ESSS Defined Benefit Fund
November 29 2023
Do you have enough cover?
Additional insurance* is available in the Accumulation Plan.
No one knows your ESSS Defined Benefit Fund better than ESSSuper.
The ESSS Defined Benefit Fund (ESSS DB Fund) is an open fund for operational employees of Victoria's Emergency Services. For details about the fund, read the ESSS Defined Benefit Fund Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), available on our PDS and handbooks page.
The end benefit for defined benefit funds is calculated differently from an accumulation-style fund. As an ESSS DB Fund member, your benefit depends on a number of elements: your salary, age, period of service, contribution rates and full or part-time employment status.
Your defined benefits are not impacted by investment performance.
Benefits and risks
There are a range of benefits within your ESSS DB Fund membership, including:
- Your defined benefit is not impacted by investment performance
- There are no contribution fees and management fees are met by your employer
- You can make binding and non-binding beneficiary nominations
- You can increase your contribution level, and
- Provided you meet a release requirement, benefits are payable on retirement, resignation, dismissal, retrenchment, death, and disability.
There is the risk that your nominated contribution rate and/or period of service may not result in a high enough benefit to sustain you in retirement. However, there are ways to increase your retirement benefit.
Or, you may want to increase your insurance cover to further cover you and your family in the case of death, disablement, or terminal illness. You can elect to top up your insurance* cover using our Accumulation Plan.
How your ESSS DB Fund works
Throughout your working life, your employer will make contributions to your ESSS DB Fund on your behalf, at a rate determined by you, generally ranging from 0% to 7%. There are also special catch-up contribution rates available if you choose not to contribute for a period of time or contribute less than the maximum. Note: not all members can contribute above 5% (i.e. some non-operational members). Refer to the PDS, available on our PDS and handbooks web page, for details.
When you want to access your benefit, provided you meet a condition of release, your benefit will be calculated using a formula which takes into account a number of elements, such as your:
- Period of service
- Contribution rates, and
- Full or part-time employment status.
When you terminate employment you have a number of options. Ask us about transferring** your benefit into the Accumulation Plan, which will give you the flexibility to continue to receive employer contributions while you are still working, increase your insurance cover*, nominate beneficiaries, or purchase one of our award-winning income streams.
ESSS Defined Benefit (DB) Fund members who are under age 55 (operational) or 60 (non-operational) or are police recruits have disability cover regardless of whether they're on or off duty. After applying for a benefit, ESSSuper will determine whether you're eligible for:
- A temporary pension (with payments that don't reduce your retirement benefit)
- A permanent disability pension or lump sum benefit (depending on your age), or
- An ill-health retirement lump sum benefit.
About temporary pensions
If you're eligible, a temporary pension may be payable:
- If it appears you're likely to substantially recover from your injury, disease, or infirmity
- For a 'first limited period' of up to one year, with a maximum period of up to two years (as long as you don't finish employment and medical evidence supports continuation of the benefit).
ESSSuper will make a decision on a disability claim after you've attended at least two independent medical examinations with Board-approved doctors.
To learn more or complete an application form, please refer to our Claiming a disability benefit (defined benefit) fact sheet, available in the 'Looking after your loved ones' section of our Publications web page.
Partnering your ESSS Defined Benefit Fund with an Accumulation Plan
Find out all about our Accumulation Plan here.
You can open an Accumulation Plan today, even if you are still working.
There are some potential benefits to doing this, such as consolidating your super**, topping up your insurance*, increasing your end benefit, or accessing a Working Income Stream.
We recommend checking out the Accumulation Plan page or contacting us for further information about partnering your defined benefit with an Accumulation Plan.
Working part-time in the transition to retirement
As you approach retirement, it can be helpful to make changes at work to ease the transition.
One way to do this is by reducing your hours or changing to a more flexible role. To make the transition gradual, you can consider:
- Talking to your employer about your options, e.g. purchasing extra leave
- Discussing your needs with your family, and
- Meeting with a Financial Advisor† to make a plan.
If your super is in our ESSS Defined Benefit Fund, reducing your hours is unlikely to have an impact on the Final Average Salary used to calculate your retirement benefit, although it will impact your benefits by reducing the rate at which your super accumulates. You can find out more in the PDS available on our PDS and handbooks web page.
Planning for your future can be a daunting task, but you're not alone. Contact us for expert information and financial advice about your super from one of our Financial Advisers.† You may also benefit from meeting with a Member Education Consultant for general advice about your ESSSuper account, such as what happens if you leave an operational role.
On the other hand, if you want to increase your take-home pay before retiring, you could:
- Work extra hours at your current job
- Look for additional work outside of your current job (which may be subject to approval by your current employer), or
- Ask for a pay rise.
However, before taking any action to increase your take-home pay, it's important to consider:
- Talking to your employer about overtime options
- Checking your conditions of employment
- How much tax you will need to pay on any extra income
- The impact on your work/life balance.
Accessing your superannuation while working
If you'd like to reduce your work hours without decreasing your income, accessing your super while working could be an option. You may be able to access a transition to retirement pension such as our Working Income Stream to do this.
To access a Working Income Stream you need to:
- Have some or all of your super in an accumulation account (not a defined benefit), and
- Have reached your superannuation preservation age.
It's crucial to be aware that drawing on your superannuation while still working will mean having less money when you retire.
You can learn more about transitioning to retirement on the Government's Moneysmart website.
Permanent disability pension or lump sum benefits
A permanent disability benefit will be payable to qualifying members suffering from a disability (as defined) as follows:
- A permanent disability pension will be paid to operational members aged under 55 years or non-operational members aged under 60 years that qualify for a permanent disability benefit and satisfy the eligibility requirements, and
- A lump sum benefit will be paid to operational members aged 55 and over* and non-operational members aged 60 and over that qualify for a permanent disability benefit and satisfy the eligibility requirements.
Please note that operational members must terminate service before age 55 and non-operational members must terminate service before age 60 to qualify for the disability pension. If termination of service occurs at or after age 55 for operational members* and at or after age 60 for non-operational members a lump sum equal to the member's accrued benefit at date of termination is payable instead of the pension.
For a claim to be accepted, the member must be suffering from a disability as defined in the relevant Act. The benefit is payable from the first day after the member retires on disability grounds.