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Are you enrolled in a SERS health care plan? Want to know more about changes to the program, as well as premiums, for 2018? Join us for a webinar.

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Online registration is required. You will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the webinar.
 
 
 Thursday, October 26, 2017 from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Register
 Tuesday, November 14, 2017 from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Register
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(10/18/17) - A newly discovered Wi-Fi vulnerability, called a Key Reinstallation Attack (KRACK), may be putting your wireless devices and data at risk.

The flaw was discovered in the WPA2 protocol, which many rely on to secure their Wi-Fi routers.The vulnerability allows attackers to capture messages traveling between a Wi-Fi router and your phone, tablet, or other wireless devices. 

While manufacturers work on deploying patches for this issue, following good security practices is the best safeguard for protecting your devices against this attack.

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Good practices using Wi-Fi devices:

  • Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi networks when possible. These are any open networks that do not require a password to join.
  • If possible, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when connecting to an unsecured wireless network. VPN services are offered as an online service or can be configured on some home routers.
  • Check websites for encryption when browsing. This is often indicated by a closed padlock icon in the address bar of the browser or by a URL that begins with https:// instead of http://. These websites are more secure and are not affected by this vulnerability.
  • Keep your device up to date with the latest manufacturer software patches.
  • Manually select Wi-Fi networks instead of allowing your device to automatically join. This adds an additional step before using a wireless network but ensures you know when your device connects and to what networks.
  • Turn off your device's Wi-Fi antenna when not in use. 
  • Utilize two-factor authentication where possible. This provides an extra level of security in case someone is able to capture your password. 
  • Log out of websites or apps when finished. This is especially important for banking and other financial websites.

Good practices for setting up a Wi-Fi router:

  • Secure the router with a password using WPA2. While the recent vulnerability impacts WPA2, this is still the strongest protocol available on most home routers.
  • Limit access to the router to the specific hardware ID (or MAC) of each of the wireless devices in your home. This typically involves logging into the router's management page and adding the MAC addresses (usually found on a sticker on the device or in the device settings) to a list of approved devices. Devices not on the list will be prevented from even attempting to connect.
  • Change the default password for administering the router. Factory default passwords are widely available and allow an attacker to easily compromise your device.
  • When possible, limit administration of the router to physical network connections. This means you will need a device with an Ethernet connection to the router in order to manage the settings.
  • Turn off remote management of the router if possible. Many newer models allow management of the router from outside of the home network, which provides an additional opportunity for attackers.
  • Set the router to automatically install updates. If this is not possible, log into the management page of the router on a regular basis to check for updates.
  • If the router supports a guest network, configure this for use by friends and family who visit your home. The guest network is typically isolated from the other devices in your home and saves the hassle of adding MAC addresses for devices that are not usually in your home.
  • If possible, try adjusting the signal strength of the router until full coverage is reached throughout your home with minimal overreach (signal outside your home). This helps prevent attackers from sitting in a public area such as in a parked car while attempting to compromise your device.
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(10/11/17) - After considering alternate proposals aimed at immediately improving SERS’ financial position and reaching its long-term funding goals, the Board approved a three-year COLA suspension for retirees and benefit recipients in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Ultimately, after weighing the financial advice of the System’s actuary, the Board chose the three-year COLA suspension as the best way to improve the System’s financial footing while limiting the impact to retirees and benefit recipients as much as possible.

“SERS engaged in a two-year process for determining the best way to address the System’s short-term and long-term financial challenges that was open and inclusive for all of our stakeholders,” said SERS’ Executive Director Richard Stensrud. “The Board considered a number of proposals that would have addressed the Board’s goals, but in the end they were in agreement that this was the best course of action. I want to thank our advocacy group partners for their input at all stages of this difficult but necessary process.”

From the beginning, the Board had two specific financial objectives: get the System’s funded status to 70% by 2018, and get to 90% funded by 2032. Getting to 70% funded allows limited money to be used for health care, while getting to 90% provides downside protection in the event of a significant financial downturn. The three-year plan accomplishes both.

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The three-year COLA suspension for retirees and benefit recipients will begin on January 1, 2018.

In the same vote, the Board authorized staff to seek legislation that will delay the start of COLA increases for future retirees and benefit recipients until the fourth anniversary of their allowance or benefit. This will assure that future retirees are treated similarly to current retirees and benefit recipients with respect to COLAs.   

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The pay date for October is 09/29/2017.

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Monthly Benefit Payments Direct Deposit Dates
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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At its September 21 meeting, the Board reexamined funding goals for the System, and the decision-making process that led to the current proposed COLA changes. A special Board meeting will take place on Monday, October 9, at 8:30 a.m. to discuss and address the proposed changes.

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Want to learn about your retirement with SERS? Attend a seminar, listen to a live webinar presentation, or watch a video.
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PREP Seminar

SERS offers PREP seminars for members who are in the early to middle stage of their career.  Any member can attend; however, early planning for your future retirement will be most helpful.

The half-day seminar program covers important aspects of retirement planning: pension payment information, health care, Social Security, life transition issues, and financial planning (Ohio Deferred Compensation). There is no registration fee to attend. Space for these meetings is limited, and advance registration is required. Once maximum capacity has been reached, that location will be closed to further registrations.

Registration is now open and can be completed on the Events section of Account Login. You will need to login to register.  You also can call our office toll-free at 800-878-5853 to register. 

2017 PREP Seminar Schedule

 Date    Location

 Saturday, November 4, 2017
 Seminar begins at 8:30 a.m.

Lakeland Community College
7700 Clocktower Dr.
Kirtland, OH  44094
 Saturday, November 18, 2017
 Seminar begins at 8:30 a.m.
Princeton High School
100 Viking Way 
Cincinnati, OH  45246

The PREP Seminar originally scheduled for Saturday, October 21 in Avon Lake has been cancelled due to lack of interest. We will be in contact with all previously registered attendees.

 

Retirement Conference, Webinar, or Video

If you are planning to retire in the next five years, try attending a Retirement Conference.

Although there are question-and-answer opportunities, the conferences do not provide one-on-one counseling.  Contact SERS at toll-free at 800-878-5853 to register. 

2017 Fall Retirement Conference Schedule

 Date and Time
Location 
 Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.
 Waverly High School
 1 Tiger Dr.
 Waverly, OH  45690
 
 
If our conference dates don’t fit your schedule, we also provide webinars once a month so you can get the same information by logging in from your computer at work, or at home.
 
The agenda for the webinar includes information about:

Service Retirement Basics
Social Security Offset/Windfall
SERS Health Care
Retirement Process and What to Expect

After completing your registration, you will receive a confirmation email that provides instructions on how to connect to the webinar on the day of the event.

If you have any questions or problems registering, please email us at web@ohsers.org.

 Wednesday, November 15 at 12:00 p.m.

 Register here

 Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

 Register here

If neither option works for you, several educational videos are available from our Video Center

 

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Join the thousands of other SERS members, retirees, and employers who are already getting the monthly Board Meeting Highlights.

If you care about your SERS health care news, fund status, and financial updates, just subscribe to our email list. 

Archived News

Click here for previous SERS Spotlight articles.

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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 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' 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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