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(7/28/17) - Last month, we initiated a Call to Action regarding the “Better Care Reconciliation Act,” later the “skinny repeal” bill.

Earlier today, the Senate voted against the smaller repeal bill by a vote of 51-49.

More than 3,000 SERS members, retirees, and advocates responded by contacting their U.S. Senators in 19 states. To all who responded to our Call to Action: Thank you. Your calls and emails made a difference.

The work is not over. Several senators have voiced support for a short-term fix while the health care discussion continues, as have several House members.

In the meantime, the current health care law is still in place. SERS will continue advocate for access to affordable health care coverage.

Until further notice, SERS will be able to offer the Wraparound Program that commenced in January 2017, the state of Ohio’s Medicaid expansion program will continue, and efforts to provide premium relief and choices in the marketplace will begin.

We will keep you informed of new developments.

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(7/26/17) - The August 1, 2017 pension reform date is quickly approaching. If you do not have 25 years of service credit as of August 1, 2017, and retire after that date, you will be subject to the pension reform law that went into effect January 7, 2013. 

If you plan to retire effective August 1, 2017 under the current age and service requirements, the completed application and all required documents must be in our office by July 31.

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Required documents include:

  • Copies of birth certificates for:
    • Yourself
    • Your spouse (for Joint Survivor Plans A, C, D, or F)
    • Your non-spouse beneficiary (for Joint Survivor Plans C, D, or F)
    • Your spouse and dependents covered by SERS' health care
  • Copy of your marriage certificate, if you are married
  • Direct Deposit Form
  • Health Care Application
  • Partial Lump Sum Application
  • Spousal Consent Form
  • Copy of your and your spouse's Medicare Card

Be aware of these common mistakes that would make the application incomplete:

  • The application was not signed.
  • SERS received a copy of the marriage license instead of the marriage certificate. You can contact the probate court in the county in which you were married to request a copy of the marriage certificate. 
  • An effective date was not included on application.
  • A beneficiary was not named when selecting a plan of payment.
  • The required spousal consent form was not completed and returned, and payment plans B, C, D, E, or F were selected.

If you are considering the buy-up option, you need to contact us immediately for an official cost. The payment for buy-up must be received by 4:30 p.m. on August 1, 2017. Remember, the buy-up option is not the same as a service credit purchase. A buy-up only allows you to retire under the current age and service credit eligibility requirements.

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(7/26/17) - The U.S. Senate has voted to begin debate on legislation that seeks to change important provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These changes would impact many SERS members and retirees. 

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SERS is urging members and retirees to contact their U.S. Senators and ask them to oppose legislative efforts which:

  1. Reduces Medicaid by capping or reducing the Medicaid subsidies to states because it will hurt people who need affordable health care the most. Medicaid is essential to older Ohioans in nursing homes, families whose loved ones are struggling with opioid addiction and low income retirees.
  2. Cuts taxes on high income workers because it will result in less money being paid into Medicare. The solvency of Medicare is essential. Ending these taxes that support Medicare will place more financial burdens on seniors who are over 65 and can no longer work. 
  3. Raises premiums and cost sharing for people between the ages of 50 and 64 because it will cause many to make a choice between paying for health care and buying other necessities like groceries.
  4. Separate people with pre-existing conditions from the same insurance pool as younger, healthier people because it will make it more difficult for them to find affordable coverage. People with pre-existing conditions should not be treated differently because of their previous illnesses.
Votes on the legislation are expected to occur soon. It is urgent that you contact your Senators and ask them to vote NO on the proposed changes to the ACA. You can do this from the Legislative Action Center on the front page of the SERS website.
 
We will keep you informed of any updates.
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The pay date for August is 08/01/2017.

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Monthly Benefit Payments Direct Deposit Dates
August 08/01/2017
September* 09/01/2017
October 09/29/2017
November 11/01/2017
December* 12/01/2017

*Direct deposit notice or check stub will be mailed to all benefit recipients.

You will receive a check stub whenever there is a change to your benefit, such as health care premium change, a tax withholding change, or a bank account change.

SERS strongly encourages all retirees to have their pension payments paid directly to a bank or credit union. Direct deposit of your funds is the only way to assure that your payment will be available on the first of every month. Direct deposit eliminates any concerns about late, lost, or stolen checks. Since pension checks cannot be forwarded, direct deposit also eliminates delays when you travel during retirement. It is your responsibility to make sure the funds are in your account before writing checks against your account.

If you do not enroll in direct deposit, there is no guarantee that you will receive your payment right on the first of every month. Delivery delays might occur that are beyond SERS’ control, such as lost or stolen checks. You must wait 10 days after the expected delivery date before SERS can begin the process of stopping payment and issuing a new check. This delay will not occur if you have direct deposit.

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(7/24/17) - A Special Election is being held to fill a vacant employee-member Board seat due to the resignation of a Board member. For a Special Election, candidates are nominated by the Board members, and the successor member is chosen by a Board vote. All SERS members, other than disability recipients, are eligible to apply for this open employee-member seat.

Interested candidates should send a resume addressed to the SERS Board of Trustees, 300 E. Broad St., Suite 100, Columbus, OH, 43215-3746 or by email to SERSBoardofTrustees@ohsers.org by August 31, 2017.

Candidates also must submit a completed Certification Form, which can be downloaded from the SERS website. The completed form must be received by our office no later than August 31, 2017.

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The term for this Board seat runs through June 30, 2019. Click here to see the full Special Election timeline.

If you have questions about this Special Election, please contact Tim Barbour, External Communications Supervisor, by phone at 614-222-5901 or by email at tbarbour@ohsers.org.

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If you previously had an online account to access the old version of Member Account Login, you will need to create a NEW user profile to access your personal SERS account information in the new Member Account Login.

The upgraded Member Account Login includes additional functionality, as well as enhanced security features to keep your information safe.

 

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(7/3/2017) - On June 30, 2017, Governor John Kasich signed HB 49, which included the changes approved by the SERS Board that modify the structure and method for making Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs). The changes to the COLA had been in SB 151 and HB 242 but were consolidated and added into the state’s budget bill.

This legislation will allow SERS to address immediate financial challenges and long-term funding goals. Over the next few months, the Board will finalize a COLA implementation plan for 2018, 2019, and 2020. The three-year plan will be reviewed annually to make sure it adequately addresses SERS’ financial goals.

There may be some additional clarification of the Board’s authority in subsequent legislation.

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(6/14/17) - For the 32nd consecutive year, SERS has received the Certificate of Achievement for Financial Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

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The GFOA awards the certificate to government entities whose annual financial reports are judged to adhere to program standards. It represents the highest award in government financial reporting.

SERS received the award for its FY2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

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(6/12/17) - This story was orginally posted on 12/20/16. 

Ohio has one of the best public pension structures in the U.S. Our framework provides reliable and consistent funding to the pension systems for the retirement security of public employees, and protects taxpayers from having to increase pension funding during poor economic times. Ohio also has a formal and independent legislative oversight entity, the Ohio Retirement Study Council, to make sure the pension systems manage assets in the best interests of its public employees.

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Unfortunately, some national studies, like the one the Mercatus Center released on December 13, fail to acknowledge these advantages and use unrealistic assumptions to make the case for a switch from defined benefit pensions to 401(k) plans. Here’s where their methodology fails:

1.  The authors of the study define Ohio’s public pension systems as “severely underfunded.”

According to our actuary, this is absolutely untrue. While SERS is not 100% funded (meaning we have all the assets we need to pay off every benefit earned as of today) we have enough reliable and consistent income to pay off all liabilities over the next 28 years. Not all pension liabilities come due at one time; they come due gradually over time.

2.  They make dire predictions about the solvency of Ohio’s plans based on the assumption that the plans will receive no future employee and employer contributions.

This is unrealistic because our employee and employer contributions are defined by state law and they have always been consistently received.

3.   They use a 2% investment return to calculate future investment earnings on current assets.

This is extremely low considering the 32-year history of investment returns for SERS is nearly 9% annually. While it’s possible that investment returns may be lower in the next few years, 2% over an extended period is improbable.

Ohio’s pension systems constantly undergo close scrutiny by independent auditors and actuaries. At SERS, we have always met or exceeded the state’s standards for pension funding and we take seriously our fiduciary duty to make sure the pension fund remains financially sound.

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Contact Congress Regarding Important Issues Affecting SERS Retirees

Contacting your legislators is easy using SERS' Legislative Action Alert. By entering your ZIP code, you’ll have access to the contact information (e-mail address, phone number, and mailing address) of your federal legislators.

OPPOSE PROPOSED ACA CHANGES

We urge SERS members and retirees to contact their U.S. Senators and ask them to oppose this legislation, which could impact SERS members and retirees.

Encourage your U.S. Senators to oppose the proposed ACA changes.

 

OPPOSE SOCIAL SECURITY OFFSET AND WINDFALL PENALTIES

We encourage SERS members and retirees to contact their members of Congress to ask them to support elimination of these provisions.

Encourage your legislator to support the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act.

COLA Changes: What You Need to Know

Click here to read about the proposed changes to the Cost-of-Living Adjustment.

Click here for a chart that compares SERS' proposed COLA changes to the COLAs of other Ohio public retirement systems. This document also contains a breakdown of percentage changes in the Consumer Price Index over the past 15 years.

Click here for a detailed statement from SERS' actuary.

Monthly Administrative Expense Reports

The Monthly Administrative Expense Reports contain information about SERS' day-to-day operating expenses and is provided in both summary and detail formats.

Click here to view these administrative expense reports.

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