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Our team of professionals will be there to assist you in bringing this exceptional benefit to you and your members.

About Us


The CFBT is a firefighter-designed and led ERISA governed plan established in 2005 to provide participants tax-free reimbursement of medical expenses during retirement. Your Association can set the amount of employer and/or employee-funded pre-tax contribution.
The Trust is also able to accept accrued vacation and/or sick leave transfers on a pretax basis. Upon retirement, eligible participants receive tax-free monthly reimbursement for a wide range of covered medical expenses, including health, dental and vision insurance premiums and qualified deductibles, copays, and other direct or out of pocket medical costs.
CFBT is a not-for-profit firefighter-only plan open to all represented groups throughout California and surrounding states. Through your Association’s participation in the CFBT, all members will be proactively planning for a highly tax-advantaged approach to the inevitable retiree health care costs all firefighters will face.
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Plan Design &
Benefit Information

The California Firefighters Benefit Trust (CFBT) was established in 2005 by firefighters as a way to proactively plan for the inevitable costs of retiree healthcare. CFBT is a Retiree Medical Trust (RMT), also referred to as Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP) allowing firefighter bargaining groups the ability to save in a highly tax-favored way. All CFBT contributions, earnings, and benefits are tax-exempt for the reimbursement of qualified medical expenses for the firefighter participant, spouse, and eligible dependents. Qualified expenses are defined in IRC 213(d) and include premiums for health, dental, vision, and long-term care insurance as well as deductibles, copays, RX and associated costs.

CFBT’s tax-exempt status offers a superior alternative to 457(b) or 401(k) tax-deferred plans when used for retiree healthcare expenses.

Career firefighters often retire earlier than most and prior to Medicare eligibility. They’ll have a longer time horizon of needing to fund and provide healthcare coverage. Firefighter Locals, representing thousands of professional firefighters, have joined CFBT to meet this challenge head-on!

The CFBT “Plan” design consists of two components:

Pooled Account

The Pooled Account is the backbone of the Plan. It’s designed to provide a lifetime* stream of benefits. This account is funded through recurring employee and/or employer payroll deductions as per your MOU. Contribution levels are set and may be adjusted by each Local. Once a firefighter separates service and meets eligibility rules, benefits commence. Benefit levels vary by participant depending on cumulative contributions to the plan. An actuarial analysis of the Pooled Account is completed periodically to review, validate, and adjust benefit levels. Spousal and child survivor benefits continue following the passing of the firefighter participant.

There’s no “Use it or lose it” with CFBT benefits. At the end of each plan year, any unused Pooled Account benefit will rollover to an Individual Employee Account. This is an important feature for the firefighter retiree who’d rather defer and accumulate CFBT payments due to a working spouse providing benefits.

Individual Employee Account

The Individual Employee Accounts are an optional part of the CFBT plan design but are an exceptional enhancement to the Pooled Account. These accounts are funded through the transfer of accrued leave dollars and other collectively bargained lump-sum contributions during active service and/or at separation. The tax-exempt transfers of sick and/or vacation leave must be stipulated in the MOU and mandatory for all employees. Similar to a Retiree Health Savings Account (RHSA), participants may withdraw funds in any increments up to the entire account balance for the reimbursement of qualified medical expenses. Surviving spouses and eligible dependents may continue to access the funds in the Individual Employee Account following the death of the firefighter participant.

CFBT participants have the option to transfer funds from their Individual Employee Account to the Pooled Account as a means of “annuitizing” these assets into lifetime income.

Collecting benefits is easy! Retirees simply submit documentation of covered expenses and receive reimbursement via direct deposit or mailed check.

* This is presented as information only and is not a guarantee of benefits. See official Summary Plan Description (SPD) and other plan documents for current binding plan information. The Trustees reserve the right to modify the plan as needed to maintain financial sustainability.


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Trust Advisors

For more than 70 years, BPA has been entrusted with the administration of benefits plans for American workers through single or multi-employer trust funds. We administer funds of all sizes, with the expertise to serve larger entities as well as the high-touch interactivity that smaller funds require.
The Wagner Law Group is focused on assisting employee associations and public employers to find resolutions to the problem of rising health care costs. The Firm’s attorneys have also represented numerous group health plans established by trade associations, as well as Taft-Hartley funds, for nearly 30 years. We administer funds of all sizes, with the expertise to serve larger entities as well as the high-touch interactivity that smaller funds require.
Payden & Rygel offers a full array of investment strategies and products, including equity, fixed-income and balanced portfolios as well as open-end mutual funds and offshore funds, to a varied client base around the world. Their mission is providing customized investment management services that focus on each client’s specific needs and objectives. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, they have long maintained an international presence. The firm has office locations around the globe, in London, Frankfurt, Dublin, Tokyo and Phoenix, and over 350 client relationships worldwide.
About Us

The Board
of Trustees

Brandon Lucore

Chair, FFA