Members Retirees Employers
SERS Home Page

(9/1/15) - SERS’ health care open enrollment period begins today, Sept. 1, 2015, and runs through Oct. 31, 2015. It is the only time you can change your plan, or enroll in or cancel dental and/or vision coverage.

Open enrollment packets containing information about 2016 plan, premium, and benefit changes were recently mailed to SERS’ health care plan participants. If you are enrolled in SERS’ health care coverage and do not receive a packet by September 10, please call SERS toll-free at 800-878-5853.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Most retirees will pay the same premium in 2016.
  • The Medical Mutual plan will not be available after this year. Medical Mutual enrollees will be automatically switched to the Aetna Choice POS II plan.
  • The HealthSpan Medicare Plan will only be available to individuals already enrolled. It will not be available to new enrollees.
  • Co-pays for generic medications are increasing for all plans except HealthSpan. This is the first generic co-pay increase in three years.

For more information regarding these and other changes, you can review the “What’s New in 2016” section of your Open Enrollment Guide, or watch an open enrollment video online at http://www.ohsers.org/open-enrollment.

You also have the option to attend an in-person meeting, or register for a webinar to learn more about the forthcoming changes.

Click here to view a schedule of open enrollment meetings throughout the state, or click below to register for one of our webinars.

WEBINAR SCHEDULE
DATE TIME  
 Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.  Click here to register
 Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.  Click here to register
 Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.  Click here to register
  [Read More...]
  [Hide]
 

The pay date for September is 9/1/2015.

  [Read More...]

 

Monthly Benefit Payments Direct Deposit Dates
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.

  [Hide]
 

(8/14/15) - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues to warn taxpayers to be on alert for new tax scams that could result in a significant financial loss.

Scam artists are developing new scare tactics to trick taxpayers into providing confidential financial information, or making a fake tax payment to the offender.

Scammers have expanded their approach, targeting virtually anyone. They often angrily demand payment over the phone, threatening unpleasant things, such as police arrest and deportation, if their demands are not met.

The IRS would like to remind taxpayers not to confuse the official IRS site, IRS.gov, with sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in designations such as .com, .net, or .org. Additionally, IRS representatives would not threaten arrest, or demand payment over the phone or call about taxes owed without first mailing you a letter. They will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

  [Read More...]

If you believe you have been targeted in this scam, the IRS recommends that you take the following steps:

  • If you actually do owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or do not immediately believe that you do, you can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484.
  • If you’ve been targeted by any scam, be sure to contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.
  [Hide]
 

(8/12/15) - Women face a wage gap during their working careers, which has a significant impact on their retirement preparedness. A report recently released by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) highlights these barriers and recommends policy changes that could help break them down.

  [Read More...]

According to Sen. Murray’s report, “Women and the Retirement Gap,” the poverty rate of women ages 65 and older is nearly double that of men. Additionally, women typically earn 78 cents for every dollar that men make. Earning lower wages makes it harder to support a family and save for retirement.

It also means lower Social Security benefits. In 2014, the average Social Security benefit for women over the age of 65 was $14,234. The average Social Security benefit for men of the same age group was $18,113 per year, a difference of 21%.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, women also are more likely than men to reduce their hours or leave the workforce altogether to take care of a sick parent or raise a child. A study from MetLife found that women who leave the workforce early to care for a family member lose roughly $324,000 in lost wages, Social Security benefits, and pensions by doing so.

Sen. Murray recommends that Congress enact several policy measures to help women better prepare for retirement, including:

1.    Raise the minimum wage.

2.    Enhance spousal protections for common accounts such as 401(k) plans.

3.    Expand access to retirement plans, especially for part-time workers.

4.    Increase financial literacy to people of all ages.

5.    Expand and enhance Social Security benefits, specifically for widows and widowers and divorced spouses.

You can read the full report here.

  [Hide]
 

(8/3/15) - 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 on October 17 in Westlake. 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. Visit http://bit.ly/WestlakePREP to reserve your spot.

  [Read More...]
  [Hide]
 

(8/3/15) - Representatives James Renacci and Bill Johnson recently showed their support of H.R. 711, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, by signing on as cosponsors.

H.R. 711 now has 38 cosponsors, five from Ohio. If passed, the bill would repeal Social Security’s Windfall Elimination Provision.

Thank you, Representatives Renacci and Johnson, for supporting this important legislation.

  [Read More...]
  [Hide]
 

(7/27/15) - On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all states must license same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages that were “lawfully licensed and performed out of state.” To comply with the recent Obergefell v. Hodges decision, SERS will recognize same-sex marriages going forward, and those performed before June 26, 2015 in a state that recognized them.

  [Read More...]

With a valid marriage certificate, SERS retirees who were married before June 26, 2015 now have an opportunity to switch from a single life plan of payment to a joint life plan of payment with the same-sex spouse as the beneficiary. A retiree who elected a joint life plan with monthly benefits to multiple beneficiaries (Plan F), and named someone other than their spouse as beneficiary, can now choose to add a same-sex spouse as beneficiary. Affected individuals must apply by June 26, 2016. If the marriage was performed after the Obergefell decision, retirees have one year from the date of marriage to apply.

Certain life events, such as marriage or divorce, automatically revoke a prior beneficiary designation form submitted by a member. If a member does not want to name his/her spouse as beneficiary, a new beneficiary designation form must be filed after the date of the marriage.  Legal same-sex marriages entered into in another state before June 26, 2015 are considered to have revoked a beneficiary designation form submitted before the marriage.

A SERS retiree or disability recipient with a same-sex spouse, as well as a same-sex spouse of a SERS member, retiree, or disability recipient already enrolled in SERS health care are now able to enroll in SERS health care coverage during a special enrollment period running from Aug. 1 through Nov. 30, 2015. A same-sex spouse who is currently receiving payment under one of SERS’ joint life plans for a deceased retiree also is eligible to enroll. More information regarding this special enrollment period will appear in the September issue of Focus.

If you have questions about how the Supreme Court decision may impact your benefits, please contact SERS at (800) 878-5853.

  [Hide]
 

(7/6/15) – In response to the Columbus Business First article titled “Ohio Public Pension Systems Face Second-Largest Shortfall” published June 5, SERS Executive Director Lisa J. Morris penned a letter to the editor to clarify misconceptions about Ohio’s public pension systems when compared on a national level.

  [Read More...]
 

(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.

  [Read More...]

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.

  [Hide]
 

(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.

  [Read More...]

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.

  [Hide]
 


Get the Latest SERS News Delivered to Your Email

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. You will receive monthly news about SERS events, health care, and investments. 

Archived News

Click here for previous SERS Spotlight articles.

  • Change font size: 
  • A
  • A
  • A
Ohio Pension Reform News

Click here for the latest news on Pension Reform.

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.

Follow SERS on Facebook

"Like" our page to stay up-to-date on the latest SERS news.

We share financial, wellness, and other helpful tips to help you plan, prepare for, and enjoy your retirement.