Member Benefits

Insurance

The South Carolina Firefighters Insurance Services was chartered in 2005 to provide insurance and benefits to Association members. The insurance program is licensed through Accident, Life and Health, and Property and Casualty. The insurance program offers coverage for: accident, life, health, critical illness, home, car, and boat. Funds raised from the sales of insurance products are funneled back into the Association for the various needs of the fire service. The insurance program is committed to being responsive to a client’s total insurance needs and prides itself on superior customer service. Governed by a five-member Board of Directors, the agency is housed in the Association headquarters.


Insurance Forms

Retirement

The South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association assists in retirement planning for career and volunteer firefighters across the state. This planning includes investments of Firemen’s Insurance and Inspection Fund (1%) funds from fire departments. Toledano and Associates manage the retirement program and CCM Investment Management Group is the investment firm for the account. The Association is not involved in the day-to-day handling of investments or the administration of investments.

SCSFA Investment Portal

CCM Investment Advisers helps to manage the investment pools under the South Carolina State Firefighter’s Association (SCSFA) Retirement Plan and Trust for Paid Firefighters and the Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) for Volunteer Firefighters on behalf of SCSFA. Please contact Liz Barnes or Dixie Bullock at CCM Investment Advisers for instructions on making deposits to the fund.

GO TO THE PORTAL


Retirement Forms


Retirement FAQs

Paid Firefighters
Volunteer Firefighters
Qualifying for Retirement
Who is eligible?

All persons who are carried on the membership roll of a participating fire department and who perform fire fighting and prevention services as a bona fide volunteer, are eligible to participate in the plan upon completing one (1) Year of Service with the fire department, as determined by the plan administrator on a uniform and consistent basis.

For purposes of this plan, a bona fide volunteer means any individual whose compensation received from the participating fire department is in the form of reimbursements for expenses and reasonable benefits and nominal fees in connection with the provision of fire fighting and prevention services. Any bona fide volunteer firefighter on the roster of the department for one year of service, as defined as a consecutive 12 month period ending on December 31, shall meet eligibility requirements.

What is the entry date into the plan?

The participant will enter the plan as of the first day of the plan year coinciding with or next following the completion of a year of service which eligibility was met.

When am I fully vested?

Vested Balance: The participant’s balance that is non-forfeitable and is owned by the participant as calculated per the vesting schedule. Also, normal retirement, disability or death will result in the participant being 100% vested.

Vesting Schedule: A schedule chosen by the department which assigns a vested percentage to each year of service with the fire department. Although not entirely clear in the IRS Code, the attorney takes a conservative approach and highly recommends that no department adopts a schedule longer than 6 years.

How do I contribute?

Department Contributions: Can be deposited into the fund any time during the plan year. However, they must be allocated in the same plan year in which they are deposited. So, deposits received after December 31 will be allocated in the new plan year.

Allocation of Contributions: All eligible participants of the department shall receive an equal allocation and must be employed as of 9/30 of the plan year during which such contributions are paid to the plan.

Termination of a Firefighter: Upon termination, the distribution of the termination benefit shall be postponed until the earliest of the following occurrence: the attainment of Normal Retirement Age, Disability or Death. Upon the occurrence, a taxable distribution will be distributed.

When is the normal retirement age?

Normal retirement age is between age 55 and 62 as chosen by the department or 20 years of service, whichever is earlier.

How do I designate a beneficiary?

The person listed on the beneficiary designation will receive the death benefit of a deceased firefighter. Unless the spouse waives their right to the benefit, the spouse must be the beneficiary. A new beneficiary form must be completed upon divorce, marriage or death of the beneficiary or death of the spouse. If you do not designate a beneficiary or if the beneficiary you have named dies before you do, your benefits will be paid to your estate.

How are funds distributed?

The vested benefits can be paid in a single lump sum taxable distribution or installment payments upon termination of the fire department and meeting one (1) eligibility requirement of Normal Retirement Age, 20 years of service, Disability or Death (Benefits payable to Beneficiary).

What governs the process?

The process is governed by two entities. Primarily, the choice of the State Trustees in the design of the plan and the desire to manage the expenses of that plan; and secondly the IRS regulations governing LOSAPs and Qualified Government Plans. Therefore, when asked who does this or how, participants are referred to the plan document and its amendments or to IRS rules.

How are valuation dates determined?

The valuation dates are decided upon by the State Trustees and are set due to cost controls for all participants and the need to allow for time to process the roster changes. This process has never been differentiated between the LOSAP and the Qualified plan. All participants are managed the same. The Association and its Retirement System Administrator would welcome questions that you may have to further clarify this process.

How do I become qualified for distribution?

The department must have established upon joining the retirement program a vestment schedule that dictates from that point forward the number of years required to participate and become fully vested to retain earnings and contributions. This varies from department to department. Ask your local trustees for the vestment schedule for your department.

An individual must be a member of the local fire department for one year from the date of hire before being eligible to participate in the retirement system.

An individual, after that one full year of employment, is then added to the next roster, annually generated by the department, which will be forwarded to the retirement systems’ administrator from that department. Typically, this roster is completed in the last three months of the calendar year.

When are contributions offered to members?

Typically, in those latter portions of the year, the department will offer a single check of 1% annual budgeted contributions to the system investor on behalf of all the members listed on the roster. This budgeted amount, not to be confused or inter-related by timetables, was approved (again typically) in the previous budget cycle.

The roster is utilized by the system administrator on the following January 1 and contributions that were made by the department are allocated to the members listed on that most recent of rosters.

Financial

Supporting our Members

Every day, every employee of SCSFA Member Benefits is working to serve the needs of our members with savings, discounts, products and services to help make their lives more rewarding. We have worked with various partners to help provide our members with financial programs to help with everyday needs like housing & mortgages to air transport in cases of emergency. 

FirefighterMortgages.com

Serving those who serve with pride, integrity, and value.

Everyday Hero Housing Assistance Fund

Helping service professionals and their families to become homeowners.

Homes for Heroes

Connect with a local specialist today to maximize how much you save on a home.

Capital City Home Loans

A trusted full-service lender that offers a suite of mortgage financing options like FHA, VA, conventional, jumbo, and portfolio products.

MASA Medical Transport Solutions

Protecting you from outrageous emergency bills.

AirMedCare

AirMedCare Network’s alliance of affiliated helicopter and airplane air ambulances can provide medical treatment and transport, dramatically reducing travel time to an emergency facility.

Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP)

TAX DEDUCTION

Volunteer firefighters are allowed a tax deduction of up to $3,000 through the Volunteer Incentive Program administered by South Carolina State Fire. Volunteers qualify only if their chief provides them with a form stating that they have earned the minimum number of points established by the State Fire Marshal during the year. An individual is limited to one deduction of $3,000; if a taxpayer and spouse both qualify, a deduction of up to $6,000 is available. 

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