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Direct deposit is required for all SERS retirees. Direct deposit of your funds is the only way to assure that your payment will be available on the first of every month.

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You may be eligible to receive an Estimated Monthly Payment that will be deposited into your bank account on your effective retirement date. If you are not eligible for an Estimated Monthly Payment, your first payment can take 45 to 60 days after your retirement effective date. After your initial payment, all payments will be available on the first of every month, with the exception of the January payment. The January payment will be in your account on the first business day following Jan. 1.

All retirees receive a quarterly Focus publication, which will include a quarterly statement detailing your current gross monthly pension and deductions, and these amounts for the year-to-date. You also will receive a statement if there are any changes to your monthly payment amount, such as when you receive a cost-of-living increase.

 

Monthly Benefit Payments Direct Deposit Dates
January 01/03/17
February 02/01/17
March* 03/01/17
April 03/31/17
May 05/01/17
June* 06/01/17
July 06/30/17
August 08/01/17
September* 09/01/17
October 09/29/17
November 11/01/17
December* 12/01/17

 

 

*Direct deposit notice or check stub will be mailed to all benefit recipients during these months; you also will receive a notice or check stub any time your monthly amount changes.

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You cannot make changes to Plan E after you have started to receive your retirement allowance.

Under certain circumstances, which may occur after you start to receive your retirement allowance, you may change a plan or beneficiaries for the other plans as detailed below.

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Death of a beneficiary

If you choose Plan A, C or D and your beneficiary dies before you do, then your benefit may be changed to a Plan B (Single Life Allowance) with an adjustment in your benefit.

If you choose Plan F and a beneficiary dies before you do, your benefit will be adjusted on the basis of the remaining beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Divorce, annulment, or marriage dissolution after retirement

If you are married at retirement, select a joint life plan with your spouse as a beneficiary, and then the marriage is terminated after retirement, your plan may be adjusted only if your ex-spouse gives written consent or by order of the court.

If you choose plans A, C, or D, your plan may be adjusted to Plan B. If you choose Plan F and your marriage is terminated after retirement, your benefit will be adjusted on the basis of the remaining beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Marriage after retirement

If you are single at retirement, select Plan B, and then marry after retirement, you can select a new plan providing for your new spouse. Or, if you were married at retirement, but later divorced and were able to select Plan B, and then remarried, you can select a new plan providing for your new spouse.

The plan can be Plan A, C, D, or F.  You must make this change within one year of the marriage.

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Under current law, you will receive a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) increase of 3% of your base pension amount every year on the anniversary date of your retirement.

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All SERS pension increases should be reported to Social Security if you are receiving Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s Social Security earnings.

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When you write to SERS, please make sure to give your full name and the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Also, make sure you advise SERS of any change in address. Even if SERS deposits your check directly into your bank account, we still need your current home address.

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You also must notify us when circumstances change, such as the death of a spouse if the spouse was covered by our health plan or if you chose a Joint Life plan of payment.

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In some instances, such as a hospital or nursing home stay, a retiree may not be able to cash the monthly check. Again, in such instances, direct deposit is safe and convenient. At times like these, many persons find it helpful to have a trusted friend or relative act on their behalf and handle pressing financial matters. If you, as a retiree, want someone other than yourself to handle your SERS retirement, you must provide SERS with either a General or a Limited Power of Attorney form.

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This is necessary because, in addition to the retiree, SERS’ pension checks may only be cashed by authorized individuals. In order for another person to have authority to handle a SERS pension, the retiree must grant Power of Attorney to someone, or a probate court must appoint a guardian for the retiree.

A Limited Power of Attorney form is available upon request from SERS. The filing of a Limited Power of Attorney form will also allow the designated person to change the address to the location where the payment is being sent.

Guardianship

A guardian might need to be appointed by a probate court when a retiree becomes unable to handle financial matters.

A copy of the appointment of the guardian must be filed with SERS. This information is necessary so that we know how to prepare future payments and where to send them.

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SERS’ disability program provides an allowance for members that became disabled while working. This allowance was designed to last for a period of time and once the period of time expires, the member can apply for an annual allowance called a conversion retirement. If the disability allowance is terminated prior to the expiration of the benefit period, the member cannot apply for a conversion retirement.

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The conversion retirement allowance might be less than the disability allowance, and will be less if a joint survivor plan of payment is chosen. To be eligible for health care coverage under a conversion retirement, you must have at least 10 years of qualified service credit. Your qualified service credit includes the years you received a disability allowance. 

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A disability benefit under either plan stops:

  • If you return to a SERS-covered job. You must file annual earnings reports and employment information with SERS. If you return to a non-SERS covered position, you may be required to be re-examined by a SERS-appointed physician.
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  • If a subsequent SERS medical re-examination finds that you are no longer disabled. You may be required to have an annual re-examination. If the Retirement Board concurs in the recommendation to terminate the benefit, your benefit ends within three months of the Board’s determination. If you received disability benefits for less than three years, unless in treatment or vocational rehabilitation, SERS notifies your last employer before you became disabled, and the employer should restore you to your previous position and salary or a similar position and salary, unless you were dismissed or resigned in lieu of dismissal for dishonesty, misfeasance, malfeasance, or conviction of a felony. If you return to employment covered by SERS, STRS, or OPERS, and contribute for two years, you may receive up to two years of disability credit for the time you received disability benefits. You may purchase any time over two years.
     
  • Upon your death. If you die while receiving disability benefits, your qualified beneficiaries are entitled to survivor benefits. In addition, the beneficiary will receive a $1,000 lump sum death benefit. If you have designated multiple beneficiaries, the death benefit is divided equally among them.
     
  • If you request that benefits end.
     
  • Automatically, under the new disability plan. Benefits will end after a specified age OR number of months as shown in the following table:
Age at Effective Date Period Benefits Payable
Younger than 60 Until age 65
60 or 61 60 months
62 or 63 48 months
64 or 65 36 months
66,67 or 68 24 months
69 or older 12 months

At end of the period, you can apply for a conversion retirement benefit. To be eligible for health care coverage under conversion retirement, you must have at least 10 years of qualified service credit. Your qualified service credit includes the years you received a disability allowance. 

 

OBTAINING SERVICE CREDIT FOR PERIOD OF DISABILITY

After termination of disability benefits, in order to receive service credit for time while receiving disability, you must return to employment covered by SERS, STRS, or OPERS, and contribute for two years. You may receive up to two years of disability credit for the time you received disability benefits, and purchase any time over two years.

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