Understanding the DROPs Government Employee Retirement Program

Government employees, such as teachers, firefighters, police, and others, often consider working after their eligible retirement age. Especially when presented with a deferred retirement option plan (DROPs) offer.

A DROP program is a tax-advantaged retirement plan. It provides employer monies in exchange for the employee continuing to work past retirement. In a DROP program, the employer sets aside an annual-lump payment into an interest-bearing account that the employee accesses later when they retire.

DROP programs are an additional retirement savings program for employees that want to continue working but have reached their pension payout limit. Despite working more years, they can’t increase their pension amount because they have maxed out their years of service pension accumulation. Here are other things to know about DROPs:

  • Employers offer DROPs to entice retirement-age employees to continue working.
  • DROPs are used alongside defined benefits retirement plans that are typically fixed pensions.
  • DROPs have specific participation lengths, such as four to seven years.
  • The DROP’s yearly payment amount and interest rate are set in the DROP plan documents.
  • DROPs allow employees to accumulate more tax-deferred retirement monies for retirement.

How Does it Work

The DROP compensation amount is based on the employee’s average annual salary, years of service, the accrual rate (interest), and the length of time the employee participates in the plan. Before deciding to continue working and participate in a DROP program, employees should consider these pros and cons:


  • The employee can add to their retirement savings
  • The DROP plan may have a higher accrual rate than their pension plan


  • If not rolled into another retirement savings strategy, the payout may push the employee into a higher tax bracket since it’s taxed as ordinary income
  • If the employee continues working, there may be a short window to enroll in the DROP plan.

Once an employee fully retires, their pension benefits plan will begin. They will also receive the total value of the DROP account, including all the interest it accrued. If the employee doesn’t want to pay taxes on the DROP payout now, they can transfer the value and pay taxes later when using these strategies:

1. Transfer the DROPs monies into an annuity.

2. Transfer the DROPs monies into an IRA

There may be other options to consider, depending on your situation. A financial professional can help you understand your options if you plan to participate in a DROP program or are nearing retirement and have DROP monies.

 SWG 2853986-0423d The sources used to prepare this material are believed to be true, accurate and reliable, but are not guaranteed. This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial or tax guidance. When you access a link you are leaving our website and assume total responsibility for your use of the website you are linking to. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided at this website. Nor is the company liable for any direct or indirect technical or system issues or any consequences arising out of your access to or your use of third-party technologies, websites, information and programs made available through this website.

Our family financial services firm, August H. Velten & Associates, has been in business for 12-years in Melbourne, FL.   August Velten (CLU) is a 40-year veteran of the Financial Services industry.  August is a former instructor for the Life Underwriter Training Council and once occupied the legislative seat for the Maine Association of Life Insurers.  In Brevard County, you may have seen him on local access TV or read one of his articles in a local area magazine.   Jessica Waterhouse, August’s daughter, left her own practice to join the firm in 2019.  Jessica is a Florida licensed insurance producer, securities licensed (Series 65), a long term care specialist (CLTC) and holds certification as a National Social Security Advisor.  Both August & Jessica are instructors for financial literacy workshops in both Brevard and Indian River County offering education in Social Security and Financial Planning. Contact the office today to schedule an introductory meeting or review of your current financial plan.

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