Active Employee Benefit Statement - LTD Contribution

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In reviewing my active employee's benefit statement, I see that the state is still contributing to my long term disability premium even though I am no longer eligible for this benefit because I'm eligible for normal retirement. Why?
Thanks for the question and for paying particular attention to your statement. You are absolutely correct that once you become eligible for normal retirement, you are no longer eligible for LTD. So it is reasonable that you would wonder why the LTD deduction is shown as an employer cost on your statement.  
The short answer is that it’s a function of how the state manages the premium for the pool of individuals covered by the plan.  It would make perfect sense that the state would stop deductions on those eligible for normal retirement and only make contributions for those not at that point.  Although a person’s normal retirement date is relatively straight-forward it is challenging to manage that from a statewide perspective, so rather than micromanage each individual employee, the decision was made to apply a reduced rate for the LTD benefit to recognize the fact that contributions are being made for some individuals that are no longer eligible.  
For example, the overall rate for LTD is .55% of payroll.  Rather than applying that rate for just the individuals that are eligible for the benefit, the state is allowed to contribute only .495% of payroll to account for the fact that contributions are made on all payroll, not just the payroll of those eligible for the benefit.  The latter percentage is adjusted if we find that amount is more or less than the required premium for the actual payroll covered in the plan.  While that methodology for handling the cost of the plan may be reasonable in retrospect, your question does illustrate how having the deduction on a benefit statement for someone eligible for normal retirement could be confusing or misleading.  Next year you can expect to see that deduction gone from your statement.
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Increasing SL and AL? Combining AL and SL?

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We've gotten two questions this week regarding Sick Leave and Annual Leave. Here are the two questions. Our response to both is the same.
Is there any talk of increasing our hours received after the cap of 14 hours a month for annual leave or to allow sick leave to increase at the same rate as annual leave? 
We have heard there is a bill out there that combines the sick leave and annual leave. They will be interchangeable.If it is true and it would happen to pass will that change the retirement formula?
We are not aware of any proposed legislation that would increase the number of annual leave hours employees are eligible to receive or that would allow sick leave to accrue at the same rate as annual leave. Nor are we aware of any proposed legislation that would combine annual leave with sick leave. Print Friendly and PDF

HB 1139 and BackDROP

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How would the employees retirement incentives, if enacted, effect an employee's backdrop? Can an employee receive the minimum two (or more) years of backdrop AND the incentive together? Or will one program negate the other?
As the bill is currently written there is no provision that would prevent an eligible person from retiring under the incentive and also taking a BackDROP.  You can follow the movement of HB 1139 through the legislative process by going to this link. We also have several posts on the topic on Rumor Central already. The most recent action on the bill was that it Third Read and passed out of the House on 3/1/12. As always, we would encourage you to contact one of our benefit counselors to discuss your own situation regarding retirement.

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Retirement Deadlines and Final Work Days

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Is it true that all state agencies require employees to retire the first day of the month? Second, is it true that all agencies require employees to physically report to work the last day of the month before retirement?
By law, all general employees must retire with MOSERS on the first day of the month. Your last physical day of work is between you and your employer. 
Your monthly benefit is calculated using a formula that takes into account the average of your highest 36 consecutive months of compensation, your years and months of credited service, including unused sick leave, and a multiplier established by the legislature. Any change in one of these figures will change your monthly benefit amount. 
For more information regarding deadlines for filing for retirement and benefits, please review our "General Employees' Retirement Handbook." Print Friendly and PDF

HB 1139 and the Temporary Benefit

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If HB 1139 passes, will employees who retire under the "80 and out" rule still be entitled to the supplement until they reach age 62. My wife and I attended a retirement seminar at MOSERS 3/20/12. The seminar was great, the lunch was fantastic but we forgot to ask the above question. By the way, how is "ED" the turkey? Can we bring our grandchildren to see "ED"?
Should HB 1139 become law, the temporary benefit would still be available to those who retired under the provisions of the incentive program. We’re glad you enjoyed the seminar. Don’t hesitate to meet individually with a benefit counselor should you have more questions as you approach retirement. Regarding “Ed,” we don’t encourage visitors, as the turkeys (yes, there are many!) are wild and can be quite aggressive at times.
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HB 1139 and the State's Budget

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I fail to see how the HB that will give the retirement benefit of possible up to $20,000.00 over a 5 year period will help with the state budget? I have been working for the State for over 22 years and new staff in my position make MUCH more then I do...
 The idea behind a retirement incentive is that any costs would be offset by 1) a reduction in the number of active employees, 2) lower pay levels for replacement employees and 3) a reduction in fringe benefits for replacement employees.  As the bill is currently written, there is a provision which limits the number of positions that may be refilled. There are other assumptions that went into determining the cost savings associated with the bill, such as the number of people who would be eligible to take the incentive, average salary, and estimated net effects on the state’s general revenue fund. You can read more about the assumptions used in determining the cost savings to the state on the bill’s fiscal note.


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HB 1139 - Colleges and Universities

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Are state university employees eligible for the house bill 1139 retirement incentive? Thanks
As the bill is currently written, eligibility for college and university employees is addressed by the following language:
“The governing boards of Truman State University, Lincoln University, the educational institutions described in section 174.020, the highway commission of the Missouri department of transportation and the Missouri state highway patrol, and the conservation commission of the department of conservation may elect to provide its employees or retirees who retire under this section the same benefits as described in this section and section 104.405.”
What this means is that it could be available but only if your university’s governing boards decides to do this.  The last action on the bill was on March 8, 2012, when it was second read and referred to the Senate Veterans Affairs, Pensions and Urban Affairs committee. You can follow the bill’s actions at this link.

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Death Before Retirement

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We had a question at work for MOSERS. If a State worker passed away prior to actual retiring from state service, would the workers spouse and/or the workers children recieve any of the state benefits.
Death Before Retirement (Non Duty-Related)
If you die with at least five years of credited service, a survivor benefit will be paid to your eligible spouse or child(ren). Although survivor benefit payments begin the first of the month following your date of death, they are not automatic. Each eligible benefit recipient must submit an Application for Survivor Benefits with the required proof-of-age and lawful presence documentation.
To be eligible, your surviving spouse must be married to you on your date of death. The monthly benefit for your spouse will be based on the benefit you have accrued as of your date of death and calculated according to the Joint & 100% Survivor Option. The survivor benefit will be payable for the remainder of your spouse’s life. If there is no eligible spouse (or the spouse’s benefit is no longer payable), a total of 80% of your monthly base benefit will be paid to your natural or legally adopted child(ren) who are younger than age 21. If there is more than one eligible child, the benefit will be divided equally among them. The survivor benefit for each child will stop when the child becomes age 21 (unless a child is totally disabled).
Death Before Retirement (Duty-Related)
If you die while actively employed and your death is determined to be duty-related, your eligible spouse or child(ren) will receive a survivor benefit equal to the non duty-related death before retirement benefit, but in no event will the benefit amount be less than 50% of your average monthly pay. In the event of a duty-related death, there is no minimum service requirement. Note: If you die prior to your retirement date, the Retirement Application and any subsequent elections (such as BackDROP) will become null and void.
You can read more about life events and your benefits in our handbooks, which can be found online.


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Joint & 50% and Joint & 100% Options at Retirement

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I am confused regarding the joint and 50% survivor rate. Does that mean my spouse receives 1/2 of my monthly annuity if I die? Likewise - for joint and 100% survivor does that mean he receives 100% of my lifetime monthly payments until he dies?
If you choose the Joint & 50% Survivor option at retirement, your retirement benefit will be reduced to provide a lifetime survivor benefit for your spouse and your eligible spouse will receive 50% of the benefit amount you are receiving at the time of your death (excluding any temporary benefit). If you choose the Joint & 100% Survivor option, your retirement benefit will be reduced to provide a lifetime survivor benefit for your spouse and your eligible spouse will receive 100% of the benefit amount you are receiving at the time of your death (excluding any temporary benefit).
As always, we recommend that you contact a MOSERS Benefits Counselor at your convenience to discuss your specific situation, so they can address any individual retirement questions you may have. One can be reached anytime during our regular business hours by calling 800.827.1063.

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Purchasing Service Credit

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What is there to gain from "buying service credit"?
By purchasing service credit (or acquiring it cost-free if applicable) and combining certain types of prior government work with your MOSERS service, you may be able to increase the amount of your retirement benefit, and in some cases, become eligible to retire at an earlier date.
You can read about purchasing service credit in our handbooks, and there is an Acquiring Service Credit brochure available on our website. There are also multiple postings on this topic on this blog.  Print Friendly and PDF

HB 1139 - Assigned to Senate Committee

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HB 1139 went to the Senate on 3/1/12 and on 3/8/12 was sent to a committee who has no members. Can you help me understand what is happening? Thank you
HB 1139 was assigned to the Senate’s Veterans Affairs, Emerging Issues, Pensions and Urban Affairs Committee.  The Missouri Senate web site lists the following members of this committee.  It has not been assigned a hearing date yet.
Veterans' Affairs, Emerging Issues,
Pensions and Urban Affairs Committee
MEMBERS:
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HB 1139

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Curious how a retiree could make House Bill No. 1139 work for themselves, but have the possible option of retiring prior to the December 1, 2012 date.
In order for you to take advantage of the incentive proposed in HB1139 – should it pass – you would have to delay your retirement until on or after January 1, 2013, but no later than March 1, 2013, as is currently stipulated in the bill language. Keep in mind that this bill has not passed, and could change as it makes its way through the legislative process. You can follow the action of the bill at this link     .
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Health Insurance and Retirement Rumor

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We have heard rumor that the state may try to buy out our insurance when we retire. Is there any truth in it?
The original version of HB1139 had section 103.152 in it, which gave an extra incentive for people who did not participate in the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan. The perfected version does not include that provision. You can follow the bill's actions on the Missouri Legislature's joint bill tracking page on their website. Print Friendly and PDF

HB 1139

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Will there be a option to retire in FY2013 and receive health insurance at the employed rate instead of retirement rate pending? Like they offered many years ago. My husband is eligible to retire in FY2013 and wondering if this was a possibility or just a rumor. 
We're assuming you are referring to HB1139, legislation which has not passed. IF this legislation passed, as it is currently written, it would provide a retirement incentive benefit of $1,000 for each year of creditable service, to anyone who is eligible for normal retirement and who terminates employment on or after December 1, 2012. A person eligible under this bill would have to retire on or after January 1, 2013, but no later than March 1, 2013, to be eligible to receive the “years of service incentive benefit.”
HB1139, as it is currently written, does not include language regarding health care premiums. You can read other posts about HB1139 on our Rumor Central blog. This house bill was just first read in the Senate on March 1, 2012. You can follow the bill’s actions at this link.

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Purchase of Military Time / Death Prior to Retirement

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If a person purchases military time and then passes away before drawing any retirement and there is no spouse/children eligible for a survivor benefit what happens to the money spent for the purchase? Is it refunded to the estate or just lost like the retirement that was earned?
If a member is in the process of purchasing prior military service, but passes away prior to the completion of the purchase, the money that has been spent to purchase military time is refunded back to the member's beneficiary/estate. If the purchase is complete and you pass away prior to retirement, the amount you paid for the purchase will be refunded in the pecking order established by Section 104.620.3 RSMo. Print Friendly and PDF