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(4/29/16) - Several members may have received correspondence from us within the last week regarding the 2013 pension reform changes that will be implemented on Aug. 1, 2017.

Under the new eligibility rules, the minimum age and service requirements will change from age 60 and 5 years of service credit to age 62 and 10 years of service credit.

We want you to know how the changes will affect you, so that you can make the best decision for your situation. For that reason, we are creating a series of pension reform videos, and holding webinars, that are specific to your situation.

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Our first video addresses inactive members who will have less than 10 years of service credit and be under age 60 by Aug. 1, 2017. If this describes your situation and you would like more information, click here to watch a video explaining the changes.

We also will hold two webinars for this group of affected members. They will be held on May 9 and May 17, 2016. Please visit our Pension Reform page for more information and to register for a webinar.

Stay tuned to our Video Center page for more pension reform videos. We will post videos at a later date for the following groups of members:

  • Inactive members who will be at least age 60 by Aug. 1, 2017
  • Active members who will be at least age 60 by Aug. 1, 2017
  • Active members who will not be at least age 60 by Aug. 1, 2017
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Monthly Benefit Payments Direct Deposit Dates
May 04/29/2016
June* 06/01/2016
July 07/01/2016
August 08/01/2016
September* 09/01/2016
October 09/30/2016
November 11/01/2016
December* 12/01/2016

*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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(3/30/2016) - 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.

Consider 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.

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PREP Seminar Schedule - 2016

 DATE LOCATION  
Monday, Aug. 1, 2016
Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m.

Cuyahoga
Sheraton Suites
1989 Front St.
Cuyahoga Falls OH 44221
 
Register Now

Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016
Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m.


Beachwood
Embassy Suites
3775 Park East Dr.
Beachwood, OH 44122
 
Register Now

Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016
Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m.
 


Toledo
Holiday Inn French Quarter
10630 Fremont Pike
Perrysburg, OH 43551
 
Register Now
Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016
Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m.

Cincinnati
Great Wolf Lodge
2501 Great Wolf Dr.
Mason, OH 45040
 
Register Now
Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016
Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m.

Westlake
Doubletree by Hilton Cleveland-Westlake
1100 Crocker Rd.
Westlake, OH 44145
 
Register Now
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(3/30/2016) - If you are within one year of retirement, consider joining us for the Retiring with SERS webinar. A webinar is an online seminar where information is presented to an audience via computer. As a participant in the SERS webinar, you will be able to listen to the webinar through your computer speakers and ask questions by typing them on your keyboard.

The webinar includes discussion about:

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

Space is limited and advance registration is required.

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Registration can be completed by clicking the links below. Once you open the registration window, click either the Register link located in the Event Status field, or the Register button located at the bottom of the page.

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.

 

 Retiring with SERS Webinar Schedule

 Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 11:30 a.m.

 Register Now

 Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 4:00 p.m.

 Register Now

 Wednesday, June 22, 2016, 12:30 p.m.

 Register Now

 

System Requirements: Your computer must have sound capabilities in order for you to participate in the webinar. Please note that you will be prompted to install software from WebEx or upgrade your Java capability. This software is required to view our webinar. WebEx requires that you have installed the latest version of the following browsers: Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer (7 or higher), or Safari (5 or higher). 

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(3/24/16) – Scammers are still at it.

They often offer deals that seem “too good to be true,” such as travel packages, extended car warranties, credit card protection, or overstated investment opportunities.

It has been reported that some are posing as prescription drug companies, asking for personal information.

Do not provide any personal information, such as credit card or bank account numbers, or Social Security numbers, to callers you do not know, even if they are asking you to “confirm” information. It is likely a scam.

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers some lines that are commonly used by scammers:

  • You've been specially selected (for this offer).
  • You'll get a free bonus if you buy our product.
  • You've won one of five valuable prizes.
  • You've won big money in a foreign lottery.
  • This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else.
  • You have to make up your mind right away.
  • You trust me, right?
  • You don't need to check our company with anyone.
  • We'll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card.

If you hear a similar statement from an unknown caller, or feel pressured to make a decision or give out personal information, hang up and report them to the FTC.

In addition, if you have not already done so, register your home and mobile phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry. This will stop most unsolicited calls. If you still receive calls, it is most likely a scammer. Hang up and file a complaint with the National Do Not Call Registry.

For more red flags, and tips on how to handle an unexpected telemarking call, visit the FTC website.

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(3/23/16) - Yesterday's House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee hearing on "Social Security and Public Servants: Ensuring Equal Treatment" is now available to view online.

The highly anticipated hearing lasted about an hour and a half, and featured five witnesses who provided highly supportive testimony on reforming the punitive and unfair Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) penalties as soon as possible. You can read the witnesses' comments here.

SERS provided written comments for the hearing record, including a real-life example of a SERS retiree who was affected by the WEP. 

Thank you to everyone who sent an email to their Congressional delegate through the SERS website, or submitted a written statement for consideration by the Committee.

Any person or organization is encouraged to submit written comments for consideration by April 5, 2016. Click here for more information, including formatting guidelines.

We will be sure to keep you posted on the progress of H.R. 711 as it proceeds through the Ways and Means Committee.

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(3/17/16) - A new study from the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), titled “Shortchanged in Retirement: The Continuing Challenges to Women's Financial Future,” finds that women are far more likely than men to experience financial difficulties in retirement.

The analysis, based on 2012 United States Census data, finds that women need to save more for retirement if they plan to maintain their current standards of living. This is particularly true if they only participate in defined contribution (DC) plans.

The study also indicates that the predictable nature of pension payments from defined benefit (DB) plans stimulates economic growth.

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Researchers made the following key findings:

  • The number of women ages 55 to 64 rose from 53% in 2000 to 59% in 2015. This could be an indication that women are working longer.
  • There is an eligibility gap that restricts women’s participation in retirement plans. While this gap has narrowed, women still have a higher rate of part-time employment and less working years, which could make it more challenging to meet the eligibility requirements for most retirement plans compared to men.
  • The number of women working for employers that offered DC-only plans decreased from 49% in 2009 to 46% in 2012. Women tend to contribute less to their individual retirement plans. The average DC account value for women was about one-third less than that of men.
  • Women have 26% less income than men.
  • Social Security is a significant source of income for older households receiving incomes of less than $80,000. Women who are widowed, divorced, or over the age of 70 rely on Social Security for the greater part of their income.
  • Women ages 65 and older are 80% more likely than men to live in poverty. Women between the ages of 75 and 79 are three times more likely than men to be disadvantaged.
  • Women who work in fields where defined benefit (DB) plans are more common have higher retirement incomes and lower poverty rates than other industries. This is due, in part, to their increased participation in DB plans compared to DC plans.  

The report proposes several public policy changes to address the disparities faced by women in retirement.

Read the full report here.

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(3/15/16)  - The House Ways and Means Committee, the chief tax-writing committee of the House of Representatives, announced today that the Social Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing regarding “Social Security and Public Servants: Ensuring Equal Treatment” on March 22, 2016.

This hearing represents an important development in the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, or H.R. 711.

Any individual or organization may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee. We ask you to join us in support of this important legislation. Let your voice be heard. Click here to find out how you can submit a statement or letter. All statements must be submitted by April 5, 2016.

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Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts), senior member of the Committee, introduced H.R. 711 in Feb. 2015.

The bipartisan bill seeks to repeal or reform the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The WEP reduces the amount of Social Security you receive based on your own Social Security employment record.

H.R. 711 has received a great deal of support from legislators throughout the country, 60 in total, as well as notable organizations.  

Last year, the Social Security Advisory Board recommended that Congress replace the three-decade-old WEP with a proportional formula, as proposed in H.R. 711.

More recently, AARP, a non-profit membership organization for people over age 50, announced its support of the bill and “a fair solution to a longstanding problem for workers who have both private sector and state and local government service.”

SERS would like to express its thanks to all legislators who have announced their support of H.R. 711, especially the 10 Ohio representatives who have signed on as co-sponsors:

  • Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-3)
  • Rep. Steve Chabot (R-1)
  • Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-7)
  • Rep. Bill Johnson (R-6)
  • Rep. David P. Joyce (R-14)
  • Rep. Robert Latta (R-5)
  • Rep. James B. Renacci (R-16)
  • Rep. Tim Ryan (D-13)
  • Rep. Steve Stivers (R-15)
  • Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-12)

Most importantly, we want to thank you, our members and retirees, who have asked your congressional representative to co-sponsor H.R. 711. To date, you have sent more than 7,000 messages from SERS’ website petitioning support of this important bill, and your requests are making a difference.

We will continue to keep you updated on any actions taken as a result of this hearing.

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(2/24/16) - America Saves Week is here!

The national effort, celebrated Feb. 22-27, 2016, encourages individuals to set a savings goal and come up with a plan to reach it.  

America Saves recommends several actions to put you on the right track to reaching your goal.

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1.       Assess Your Savings

It is recommended that you conduct a savings check-up once a year to make sure that you are on target to reach your goals. Complete this assessment to make sure you are headed in the right direction.

2.       Evaluate Savings Techniques

Are you saving at least 5% of your income? If not, you may want to schedule an automatic transfer of a portion of your paycheck into your savings account. Do you expect to pay off your mortgage before retirement? This checklist can help you evaluate your savings accomplishments, and savings habits that may need to improve.

3.       Save for Emergencies

Make sure that you have a separate account set aside for financial emergencies, such as unexpected medical bills or costly car repairs.  

4.       Save Your Tax Refund

Split your tax refund into savings, or pay off an outstanding debt such as a car loan or credit card balance.

5.       Save for Retirement

Saving additional money for retirement will help ensure you can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in the future. Enroll in a supplemental retirement plan, such as Ohio Deferred Compensation, and plan to increase your deferral each year.

For more cost-saving strategies, visit http://www.americasaves.org.

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(2/19/16) - A Special Election is being held to fill a vacant employee-member Board seat due to the resignation of a Board member. For the Special Election, candidates will be nominated by the Board members, and the successor member will be chosen by a Board vote.

Interested candidates should send a resume addressed to the SERS Board of Trustees, 300 E. Broad St., Suite 100, Columbus, OH, 43215-3746 or by email to SERSBoardofTrustees@ohsers.org by March 4, 2016.

Candidates also must submit a completed Certification Form, which can be downloaded from the SERS website. The completed form should be mailed to the above address.

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The term for this Board seat runs from April 21, 2016 to June 30, 2017. Click here to see the full Special Election timeline.

If you have questions about this Special Election, please contact Tim Barbour, Senior Communications Coordinator, by phone at 614-222-5901 or by email at tbarbour@ohsers.org.

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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.

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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