Houston Firefighters' Relief and Retirement Fund
Investing for Firefighters and Their Families®
PENSION BENEFITS POLICIES CHANGES SINCE 2018 SPD
Article 6243e.2 (1), Texas Civil Statutes will be referred to as the “Statute”
1.00 Membership - (Reference to Section 13 of the Statute) - Changed 9/15/20
5.00 Disability Definitions/Procedures - (Reference to Section 6 of the Statute) – Changed 5/21/19
6.00 Procedures for Death and Survivor Benefits, excluding DROP death benefits governed by Section 3.07 of this Policy - (Reference to Section 7 of the Statute) – Changed 3/20/18 and 1/15/19
13.00 Deductions – Changed 4/17/18
1.00 Membership - (Reference to Section 13 of the Statute)
1.05 Pursuant to powers granted to it under sections 2(p) and 13(a) of the Statute the Board automatically accepts as members of the Fund (except for applicants for reentry into the Fund) each person who has completed all conditions for membership, including an application for membership in the Fund, and has been sworn in as a full-time, fully paid, active, classified member of the Houston Fire Department prior to attaining age 36. All new members to the Fund and their corresponding pension entrance date shall be noted in the next Pension Benefits Committee meeting following their swearing in ceremony.
5.00 Disability Definitions/Procedures - (Reference to Section 6 of the Statute)
5.11 At any time after a determination by the Pension Benefits Committee, but prior to a determination by the Board on an appeal to the Board, an applicant may re-apply and submit additional information which was not previously presented to the Pension Benefits Committee for consideration. A noticed appeal to the Board may be abated for the purpose of permitting a re-application with additional information. If an applicant re-applies, but additional information is not provided to the Committee, the Pension Benefits Committee will affirm its prior determination. If additional information is submitted to the Committee, it shall consider this and all prior information. Upon any appeal to the Board, however the Board shall consider only such information as was provided to the Committee.
6.00 Procedures for Death and Survivor Benefits, excluding DROP death benefits, governed by Section 3.07 of this Policy (Reference to Section 7 of the Statute)
6.01 Survivor(s) eligible for payment under this section must request and apply for such payment by completing forms required by and available through the Fund in addition to providing the marriage and/or birth certificate(s) necessary to verify eligibility.
6.02 No death benefit will be processed for payment without a death certificate or a pending death certificate certifying the death of the member. In instances where payment is made through a trustee or to an estate, verifiable proof of trusteeship or status as representative of the estate must also be provided or be on file.
B. An individual who is over 18 years of age and applying for a benefit as a disabled child as defined in section 1(5) of the Statute shall be ineligible for such benefit unless the applicant was dependent upon the deceased member prior to the member’s death and such applicant provides satisfactory evidence to the Board that for the member’s federal income tax return filed in the year immediately preceding the death of the member, the member claimed the applicant as a dependent on such return. The Fund may require any further evidence it deems necessary to determine that the applicant’s dependence upon the member continued until the member’s date of death. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, a sworn statement from the applicant.
13.02 The deduction purposes approved by the Board are as follows: federal income tax, City of Houston provided health, dental, vision, and life insurance, Local #341 sponsored supplemental life, dental, and vision insurance, Relative Assistance Fund, Hospital Fund, Houston Fire Museum membership dues, Dennis W. Holder Scholarship Fund, HFD Honor Guard and HFD Pipe and Drums. It is further recognized that the Fund is required by law to withhold Internal Revenue Service levies and child support through Qualified Domestic Relations Orders.