All employers, including Certifying Officers and their immediate supervisors, are expected to complete board approved training on proper Enrollment procedures. This training will be made available over the State Web site. Additional information about this required training is available in the Certifying Officer Letter of May 26, 2011, Enrollment Certification and Training Requirements under Chapter 52, P.L. 2011.
PFRS Membership Tiers
Effective May 21, 2010, PFRS members are now classified by enrollment date, as eligibility requirements for PFRS enrollment and retirement are now different for three distinct enrollment periods, according to the law. The “membership tiers” by enrollment date are:
- Tier 1 Membership, for members who were enrolled on or before May 21, 2010.
- Tier 2 Membership, for members who were eligible to enroll between May 22, 2010 and June 28, 2011.
- Tier 3 Membership, for members who are enrolled after June 28, 2011.
Several important differences for membership under each Tier exist, including:.
For Tier 1 Members, enrolled on or before May 21, 2010, a federal ceiling on pensionable salary applies.
Final Compensation for Tier 1 Members
For a PFRS Tier 1 member enrolled on or before May 21, 2010, Final Compensation means the salary upon which pension contributions were based in the last 12 months of creditable service preceding retirement.
Final Compensation for Tier 2 and Tier 3 Members
For a PFRS Tier 2 or Tier 3 member enrolled after May 21, 2010, Final Compensation means the average salary upon which pension contributions were based for any three fiscal years (July-June) of membership preceding retirement that provide the largest possible benefit.
Retirement allowance formulas for PFRS Service and Deferred Retirements are the same for Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 members, but Final Compensation calculations are different, according to the above definitions.
However, the Tier 3 PFRS retirement formula for Special Retirements has been changed under Chapter 78, P.L. 2011. Please see PFRS Retirements to learn more.
For all PFRS members, Final Compensation includes the maintenance allowance value for the same period.
in PFRS is limited to full-time, permanent firefighters and police officers who
hold an approved job title or whose position has been approved by the Board of
Trustees of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System. Click here for an updated listing
of the current PFRS approved job titles.
Those enrolled before May 21, 2010 are Tier 1 PFRS members.
Those enrolled between May 21, 2010 and June 28, 2011 are Tier 2 members of the PFRS.
Those enrolled after June 28, 2011became members of Tier 3 of the PFRS.
Please note that holders of J-1, F-1, M-1, or Q-1 visas are not eligible for membership in the PFRS.
In addition, there are training requirements for PFRS eligibility and enrollment, as outlined below.
Training Requirements for PFRS Eligibility and Enrollment
To be eligible for participation in PFRS, a position must meet the statutory definition of a “police officer” or “firefighter,” including the mandate that a candidate for a PFRS position must successfully complete specific training requirements (As prescribed in N.J.S.A. 43:16A-1 and 52:17B-66 et seq. for police positions; and in N.J.S.A. 43:16A-1 and 52:17B-66 et seq. for firefighter positions).
All police officers enrolled in the PFRS must be certified in the basic training course for police officers, as prescribed by the Police Training Commission (PTC).
Correction officers enrolled in the PFRS must be certified in the basic training course for correction officers as prescribed by the Police Training Commission (PTC).
County investigators enrolled in the PFRS must be certified in the basic training course for county investigators as prescribed by the Police Training Commission (PTC).
Similarly, firefighters enrolled in the PFRS must complete and receive Firefighter 1 certification through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
Anyone seeking to become a police officer, correction officer, county investigator, or firefighter who does not successfully complete the PTC or Firefighter 1 certification will not be permitted to participate in the PFRS.
Employers (and PFRS members) had 18 months, from December 31, 2008 through June 30, 2010, to establish that all PFRS employees with membership at their employing location during that window have the required PTC or Firefighter 1 training and certification in order to retain their PFRS membership.
PFRS members who do not have the required certification will face removal from PFRS membership.
PFRS Board of Trustee Approval for a Job Title
a new employee's title does not appear on the list of PFRS approved job titles
at the time of enrollment, and PFRS membership is sought, the employer must submit
a statement explaining the qualifications and duties of the position/title with
the employee's enrollment application. The PFRS Board of Trustees will then render
a decision as to the individual's eligibility for PFRS membership, based upon
the explanation of qualifications and duties provided by the employer for the
title in question.
Out of a PFRS Position and PFRS Eligibility
a PFRS member is promoted out of a PFRS title, statutes permit the member to transfer
to another State retirement system, such as the PERS, as long as the member meets
eligibility requirements for membership in the second system. In this case, the
member and employer must submit an Interfund Transfer Form to the Division
of Pensions and Benefits, allowing the Division to transfer member contributions
and service credit to the State-administered retirement system covering the new
Out of a PFRS Position and PFRS Eligibility When Supervision of PFRS Members Is
If a PFRS member is promoted
out of a PFRS title to assume a position in which he/she will be supervising PFRS
members, the employer can write to the Division seeking approval to allow the
member to remain in the PFRS.
Situations in which age can be "reduced" for purposes of being eligible
for enrollment in the PFRS are explained below, under Reducing
a Member's Age.
Restrictions on Membership in PFRS
February 25, 1997, individuals qualified to enroll in PFRS in all other respects
must comply with the maximum age restriction; that is, be appointed on or before
the day of their 35th birthday.
Also effective June 30, 1997, PFRS members must retire no later than the first
of the month following their 65th birthday.
Service and Non-Civil Service Positions
hired in a PFRS-eligible title at Civil Service (Title 11) locations on
or after February 25, 1997, cannot be older than the day of their 35th
birthday as of the announced closing date of the Civil Service examination for
that title, in order to be eligible to establish membership in the PFRS. Individuals
meeting this age requirement can be hired at any time from a Civil Service list
while it is still active, and can be enrolled in the PFRS (N.J.S.A. 43:16A-3(1)).
hired in a PFRS eligible title at a Non-Civil Service location, on or after
February 25, 1997, can be no older than the day of their 35th birthday
on the date of hire, to be eligible for membership in the PFRS. (NJSA 43:16A-3(2))
Age Restrictions at State and County Locations
employed by any State or County location who do not meet the maximum
age requirement described above must establish membership in the Public Employees'
Retirement System (PERS) one year after being provisionally employed in the title,
or immediately after being permanently appointed in the title (NJSA 43:16A-3(1)).
Those individuals enrolled under the PERS in Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) titles
will be eligible for enhanced benefits under special LEO provisions. See
LEO section under "PERS Enrollment Eligibility".
Age Restrictions at Municipal Locations
hired by any municipality in an eligible PFRS title on or after February
25, 1997, who are one day or more past their 35th birthday on the date of hire,
cannot establish membership in any State-administered retirement system (NJSA
to the 35-Year Old Age Limit, see Reducing A Member's
physical examination must be completed by the employer's physician to prove medical
readiness for a PFRS position.
medical exam must occur within one year of the receipt of the medical form that
accompanies the PFRS Enrollment Application.
Employers are no longer required to attach the Report of Examining Physician to the enrollment application, but this form must be kept on file at the employing location in anticipation of audits by the Division of Pensions and Benefits.
Forms for Enrollment
In order to enroll a newly hired employee in the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS), the employer must submit the following:
- Either the completed PFRS Enrollment Application OR the EPIC online "PFRS Enrollment Application;" On the application, the employer must also Indicate the date on which the medical requirement was approved by the examining physician.
The medical exam must occur within one year of the submission. It is no longer a requirement to attach the Report of Examining Physician to the enrollment application, but this form must be kept on file at the employer’s location in anticipation of audits by the Division of Pensions and Benefits.
Service locations only: The employer must also provide the closing date of the Civil Service examination
for the position for which the individual is being hired. A photocopy of the Civil
Service list would be acceptable evidence.
It is important to note that delayed
and forced enrollments can be costly to the employer.
At the time of enrollment, the employee's estate will automatically be designated as beneficiary for any death benefits payable.
If an employee wishes to change that designation, the member must register with the Member Benefits Online System (MBOS), which will enable the member to designate or update their beneficiary information online by using the "Designation of Beneficiary" application. Members wishing to sign up for MBOS at the time of enrollment should be directed to the "MBOS Registration Information" page, at: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/mbosregister.shtml
If the member does not make beneficiary designations by using MBOS to designate pension and group life insurance beneficiaries online, the estate of the newly enrolled member will continue be listed as both the group life insurance and pension beneficiary for any death benefit payable.
In such cases, an insurance packet and policy rider confirming
the estate as beneficiary will be mailed to the member.
In order to change the beneficiary
information in effect, the member
must use the MBOS "Designation of Beneficiary" application to make changes.
Fact Sheet #68, Designating a Beneficiary, is available to provide information to members requiring help in making their beneficiary selections for pension and/or group life insurance.
of PFRS Enrollment Age Limits
have commented on the confusing history of age limits relating to PFRS enrollment.
Changes have resulted from legislative initiatives, court rulings, and changes
in Administrative Code. It may be helpful, then, to review the history of maximum
enrollment age limits.
Jersey statutes and the New Jersey Administrative Code establish the maximum enrollment
age for the PFRS. These provisions were superseded in 1993 by the federal Age
Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), so that the State statutes and code could
not be enforced. In 1996, the federal government eliminated the ADEA restrictions
that applied to the PFRS governing statutes, and in Formal Opinion No. 1, published
on February 25, 1997, the State Attorney General stated that the age restrictions
must be enforced. The following chart highlights these and other changes at a
Age Limit History
6/30/1944 - 4/11/1945
3/01/1987 - 12/31/1993
2/25/1997 - present
were enrolled in the PFRS while the age 35 restriction was not in force will be
allowed to retain membership in the system on the same basis as any other member.
Employed Part-time, under Age 35
"Part-time" officers cannot be enrolled in the PFRS. They were previously enrolled in the PERS if otherwise eligible for PFRS enrollment. Part-time officers employed after May 21, 2010 who work below 35 hours per week at State locations, or 32 hours per week at local government locations, can only be enrolled in the DCRP, not the PERS, as they do not work the number of hours required to qualify for PERS Tier 4 membership.
The PFRS employee pension contribution
rate is currently 10.0 percent of base salary.
The PFRS contribution rate for Tier 1 members is applied to the full pensionable salary, up to the “federal pensionable maximum” explained below.
The PFRS contribution rate for Tier 2 and Tier 3 members is applied to the pensionable salary up to a compensation limit based on the annual maximum wage for Social Security deductions (see below). Tier 2 and Tier 3 members who earn in excess of the annual compensation limit will be enrolled in the Defined Contribution Retirement Program (DCRP), in addition to the PFRS. A contribution of 5.5 percent of the salary in excess of the limit (plus three percent from the employer) will be forwarded to a DCRP account.
may begin only when a Certification of Payroll Deductions is received from
the Division of Pensions and Benefits.
PFRS is a "Qualified Pension Plan" - Federal Pensionable Maximum
The PFRS is a "qualified"
pension plan under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code,
Section 401(a)(17); therefore, the current federal ceiling on
pensionable salary ($250,000 in 2012) applies to the base
salaries of Tier 1 PFRS members. Salary earned by a member in excess
of this amount is not pensionable; that is, it may not be used
in determining member contributions and benefits. Additional information
about this topic is available at: History
of Pensionable Salary Limits.
For Tier 2 and Tier 3 members enrolled after May 21, 2010, the PFRS contribution rate is applied to the pensionable salary up to a compensation limit based on the annual maximum wage for Social Security deductions ($110,100 for 2012). Tier 2 and Tier 3 members who earn in excess of the annual compensation limit will be enrolled in the Defined Contribution Retirement Program (DCRP), in addition to the PFRS. A contribution of 5.5 percent of the salary in excess of the limit (plus three percent from the employer) will be forwarded to the member's DCRP account.
When a PFRS member also becomes a participant in the Defined Contribution Retirement Program (DCRP), the life insurance and disability benefit provisions of that program will become available for that participant.
Back deductions are mandatory
pension contributions subject to IRC Section 414(h). They are the pension obligations
owed from the date of enrollment or transfer to the date deductions are certified
Back deductions are calculated
on the member's current annual salary, regardless of when the member is enrolled.
If back deductions are owed for a time period exceeding 12 months, 8.25% interest
Extra compensation is not included in base salary. Extra compensation means individual salary adjustments granted primarily in anticipation of retirement or as additional compensation for performing temporary duties beyond the regular workday. Extra compensation includes but is not limited to overtime, bonuses, lump sum longevity, vacation pay, holiday pay, and compensation not included in normal routine paychecks. For more information, see Fact Sheet #56, Creditable Compensation - PFRS.
Pension Deductions are Tax Deferred
January 1, 1987, mandatory pension contributions have been federally tax deferred.
Under the 414(h) provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, this reduces a member's
gross wages subject to federal income tax.
Purchases of service credit are voluntary pension contributions and are
not tax deferred. For a fuller discussion of purchasing service credit,
click to the section, "Purchasing Service
Credit", in this manual.