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(6/30/15) - Are you planning to retire in another 10 to 15 years? Have you considered your retirement needs and how to achieve them? It is never too early to begin planning.

Considering joining us for a PREP seminar. We’ll cover a full range of topics including: retirement eligibility, service credit, Social Security’s Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision penalties, and financial planning. Ohio Deferred Compensation will also be there to show you how to invest for a more secure financial future.

The half-day program is free of charge. Space is limited and advanced registration is required, so be sure to register early. For full details on the seminar dates and locations, visit: http://www.ohsers.org/seminars-and-conferences-1.

Note: The Cuyahoga Falls seminar is sold out; tickets are still available for the seminar in nearby Beachwood.

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(6/26/15) - The fiscal health of public pension plans nationwide improved last year, according to a recent analysis from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

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Following a strong market performance in 2014, a study of 150 plans showed an average increased funded status of 74%, compared to 72% in 2013.

Future public pension plan funding will be dependent on stock market performance, but researchers expect funding to continue to increase, should most plans achieve their expected returns.

Read the full analysis here.

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Monthly Benefit Payments Direct Deposit Dates
July 07/01/2015
August 07/31/2015
September* 09/01/2015
October 10/01/2015
November 10/30/2015
December* 12/01/2015

*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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(6/24/15) - Starting today, employers are able to access their proportionate share data, as required by Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 68, on SERS’ website.

As a reminder, GASB now requires employers to report their proportionate share of SERS’ net pension liability on their financial statements for fiscal years ending after June 15, 2014. The proportionate share is a percentage of each employer’s required contribution for the year compared to all employers’ contributions.

For many employers, the net pension liability will be much larger than other liabilities on their financial statements; however, they are not responsible for paying them. In Ohio, once employers pay their 14% employer contribution, their pension funding obligation has been fulfilled. SERS is solely responsible for paying off the system’s net pension liabilities.

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Employers with questions regarding their proportionate share should contact SERS at (614) 340-1823 or SERSGASBreports@ohsers.org.

To view the proportionate share of net pension liability for each school district, vocational and technical school, community school, and community college in the state of Ohio, and The University of Akron, click here.

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(6/3/15) - The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office warns of a recent telemarketing scam.

Callers claim to represent the Franklin County Clerk of Courts. Intended victims are told they owe money for not showing up to jury duty, then are instructed to load the money on a prepaid debit card.

Sheriff Zach Scott assures citizens that no one from the Clerk of Courts office would contact them to demand money.

If you receive one of these calls, please contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at (614) 525-3333.

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(5/12/15) - The retirement savings crisis is becoming a major concern. You may recall from some of our previous stories that 40% of Baby Boomers and at least 45% of working-age households do not have any retirement savings.

But few realize that the retirement savings crisis is generally much worse for women.

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Why is this? According to Sallie Krawcheck of The Washington Post, women retire with two-thirds the savings of men, live six to eight years longer, and have higher medical costs. In addition, nearly 80% of women are single during the final years of their lives.

By closing the gender pay gap and increasing the economic engagement of women, it is estimated that the GDP would increase by approximately 9% and the Social Security savings gap would decrease by nearly a third.

Krawcheck recommends improvements at both workplace and public policy levels to help resolve the crisis.

Read more here.

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(5/4/15) - Thank you to the more than 15,000 school bus drivers and all transportation staff who help keep Ohio’s children safe every day.

 

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(4/29/15) - Thank you, Congresswoman Beatty, for co-sponsoring H.R. 711, or the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act.

Rep. Beatty (D-OH-3) joins 17 other legislators in supporting a repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), including Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH-15).

If you have not already done so, we urge you to ask your congressional representative to co-sponsor the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act by sending a message through our Legislative Action Center tool. To date, you have sent over 3,100 messages requesting support of this important bill.

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(4/22/15) - Will longer life expectancies impact the funding levels of state and local pension funds? The answer is no, according to a recent brief from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence.

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The key findings of the brief, “How Will Longer Lifespans Affect State and Local Pension Funding?” are:

1.    If public pension plans adopt the new mortality tables designed for private sector plans, estimated life expectancy would increase by only 0.5 years and the funded ratio would be reduced from 73% to 72%.

2.    If public pension plans were required to adopt a stricter standard to fully incorporate expected future mortality improvements, estimated life expectancy would increase by 2.3 years and the funded ratio would be reduced to 67%.

Not even private sector plans are considering such low mortality rates as illustrated by the second standard.

Researchers concluded that longer life expectancies are not a serious problem among public plans. In fact, the brief found public plans “seem to be making a serious effort to keep their life expectancy assumptions up-to-date.”

In 2012, SERS developed a pension reform plan to address these concerns, which was later signed into law. The changes to age and service requirements will be implemented on August 1, 2017.

These modifications will help keep the system financially sound long into the future and protect the benefits of SERS’ retirees.

The full brief is available here.

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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. 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.

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

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