In the event a firefighter quits or is discharged before his or her retirement date as defined in subsection (3) of section 16-1028, the firefighter may request and receive, as a lump-sum payment, an amount equal to the value of his or her employee account as determined at the valuation date preceding his or her termination of employment pursuant to subdivision (9) of section 16-1021. Such firefighter, if vested, may, in lieu thereof, receive a deferred pension benefit or lump-sum benefit in an amount purchased or provided by the vested retirement value at the date of retirement. The retirement value at such retirement date shall consist of the then accumulated value of the firefighter's employee account at the date of the retirement as reduced by any lump-sum distributions received prior to retirement, together with a vested percentage of the accumulated value of the firefighter's employer account at the date of retirement. The vesting schedule shall be as follows:
(1) If the terminating firefighter has been a member of the system for less than four years, the vesting percentage shall be zero; and
(2) If the terminating firefighter has been a member of the paid department of the city for at least four years, the vesting percentage shall be forty percent. The vesting percentage shall be sixty percent after five years, eighty percent after six years, and one hundred percent after seven years.
The deferred pension benefit shall be payable on the first of the month immediately following the terminating firefighter's fifty-fifth birthday. At the option of the firefighter, such pension benefit may be paid as of the first of the month after he or she attains the age of fifty. Such election may be made by the firefighter any time prior to the payment of the pension benefits.
The deferred pension benefit shall be paid in the optional benefit forms specified at subsection (1) of section 16-1027 as elected by the firefighter. Notwithstanding anything in sections 16-1020 to 16-1042 to the contrary, if the firefighter's vested retirement value at the date of his or her termination of employment is less than three thousand five hundred dollars, such firefighter shall, upon request within one year of such termination, be paid his or her vested retirement value in the form of a single lump-sum payment.
Effective January 1, 1997, a firefighter may elect, upon his or her termination of employment, to receive his or her vested retirement value in the form of a single lump-sum payment. For a firefighter whose termination of employment is prior to January 1, 1997, this election shall be available only if the city has adopted a lump-sum distribution option for terminating firefighters in the funding medium established for the retirement system.
Upon any lump-sum payment of a terminating firefighter's retirement value under this section, such firefighter will not be entitled to any deferred pension benefit and the city and the retirement system shall have no further obligation to pay such firefighter or his or her beneficiaries any benefits under sections 16-1020 to 16-1042.
In the event that the terminating firefighter is not credited with one hundred percent of his or her employer account, the remaining nonvested portion of the account shall be forfeited and shall be deposited in the unallocated employer account. If the actuarial analysis required by section 16-1037 shows that the assets of the unallocated employer account are sufficient to provide for the projected plan liabilities, such forfeitures shall instead be used to meet the expenses incurred by the city in connection with administering the retirement system, and the remainder shall then be used to reduce the city contribution which would otherwise be required to fund pension benefits.