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  • ***Annual Meeting Power Point & Social Security 415 Pensions Limits are under the Document Section*** 
Social Security 415 plans and the reductions

JPE Union Board

JPE Members:


Many of you have contacted us regarding provisions under the  Social Security 415 plans. Below is what we received from AFT National on this topic.

Hi Carmen:

Since my last email to you, I have been able to confirm that while Probationary Officers are considered “hazardous employees” under  that state pension plan, they are not excluded from the IRC 415 limits, as they are not employees of police or fire departments.  Only the pensions of employees of police and fire department excluded from these limits. 

According to a August 29, 2013 Private Letter Ruling from IRS to the Chair of the State Employees Retirement Commission of Connecticut (see page 4 attached), corrections, probation,  parole and other public safety officers are not included in the definition of “qualified participant”, as they are not full-time employees of police or fire departments.  The letter goes on to state that the exclusion from the 415 (b) limits depends on who the safety employee works for and not what an employee does (see page 5 attached).  Therefore, even though Probationary Officers perform many similar duties as a police officer, they are not eligible for the 415 exclusion based on their state-based employment. 


I am also attaching a copy of a 2014 Section 415 Limit Actuarial table that shows the maximum benefit for early retirees in Connecticut.  As the 2014 benefit limit of $210,000 was not increased in 2015 or 2016, this table is still relevant.  It shows for example, that a 43 year old parole officer with 20 years of service could earn a maximum benefit of $62,777.  As the Hazardous Duty pension is 50% of the average salary for the three highest paid years of service,  it can be no higher than $125,554 to avoid any 415 reductions ($62,777 X 2).  Any age 43 probationary officer with 20–years of service and earning more than $125,554 in 2016 would see his or her pension benefit capped at $62,777.    


Attached to this short response are copies of the following:

  • January 28, 2016 Retirement Service Division Memorandum No. 201-01 that explains the reasoning and application of the 415 limits in CT,

  • August 29, 2013 Private Letter Ruling issued by the IRS to the CT Retirement Commission on August 29, 2013, and

  • The 415 Limit Table prepared by the state actuaries that is still applicable for retirements in 2016.


I would encourage you to contact the retirement system to confirm my understanding of who the 415 limits apply to in your state, and the 2016 cap on the hazardous duty benefit.   

I hope that the relatively high 415 limit for a 20-years Probationary Officer does not impact any of your members.  If however such a limit may cause harm, you can use the 2014 table to advice them of the issue and perhaps get them to stay on the job a little longer.  Please let me know if you have any other questions about the application of the 415 limits in CT. 


Carmen A. Roda


Judicial Professional Employees 

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