Virginia Blue Bells

Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP)

What Is DROP?

DROP allows ERFC Legacy members who are eligible for an unreduced retirement the option to retire for purposes of the ERFC pension plan while continuing to work full time for FCPS and receive a salary for a maximum of five years.

While you'll no longer contribute to or earn additional years of service for your ERFC pension, you will continue contributing to your VRS pension. 

Once you enter DROP, your monthly ERFC pension benefit will go to an interest-bearing DROP account that's payable to you at the end of the DROP period. When you exit DROP, you’ll receive the funds in your DROP account and your monthly ERFC pension will start going to you via direct deposit.

DROP into Retirement with ERFC

Who Can Apply for DROP?

To be eligible for DROP, you must be:

  • In the ERFC Legacy plan (Hire Date: Before 7/1/2001)
  • Eligible for an unreduced retirement:
    • Age 55 with 25 or more years of service
    • Age 65 with at least 5 years of service

How Does DROP Work?

As a DROP participant, you’ll:

A female employee with FCPS badge

Work full-time for FCPS

A stack of dollars not going into ERFC money jar

Receive a salary but you won’t contribute to the ERFC Legacy plan or add additional years of service credit to your ERFC pension

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Make your ERFC pension payout and survivor option election when you enter DROP

Please Note: This election cannot be changed after you enter DROP, except for limited circumstances as permitted under the ERFC Plan.

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Be eligible for promotions and pay increases

Two money jars with written words 457(b) and 403(b)

Be able to contribute to 457(b) and 403(b) plans

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Enjoy health and life insurance benefits at employee rates

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Earn leave at the same rate

Please Note: You can convert all of your sick leave balance at the time you enter DROP to service credit or hold back up to 40 hours to allow you to begin the DROP period with sick leave available. Any sick leave accrued during DROP is "use it or lose it." You will not be able to apply any unused sick leave accrued during DROP or any unused sick leave carried over from before the DROP period toward years of service credit. Your retirement benefit will not be re-calculated when you leave DROP.

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Terminate employment and exit DROP at the end of the 5-year DROP period (or sooner if you choose)

Please Note: Participation in DROP does not guarantee continued employment. If your employment with FCPS is terminated or you move to an FCPS position that's not covered by ERFC, you must exit DROP.

How Is My Monthly DROP Payment Calculated?

The amount credited monthly into your DROP account will be the Legacy benefit formula calculation as of the date you enter DROP.

Your ERFC pension benefit will receive annual retiree cost-of-living adjustment increases and your DROP account will earn an annual 4% interest rate compounded monthly unless the Board of Trustees adopts a lower rate for a particular fiscal year. Interest on your DROP account will only be applied for full months, not partial months.

When you exit DROP after 5 years (or sooner if you choose), you’ll receive the amount in your DROP account and your monthly ERFC pension will start being direct deposited into your bank account. 

Please Note: Your retirement benefit will not be re-calculated when you leave DROP.


Is DROP Right for Me?

To help you decide, it's a good idea to run DROP estimates in ERFCDirect comparing these two scenarios:

  • The ERFC pension benefit you would receive under DROP without earning additional service credit.
  • The ERFC pension benefit you would receive if you continued working and earning additional service credit for the same time period, and then retired without participating in DROP.

Log in and click "Create an Estimate" on the left toolbar.

  • To run a DROP estimate, choose "DROP" in the "Type" dropdown.
  • To run a regular estimate, choose "Retirement" in the "Type" dropdown.

ERFC cannot provide financial advice. If you have questions about your DROP estimates, please consult your financial advisor. 

Understanding DROP

DROP Flyer
DROP Slides

Questions About DROP?

Call us at 703-426-3900 or email us at erfcretirement@fcps.edu and we'll be happy to help.

How Do I Apply for DROP?

Green form

To start the DROP entry process:

  • Log in to ERFCDirect
  • Locate the Application to Enter DROP (ERFC 41A) under “Forms” on the left toolbar.
  • Complete the form and make sure your:
    • DROP entry date matches your ERFC retirement date
    • Supervisor signs the form
  • Submit ERFC 41A to erfcretirement@fcps.edu.

Once you submit your DROP entry form to ERFC, we'll review it and send an email confirming acceptance of your application. After you receive email confirmation, log in to ERFCDirect to access your DROP entry packet, which includes:

  • Application for Retirement Benefits - ERFC Plan (ERFC 22D)
  • Beneficiary Designation (ERFC 1)

Please Note: If you're entering DROP, you should NOT submit an HR-2 at the time of entry. You'll submit your HR-2 when you exit DROP.

You may participate in DROP only once. Your election to enter DROP becomes permanent and cannot be reversed as of your DROP entry date. You can only rescind your election prior to your DROP entry date.

Application Schedule

To help ensure a smooth process, we encourage you to submit your DROP application six months in advance if possible. However, ERFC must receive your application at least 60 days prior to your DROP entry date.

Please Note: The 60-day requirement will be waived for those entering DROP on July 1 or August 1, 2024.

2024

DROP Entry Date ERFC Must Receive Your Application By
7/1/2024 5/1/2024 (Deadline Waived)
8/1/2024 6/3/2024 (Deadline Waived)
9/1/2024 7/1/2024
10/1/2024 8/1/2024
11/1/2024
9/3/2024
12/1/2024 10/1/2024

2025

DROP Entry Date ERFC Must Receive Your Application By
1/1/2025 11/1/2024
2/1/2025 12/2/2024
3/1/2025 1/2/2025
4/1/2025 2/3/2025
5/1/2025 3/3/2025
6/1/2025 4/1/2025
7/1/2025 5/1/2025
8/1/2025 6/2/2025
9/1/2025
7/1/2025
10/1/2025 8/1/2025
11/1/2025 9/1/2025
12/1/2025 10/1/2025

Exiting DROP

After five years, you must exit DROP. You also have the option to exit before the mandatory date without facing any penalties. Once you exit DROP, your monthly ERFC pension will start being direct deposited into your bank account.

To exit DROP, you'll need to complete the following forms:

Contact FCPS HR Benefits at 571-423-3200 (Option #3) or StaffConnect to make decisions regarding:

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Life Insurance

 

What Are My DROP Account Balance Payout Options?

When you exit DROP, you can do one of the following:

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Lump Sum Payment

You can choose to receive your DROP account balance as a lump sum payment. This payment reflects the total value of your DROP account. We will withhold a mandatory 20% for federal income taxes (plus 4% for Virginia residents if applicable) from your payment.

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Rollover

To avoid immediate tax liabilities, you can choose to roll over your DROP account balance into a tax-deferred retirement plan such as a traditional IRA or eligible employer plan.

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Lump Sum Payment/Rollover

You can choose to have a certain percentage or dollar amount of your DROP account balance paid to you as a lump sum payment and a certain percentage or dollar amount rolled over.

Report a Death

Death During DROP Period

Your designated beneficiary will be eligible to receive the balance credited to your DROP account at the time of your death.