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(4/16/14) - You may have heard recent news reports about an internet security flaw called the Heartbleed bug, which could allow hackers to steal passwords to online accounts. SERS’ member and retiree accounts are not vulnerable to this bug; however, it is always a good practice to change your password every 60-90 days.

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As a reminder, the best passwords are at least eight characters in length and use a combination of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters (e.g. !, &, @, and $). The longer and more complex the password, the longer it will take a hacker to figure it out.

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(3/25/14) - After years of fine-tuning the operational efficiency at our building in downtown Columbus, SERS applied for and received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB®) award from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The SERS building became the 5th LEED-EB certified building in Columbus and the 32nd in Ohio.

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Click here to read about the improvements and energy efficiency efforts that helped SERS obtain LEED Silver certification.

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(2/27/14) - Members who are thinking about retiring in next five to ten years should consider attending a Pre-Retirement Educational Program (PREP) seminar.

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The half-day seminar will cover important aspects of retirement planning: pension payment information, health care, Social Security, and financial planning.

There is no cost to attend a PREP seminar, but registration is required. Dates and locations are available here. To download the registration form, click here.

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(1/30/14) - Some SERS members with Aetna health care coverage have received suspicious calls from an individual claiming to be an Aetna representative. The caller asked for confidential bank account information in order to send the member a new ID card.

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If you receive a similar call, do not give out any personal information and call us toll-free at 800-878-5853 to report the incident. Medical providers do not need your banking information or Social Security number. You also can call the phone number of your medical provider (usually listed on your ID card) to be sure you are talking with actual company representatives.

SERS does not place phone calls to members and retirees, or send staff door-to-door to ask for personal information. However, if you call us, we will ask you a series of questions to verify your personal information and identity.

When you call us, we need your name, Social Security number, date of birth, telephone number, and email address, if you have one. We ask for this information in order to protect your personal SERS information.

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SERS is good steward of retirement system and environment

(1/27/14) - While the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio (SERS) may be serving the people who serve our schools, 300 E. Broad St., the building has been the focus of improvements that will save money and the environment.

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We recently completed several energy conservation measures that qualified for the American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio’s Retrocommissioning (RCx) Program. Implementing these measures enabled the building to receive a rebate of $26,781.90 from AEP.

RCx is an incentive program that rewards AEP Ohio commercial customers for improving the performance of their building by lowering operating costs, energy consumption, and environmental impacts. The building is involved with the program as a result of its efforts to obtain the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, a national benchmark for design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

By examining issues such as lighting and HVAC running times, six measures for reducing energy use and costs were proposed. Additionally, re-lamping the building with lower wattage bulbs, including changing about 5,000 bulbs, resulted in a reduction of more than 26,000 watts. These low-cost and practical measures allowed for immediate implementation. They were completed in June.

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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.