or, active duty police officers must contact the Office of Human Services at 202-727-4261, and active duty firefighters must contact the D.C. Department of Human Resources at 202-442-7627.

May I get an estimate of my retirement benefit?

Yes.  If you are an active duty police officer, you must contact the Office of Human Services/Payroll Department at 202-727-4261.  If you are an active duty firefighter, you must contact the D.C. Department of Human Resources at 202-442-7627.  Police officers and firefighters may also contact the DCRB Member Services Center at 202-343-3272 (or toll free at 1-866-456-3272).  You need to provide an estimate of your proposed retirement date.

May I have my retirement or survivor annuity directly deposited into my bank account?

Yes.  Direct deposit is the preferred method of payment because it is more convenient, secure, and timely than the distribution of a paper check.  Electronic payments made through direct deposit are wired to your designated financial institution on the first business day of the month. If at any time you would like to receive your annuity electronically, you must contact the DCRB Member Services Center to request an Electronic Funds Transfer Form, which has replaced the old Direct Deposit form. You may also print a copy directly from our website.

After completing the form, mail it to the DCRB Member Services Center for processing. The address of the DCRB Member Services Center is:

DCRB Member Services Center

900 7th Street, NW, 2nd Floor

Washington, DC 20001 

If I receive my retirement or survivor benefit payment electronically, will I receive a statement notifying me of my earnings, tax withholdings, etc.?

Yes.  An earnings statement is mailed to you for your receipt shortly after the first business day of the month.  Your earnings statement contains information regarding the gross and net amounts of your annuity, as well as other pertinent information (e.g., tax withholdings).

When will I receive my first retirement or survivor benefit payment?

Provided the DCRB Benefits Department has all of the required documents, it usually takes between 30 and 90 calendar days from your approved retirement date for you to receive your first monthly benefit payment.  Your annuity is payable to you on the first business day of each month.

May I continue my health and life insurance benefits when I retire?

You must have at least five years of continuous health and/or life insurance coverage immediately prior to your retirement date in order to continue your coverage into retirement.  The five year requirement may be waived if you retire on a service-related disability with less than five years of continuous service.  Under certain circumstances, your former spouse who is party to a QDRO and your surviving spouse may also be eligible to continue receiving health insurance coverage.  To determine your eligibility for coverage prior to your retirement date, you must contact the Office of Human Services (police officers) at 202-727-4261 or the D.C. Department of Human Resources (firefighters) at 202-442-7627. 

How do I find out who is designated as the beneficiary for my life insurance?

For information regarding life insurance coverage, your life insurance beneficiary designation, or to change your beneficiary designation, you must contact one of the following offices:

  • If you are an active duty police officer, you must contact the Office of Human Services at 202-727-4261 or if you are an active duty firefighter, you must contact the D.C. Department of Human Resources at 202-442-7627.
  • If you are retired, you must contact the DCRB Member Services Center at 202-343-3272 (or toll free at 1-866-456-3272).

Will I receive equalization or cost‑of‑living increases?

The type of increase you receive depends on your retirement date.  Plan members who retired before February 15, 1980 (Tier 1) receive equalization pay.  Plan members who retired on or after February 15, 1980 (Tiers 2 and 3) receive yearly COLAs.  A regular survivor benefit is also increased based on a yearly COLA.  Plan members may not receive both equalization pay and a COLA.