HELPS program

Are you taking advantage of a special tax benefit just for retired first responders? The benefit is part of the Healthcare Enhancement for Local Public Safety Officers (HELPS) Act of 2006.

Here’s how it works. If you’re currently using your pension funds for health care expenses, the HELPS Act allows you to deduct up to $3,000 annually from your pension funds on a pretax basis. That may reduce the amount you pay in taxes. Check with your tax professional to see what the impact could be for you.

There are a few basic guidelines to understand about the HELPS Act:

  • The funds can cover you as the retiree and your spouse or dependents.
  • You must have the deduction go directly from your pension fund to to an insurance provider such as Aetna.
  • Eligible retirement plans include a qualified trust, a section 403(a) plan, a section 403(b) annuity or a section 457(b) plan.

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