Removing the Bridge Benefit on Future Service
One of the proposed changes by plan partners is the removal of the bridge benefit on future service. The bridge benefit will no longer apply to service earned on or after January 1, 2022.
General members (Group 1) retiring at age 60 with more than two years of service will see their lifetime benefit increase almost as much as their bridge would have provided them to age 65. The bridge benefit will still be available for historical benefit accruals. For example, general members (Group 1), who retire before age 65 with service before January 1, 2022 will be entitled to a bridge benefit with respect to their past service.
Why does the plan redesign propose to remove the bridge benefit?
Under the current plan, the bridge benefit is paid to those who choose to retire prior to age 65. All members currently contribute to this benefit, but not all members take advantage of it.
This is a temporary benefit; it is provided upon retirement until age 65 when it stops. This often causes confusion if one is not expecting it to happen.
Under the proposed changes, members who opt to retire before age 65 will no longer be subsidized through a bridge benefit by members who do not or cannot afford to retire as early on future service.
The value of this benefit will instead support the higher lifetime pension to most Group 1 members (members who are not police and firefighters).
Under the proposed plan, would early retirement still be possible?
Yes, active members would still be able to retire before age 65; however, the bridge benefit would only apply to service earned prior to January 1, 2022.