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Sheriff's Office Retirement Plan

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The Charles County Sheriff’s Office Retirement Plan (the “Plan”) is a defined benefits plan which is sponsored by the County Commissioners of Charles County. The Plan was established on July 1, 1973, to provide a measure of financial security for you and your family during post-retirement. Participation in the Plan is mandatory for all Sheriff’s Office employees.

Current participants may obtain additional information and pertaining to your pension benefit at the following link:

 

Employee Contributions

  • Sworn Officers: 8%
  • Correctional Officers: 7%
  • Communications/Dispatchers: 7%

The contribution level is a percentage of base salary as of July 1st each year*. Contributions are made on a pretax basis through payroll deduction.  

 

Normal Retirement
  • Sworn Officers
    • If you were hired before July 1, 1986, your Normal Retirement Date will be the earlier of:
      • (1) your 60th birthday or
      • (2) the late of:
        • (a) the date you complete 20 years of service or
        • (b) the date you cease employment.
    • If you were hired on or after July 1, 1986, your Normal Retirement Date will be the earlier of:
      • (1) your 60th birthday or
      • (2) the late of:
        • (a) the date you complete 25 years of service or
        • (b) the date you cease employment.

 

  • Correctional Officers
    • A participant is eligible to retire and begin receiving an annuity after
      • (1) 25 years of service or
      • (2) age 60

 

  • Communications/Dispatchers:
    • A participant is eligible to retire and begin receiving an annuity after
      • (1) 25 years of service or
      • (2) age 60

 
Vesting/Early Retirement
  •  Sworn Officers
    • An employee is vested after 5 years of service and is eligible for early retirement after 20 years of service or age 60.
  •  Correctional Officers
    •  An employee is vested after 5 years of service and is eligible for early retirement.
  • Communications/Dispatchers
    •  An employee is vested after 5 years of service and is eligible for early retirement

 

For purposes of calculating the retirement benefit:
  • Final Average Earnings (FAE) - Average of July 1 highest 3-consecutive salaries during the 5-years prior to retirement

 

Benefit Level
  • Sworn Officers:
    •  Years 1 – 20 = 3.00% of FAE
    • Years 20+ = 2.00% of FAE
  • Correctional Officers:
    • 2.25% of FAE for all Years of Participation
  • Communications/Dispatchers:
    • 2.00% of FAE for all Years of Participation

 

Sick Leave Accrual
  • An employee may be eligible to apply unused accrued sick leave towards increasing their benefit level.
    • Sworn Officers
      • 500 Hours Unused Accrued Sick Leave = Additional 1% of FAE (Minimum)
      • Each additional 100 Hours over 500 = Additional .1% of FAE
      • 4500 Hours = Additional 5% of FAE (Maximum)
  • Correctional Officers
    • 500 Hours Unused Accrued Sick Leave = Additional 1% of FAE (Minimum)
    • Each additional 100 hours over 500 = Additional .1%of FAE
  • Communication Dispatchers
    • 500 Hours Unused Accrued Sick Leave = Additional 1% of FAE (Minimum)
    • Each additional 100 hours over 500 = Additional .1% of FAE 

 

Military Time Credit
  • An employee may receive credit for up to 3 years of active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States as additional years of service when calculating their retirement benefit.
  • The employee must be employed with the County for 10 years prior to receiving credit for the military service. The military service is not used to calculate eligibility for vesting or retirement.
  • A participant may not receive additional service credit for Military service if the participant is entitled to receive a benefit (except for disability benefits, Social Security benefits or benefit under the National Railroad Retirement, National Guard or military reserve) from another retirement system, on account of the Military Service.

 

An employee’s retirement benefit would be calculated as follows:
  • Final Average Earnings x Benefit Level x Credited Years of Service = Accrued Annual Benefit*

*Accrued benefit may be actuarially reduced for employees who retire early.

 
Disability Retirement
  • There are four types of disability benefits that an employee could become eligible to receive under the plan depending upon the circumstances of the disability.  The disability must meet the requirements as determined by the Disability Review Board.
    • Line of Duty Total – 66 2/3% of FAE
    • Line of Duty Partial (except Communications) – 15% - 50% of FAE
    • Non Line of Duty Total – 15% - 40% of FAE
    • Non Line of Duty Partial (except Communications) – 15% - 40% of FAE and deemed to be catastrophic

 

Termination of Employment
  • Upon termination of employment with the County for any reason other than retirement, a participant in the pension plan will be entitled to a refund of their employee contributions to the pension plan plus any accrued interest.
  • If at the time of termination, a participant is vested in the retirement plan, they may elect to leave the monies in the plan until attainment of normal retirement age at which time the employee could begin collecting a retirement annuity from the pension plan.
  • The Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD) below provide specific detail regarding the pension plan.  To obtain a paper copy of the SPD, please contact HR at 301-645-0585

Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP)
  • The Charles County Sheriff’s Office Retirement Plan DROP allows a sworn member of the Sheriff’s Office to retire without terminating employment for five years. During this time, retirement benefits accumulate and earn an interest rate that is determined at the date of entry into the DROP.
  • The monthly benefit is calculated as if you retired on the date you elect DROP participation to begin and elected payment to be made in the form that provides payments for the retiree's life only, with no benefit payments continuing after death.
  • Accrued sick leave as of the date of DROP participation is also counted to determine the amount of the monthly addition to the DROP account. However, accrued sick leave balance is still available for use while a participant in DROP.
  •  The monthly benefit plus employee contributions are accumulated until the termination of DROP participation and retirement from the County. At that time, you begin to receive monthly retirement income, payable in one of the optional forms elected under the Plan, plus a distribution of DROP account. For purposes of determining monthly retirement income, pay and additional years of service earned while a participant in DROP are not counted. However, accrued sick leave balance as of the date employment is terminated, is included when determining monthly retirement income. Upon termination, one may receive a lump sum cash distribution of the DROP account or, in most cases, roll over the distribution to an individual retirement account.
  • If employment is terminated before the end of the five year drop period because of death or disability, one is treated as if they never elected to participate in the DROP.   The retiree nor beneficiary will receive a distribution of your DROP account, but the death benefits or disability benefits will be determined using pay and years of service earned while a participant in DROP.
  • Election to participate in DROP is irrevocable once participation begins and additions are made to the DROP account established in your name.


Election to Participate in DROP
Revocation of Election to Participate in DROP
Charles County Sheriff's Office Pension Plan Document
Police Officer Summary Plan Description
Correctional Officer Summary Plan Description
Communications Dispatcher Summary Plan Description
Beneficiary
Optional Form of Payment Election Form
Sheriff's Office Retirement Plan Committee

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