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If a SERS disability benefit recipient dies while receiving a monthly disability benefit, their qualified survivors are entitled to certain benefits.   [Read More...]

A beneficiary qualifies in the following order:

  1. Person designated by the disability benefit recipient while the disability benefit recipient was still living;
  2. If there is no designated beneficiary or the beneficiary died before the disability benefit recipient, the surviving spouse;
  3. Surviving children;
  4. Dependent parent who is age 65 or older;
  5. Surviving parents; or
  6. The disability benefit recipient’s estate.

The first qualifying beneficiary is entitled to a one-time lump-sum payment of only the disability benefit recipient’s contributions to SERS, or monthly benefits if otherwise eligible.  However, if the deceased disability benefit recipient is survived by children under age 18 or 22 if still in school, or mentally or physically incompetent children, only a monthly benefit is available to the qualifying survivors.

Monthly benefit payments are available if the disability benefit recipient:

  1. Had at least one and one-half (1½)  years of contributing service credit;
  2. Had at least one-quarter (¼) year of Ohio service credit earned within two and one-half (2½) years prior to the disability benefit recipient’s death; and
  3. Was not receiving a regular retirement benefit.

The following survivors are eligible for monthly benefits:

  1. Surviving spouse at age 62;
  2. Surviving spouse at any age if the disability benefit recipient had 10 or more years of service credit; or if there are qualified children; or has been adjudged mentally or physically incompetent;
  3. Children who have never married, are under 18, or 22 if still in school; or have been adjudged mentally or physically incompetent;
  4. Dependent parent age 65 or older.

Monthly benefits end for the specific beneficiary if any of the above conditions for that beneficiary are no longer met.

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Once SERS receives notice of a disability benefit recipient’s death information, forms and instructions will be sent to the qualified beneficiary.   [Read More...]

It is important that SERS be notified as soon as possible of a disability benefit recipient’s death.  This will assist in efficient processing of any benefit payments.

 

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A lump sum amount based on the contributions of the deceased disability recipient is available only if SERS paid a total amount to the recipient less the accumulated contributions the recipient paid into SERS while working. In this case the difference between the two amounts will be the lump sum payment.   [Read More...]

If the recipient received more in benefits than the recipient contributed, there will be no lump sum available.

The amount of the monthly benefit will be determined on the number of qualified beneficiaries under one of the following schedules, whichever pays the greater benefit.

If the deceased disability benefit recipient was eligible for service retirement at the time of death, a surviving spouse or other sole surviving dependent, would receive a benefit amount calculated as if the disability benefit recipient had retired and selected a Plan D [link] payment plan.

A survivor may purchase any service credit the disability benefit recipient was eligible to purchase.  Any purchase must be made before a benefit can be received.

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A monthly benefit is paid in advance on the first of the month. A paper benefit check is mailed by the next to last business day of each month in order to arrive at the recipient’s home by the first of each month.   [Read More...]

Benefit amounts  deposited to a bank or financial institution will be in the account on the first of the month unless the first is a holiday; the benefit will then be deposited by the preceding business day except for January 1 when the benefit will be available the next business day. 

SERS sends only a quarterly statement to a benefit recipient detailing the current gross monthly, and year-to-date, benefits and deductions, regardless of whether the benefit is paid by paper check or deposited directly to a bank.

The safest and most efficient way to receive a benefit is by having it directly deposited in a bank account.  SERS strongly encourages direct deposit of payments to a bank or other financial institution.  This avoids delayed, lost or stolen checks. 

Checks will not be forwarded by the U.S. Postal Service.

Late, Stolen, Lost or Damaged Checks

If a paper benefit check which is mailed does not arrive by the tenth business day of the month, notify SERS in writing with your name, address, Social Security number, and sign the letter.  Send your letter to SERS, Attn. Retiree Accounting Specialist, and 300 East Broad Street, Suite 100, Columbus, Ohio 43215. 

If the check was lost or stolen and not cashed, SERS will place a stop payment on the original check and issue a duplicate.  If the check was lost or stolen and cashed, SERS will only issue a duplicate check if it is determined the original check was fraudulently cashed.

If a check arrives severely damaged so that the bank will not process it, write “void” on the face of the check and return it to SERS with a letter as described above; SERS will issue a duplicate check.

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When corresponding with SERS be sure and provide your full name and Social Security number. It is important to keep SERS informed of changes to your address.   [Read More...]

This is important to assure paper benefit checks are sent to you timely.  Even if your benefit amount is being directly deposited, SERS sends newsletters, other mailings and benefit pay stubs to your home.

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Beginning on the first anniversary of your effective benefit date, you will be eligible to receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of three percent (3%).   [Read More...]

This increase is on the base amount only and is added to the monthly benefit each year on the anniversary of the effective benefit date.

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A portion of a monthly benefit is subject to federal and state income tax. When the benefit is calculated, SERS determines the amount that is taxable and the amount that is non-taxable. SERS will send you this information.   [Read More...]

By January 31 of each year SERS sends you a tax form (IRS Form 1099-R) for the previous calendar year which provides information on the benefit  amounts paid for the year, the amount of taxes withheld and other tax information.  With the Form 1099-R SERS sends an Income Tax Information pamphlet explaining the form and providing other detailed federal and state tax information. 

Federal Income Tax

SERS is required to withhold federal income tax from a monthly benefit amount unless you elect in writing not to have any withholding.  You need to complete and file an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-4P with SERS to instruct the retirement system on whether income tax should be withheld.  If you do not file this form SERS withholds as if you had filed married with three withholding allowances.  You can change your withholding at any time by filing a new Form W-4P.

State Income Tax

Your SERS benefit amount may be subject to state and/or local taxes.  You should consult the appropriate tax department in the area you live to determine your obligations.  For residents of Ohio, the SERS benefit amount is subject to state income taxes. 

SERS is not required to withhold amounts for state or local taxes.  For Ohio residents only SERS will withhold an amount for Ohio state income taxes if you complete and return a form  indicating the specific amount you wish to have withheld.  This amount can be changed at any time by requesting a new form from SERS.

You should consult a tax advisor, the IRS, or state or local tax departments for advice on any specific tax questions.  SERS cannot provide individual tax advice.

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A $1,000 lump-sum death benefit will be paid to your designated beneficiary upon your death. If you have multiple beneficiaries, this will be distributed equally among them. By law, if you do not designate a beneficiary, statutory succession will apply. Please see page 34. Payment will be made only upon receipt of a death certificate and evidence of qualification, as required by SERS.

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If the beneficiary designated by you at retirement dies first, you should select a new beneficiary. You must designate a new beneficiary in writing on a form provided by SERS. Contact our office for this form.

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