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Employee Benefits

I received a layoff letter, can I still use the services of Miami-Dade County Employee Support Services (ESS)?

Yes, you can use the services of ESS.  ESS is available to all Miami-Dade employees and their eligible dependant family members.


What kind of problems can ESS help with?

Some of the major problems areas with which ESS can help are:

Stress/Anxiety/Emotional Problems
The majority of us, at one time or another, experience mild anxiety or depression. Occasionally, however, these problems can be quite severe. ESS can assist you in obtaining appropriate professional help.

Family/Marital Problems
Family problems can be devastating. ESS can offer guidance in obtaining effective professional help.

Alcoholism and Drug-Related Problems
Alcoholism is the nation's number one drug problem. We recognize addiction as an illness which is treatable- there has been an increasing incidence of addiction to one or more of a wide variety of both "hard" drugs like heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine or prescription drugs, such tranquilizers or sleeping pills. Whether your concern is for yourself or a member of your family, ESS can be an initial source of help.

Financial Problems

ESS will help you in finding a financial counselor to help resolve your financial problems.


Are ESS services confidential?

ESS is designed to ensure confidentiality. Persons who enter ESS on a voluntary basis will have  information released only to those individuals authorized by the employee. Only the staff of the  program will have access to information on any employee who utilizes the service of ESS in  accordance with Federal and State regulations governing confidential information.


How does ESS work?

The employee can refer himself or herself for a consultation in any of the problem areas outlined  above (financial, stress, family, substance abuse).

 The employee's supervisor can also make a mandatory referral in cases of identified substance  abuse. Additionally, the supervisor can recommend consultation with ESS if family troubles are  identified as adversely affecting the employee's performance.

 Please call 305-375-3293 to schedule an appointment.


When will my current group insurance coverage end?

All of your current insurance coverage, including life, medical, dental, vision, Long Term Disability (LTD), Short Term Disability (STD), Legal and optional life will end on the last day of the pay period in which the termination date falls and for which you are payroll deducted or made direct payments to the Benefits Administration Unit (if on an unpaid leave of absence).

Do I qualify for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) insurance benefits?

Yes, you and your covered family members will be offered the availability of continuing your medical, dental, and vision coverage. Coverage under COBRA is the same as offered to active employees. You will receive a COBRA letter at your home advising you of your rights and the cost for continuing your coverage. You will have 60 days from the letter of termination date or the date of the letter, to either elect or decline coverage.

If you elect coverage, you then have 45 days from your election date to submit your first monthly payment. This payment is retroactive to the first day that your group coverage ended. You will also receive a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) certificate from your medical plan showing proof that you were covered under the County’s group health plan.


Can I elect COBRA for the medical plan only, or must I include coverage for the other benefit plans?

The COBRA regulations only allows for continuation of insurance coverage for Medical, Dental, and Vision. Other insurance coverage is not continued, however, there is a “conversion” privilege on your life insurance. Coverage for Basic Life and Optional Life can be converted to a private policy without evidence of insurability. Information will be provided at the time of your separation from the County.


If I have family coverage, do I have to enroll my entire family in COBRA?

You will be sent a COBRA package providing the costs for all of your covered members. You do not have to enroll for family coverage. If you wish to enroll just yourself, or a specific dependent, you may elect to do so.


I have a planned medical procedure upcoming. What do I do?

If you have a medical procedure planned after your separation, it is advisable that you elect COBRA. There are no pre-existing condition limitations, and the same group benefits apply. Your basic COBRA benefits extend for 18 months. However, it is not necessary that you continue for the duration of the 18 months. You may cease coverage through COBRA at any time during your COBRA period.


I am participating in a Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Can I continue to contribute to this Plan?

You may continue to contribute through the balance of the calendar year that you left the County. This applies only if you have not already received, as reimbursement, the maximum benefit available for the calendar year. Your contribution however, will be on a “post-tax” basis. You must send your checks to Fringe Benefit Management Company (FBMC) in Tallahassee.

If you have questions concerning your FSA, you can call FBMC at 1-800-342-8017. Continuation coverage will be terminated before the end of the year if any required premiums are not paid on time.


Am I eligible for State Unemployment Insurance?

Yes. You actually may apply on-line at You will click on the “Find Agency” tab, and then click on the “Agency for Workforce Innovation” tab. Then you should click on the Unemployment Compensation Claims link. This will take you to the application screen to apply for the benefits.

If you have any questions concerning your unemployment benefits, you can call 1-800-204-2418. You will not receive your first check until several weeks after you have submitted your claim.


I am enrolled in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) retirement plan. What is going to happen to my pension?

As a pension plan member with six years or more of creditable service, you are entitled to receive an unreduced benefit at age 62. Early retirement benefits can be collected but for every year under age 62, the FRS imposes a 5 percent reduction of benefits.

For example, a 57 year old employee with eighteen years of service will receive a 25 percent reduction of their monthly pension benefit. Employees can contact the Bureau of Retirement Calculations at 1-888-738-2252 to obtain an estimate of benefits.


I am enrolled in the FRS Investment Plan. What is going to happen with my investments?

As a vested member of the investment plan you are entitled to receive the proceeds of your account three calendar months after your separation date. However, you are not required to take a distribution and you may leave the funds invested with the FRS. In the event you take a distribution but do not meet the plan guidelines for retirement, you may be subject to an additional 10 percent tax penalty from the IRS.

For more specific information regarding your account, you can contact the Financial Guidance line of My FRS at 1-866-446-9377.


If I am participating in the 457 Deferred Compensation Plan, what are my options now?

The deferred compensation plan does not impose a waiting period, an age requirement, or a service requirement for a distribution. You will not be able to make future contributions to the County plan. Employees who separate from service are eligible to withdraw the funds without penalty, but are not required to do so. You may choose to maintain investments in the deferred compensation account to age 70½ at which time you will need to start taking a distribution. Any funds that are withdrawn are subject to Federal Income taxes.

If you are interested in obtaining additional information on the type of payment options available, you may contact your plan provider directly, at Nationwide Retirement Solutions (NRS) 877-677-3678 or ICMA-RC 800-669-7400. If you wish to leave the funds invested with your plan provider, no action is required.


If I am participating in the 457 Deferred Compensation Plan and want to make a withdrawal for an unforeseeable emergency (layoff), is there a penalty?

If the layoff results in a termination, then it would be a qualifying event that would allow the employee to file a basic withdrawal, subject to applicable tax laws (no penalty).

If the layoff (non-termination) results in the employee going without pay pending placement in another position, then Unforeseeable Emergency could qualify as a loss of income (no penalty) subject to ordinary taxes.


What happens if I am currently in Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP)?

DROP rules will apply. In order to remain in the DROP program, you must be employed in an FRS covered position within 30 days of termination. Therefore, it is suggested that the employee in DROP make an appointment with a Retirement Specialist in the Benefits Assistance Unit (BAU) to discuss his/her options. For an appointment, please call 305-375-4161.


Who can I contact if I have any additional questions?

Please contact your Department Personnel Representative Adobe Acrobat Required (DPR) if you have any questions.

If you cannot view PDF Get Acrobat! files, you can download Acrobat Reader  for free from Adobe Systems, Inc. In order to use PDF files, you must have Acrobat installed on your computer.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:42:36 PM
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