Q. I signed up for Retirement Plan A or Retirement Plan C (lower contribution amount of 4%). Could I change to Plan B or D if I pay the additional amount needed to be in the higher contribution plan?
A. No. It is not possible to change plans. Plan decision is final. As of
January 2013, all new hires, eligible to participate in the retirement system, are automatically enrolled in Retirement Plan C. New hires have 30 days to choose to participate in Retirement Plan D. If new hires do
not elect to switch to the higher plan within their first 30 days of employment, they will remain in Retirement Plan C.
Q. Some bus drivers work 25 to 35 or even 40 scheduled hours during the school year. Garage trips and field trips often increase these totals. In the summer, some bus drivers work summer school runs or summer field trips or special education recreation programs. How does all this fit in to determining retirement eligibility and calculating a retirement benefit?
A. Your retirement benefit is calculated according to the number of hours for which you make contributions into the retirement system. Overtime is not compensable as part of your retirement benefit. Any hours worked up to 40 in a week have retirement earnings deducted and therefore count towards your ultimate benefit with regards to hours worked. Regardless of the category above, once you hit 40 hours in a week, you will not pay dollars into the retirement system on earnings over that 40 hours. Thus, any of those hours over the 40 per week do not count as service when your ultimate benefit is calculated. Please contact your payroll clerk for additional information:
Q. How is my Average Final Compensation (AFC) calculated, and how can I find out approximately how much my retirement benefit will be?
A. If you are within one year of retirement, feel free to request a personalized estimate from the Retirement Systems Office. If you have more than one year to retirement, you can calculate your own approximate benefit by determining how many retirement-eligible hours you have worked in your career (benefit service). Multiply your benefit service times your Average Final Compensation, times either 1.8% (Plan A or C) or 2% (Plan B or D). You then increase that total by an additional 3% to determine your approximate retirement benefit. Your benefit will be based on the number of hours worked in the course of a year. If you work 2,080 hours in one year, that will be one year of benefit service. If you work 1,560 hours in a year, that will count as .75 of one year and so forth.
Definition: Average Final Compensation (AFC) – AFC is the average of your highest 78 consecutive pay periods if paid bi-weekly (36 consecutive months if you are paid monthly) – AFC does not include overtime pay. AFC is the same as FAS (Final Average Salary). AFC and FAS are used interchangeably.
Q. I understand that retirees may continue to receive health coverage through FCPS. Does this apply
to all retirees regardless of number of years of service? Is it the same coverage that employees have available? How much more will the retiree have to pay for health coverage?
A. At this time, if you have had health insurance coverage for 5 years at the time you retire, you
may be eligible to continue this coverage through the Schools system. Please keep abreast of
any changes through your Human Resources, Benefits Department because the rules, carriers, premiums and subsidy amounts can change yearly with Open Enrollment. The current subsidy amount is based on years of service with the County. The more years of service a member has, the higher the health subsidy. (See page 7 of the 2018 FCPS Retiree Benefits Briefing.)
Q. May a retired bus driver come back to work as a substitute bus driver?
A. You may not return to employment as a substitute driver for at least six months after retirement.
After six months, you may return in a temporary or hourly capacity. Each fiscal year, you are limited to working no more than 75% of the hours you worked prior to retirement. Contact the Office of Talent Acquisition and Management at 571-423-3000 if you have questions about returning to work. Employees who return to work in a ‘contracted’ or benefits eligible position that is covered by the Fairfax County Employees Retirement System will be required to suspend receipt of pension benefits upon return to work.