Hot Topics: Volunteer Firefighter Retirement Plan

Since 2010, the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) has operated the Statewide Volunteer Firefighter Retirement Plan (SVFRP). If a local fire relief association chooses to join the SVFRP, PERA takes over administration of the fire relief association’s pension plan. Currently, the SVFRP is servicing 63 Minnesota volunteer fire departments.

The plan is available to:

  • Municipal fire departments
  • Independent nonprofit firefighting corporations

The SVFRP is an option for municipalities that do not currently have a volunteer firefighter retirement plan, but would like to start one, and for existing relief associations seeking an alternative to their existing plan.

The Internal Revenue Service recognized the program as a tax-qualified retirement plan in August 2012.

Participation in the plan is voluntary. The decision to participate in the plan is made jointly by the municipal entity operating the fire department and the volunteer firefighter relief association. Individual firefighters cannot join the plan on their own.

Cities that wish to participate in the SVFRP may begin by contacting PERA to request a cost analysis for the benefit level(s) requested. The governing body of the municipality must then approve coverage, and PERA will begin administering the plan the following January.