BEFORE YOU CALL: ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Before you call, here are answers to some common questions we get every day.
1099 and 1095 Forms
1099 and 1095 forms will be mailed before January 31.
Member Annual Statements
Paper statements were mailed in September. You also can access your annual statement in Account Login.
SERS continues to process Refund Applications. Please allow 6-8 weeks for payment to be issued from the date SERS receives the completed form. Also please keep in mind that refunds cannot be issued unless you have terminated your SERS-covered position and three months have passed since your last date of service.
My school is closed due to the COVID-19 emergency, but I am still getting paid. Will I earn service credit for this time?
You receive service credit for days of paid service for a school or college; this is called contributing service credit. A paid leave day that is used, such as sick and vacation, counts as a day of paid service. Paid leave also includes pay from your employer for time when you were not able to work for reasons related to COVID-19 (such as emergency paid leave and expanded paid FMLA leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act).
I have been temporarily laid off (furloughed) by my school employer. Can I receive service credit for COVID-19 related unpaid leave?
If you are laid off without pay, you will not earn service credit during this time. Also, you do not have the option of purchasing service credit for an unpaid lay off.
Depending on your work history for the current school year and the length of an unpaid lay off, you might still earn a full year of service credit for the current school year. A full year of service credit is granted upon completion of 120 or more days of paid school employment within a school year (July 1 through the following June 30), not a calendar year.
This means that if you are a 9-month employee who works five days a week, you typically complete 120 days by February of each school year. If you are a 12-month employee who works five days a week, you typically complete 120 days by the end of December of each school year.
If you received an Inactive Statement and wish to refund your account, please complete the form you received with your Inactive Statement. You may also download the Member Refund Application from SERS’ website, complete the application, and mail it to us.
Reporting the Death of a Member
If you need to report the death of a member, we will need the member’s full name and date of death. You may email that information to us at email@example.com. Please include your phone number so someone from our Survivor Benefits/Post Retirement Department can contact you to collect additional information.
Does the Stock Market Decline Affect My SERS Pension?
The good news for SERS benefit recipients is that stock market declines do not affect benefit amounts. All benefit payments are being processed as usual and will be delivered on time.
Under current Ohio law, once you retire your pension is guaranteed for life and cannot be reduced. This is one big advantage that defined benefit (DB) pension plans like SERS have over defined contribution (DC) plans such as 401(k)s, IRAs, and 403(b) retirement plans.
The reason DB plans like SERS can offer this guarantee is because our investment strategy takes a long-term approach to investing. SERS does not have to reduce exposure to certain types of investments as a member gets closer to retirement age like DC plans do. In addition, SERS’ assets are diversified among many different types of investments, so a shock to one type won’t affect the others.
SERS was able to withstand the 2008-09 Great Financial Crisis and we will be able to recover from the current market decline as the economy improves after the COVID-19 disruption.
Get Your Benefit Payments on Time with Direct Deposit
For those who still receive paper checks, we cannot guarantee timely delivery through the mail. Accordingly, we strongly urge you to have your future benefits delivered via direct deposit. Direct deposit ensures timely payment and requires less staff resources to process. Complete the Direct Deposit Form, which is available on our website, and send or fax it to us.
If you have a question that is not addressed here, there are four ways to contact us:
- Use Account Login to send us a private message
- Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call us at 1-800-878-5853. Your call will be answered in the order it was received.
- Leave a voicemail message for our support team. We will return your call as soon as possible.
Please, only use one of the above contact methods. Contacting us more than once will cause a longer delay in our response time.
Frequently Asked Health Care Questions
I am turning 65 soon. How do I enroll in SERS’ Medicare Coverage?
SERS offers a Medicare Advantage Plan with Part D drug coverage. Enrollment in Medicare Part B is required.
SERS’ non-Medicare plan and Wraparound HRA participants will receive an Approaching 65 packet with Medicare sign-up instructions three months before their 65th birthday. Once proof of Medicare Part B is received, retirees are placed in the SERS Medicare Advantage plan.
Retirees who waived health care coverage can enroll in an SERS Medicare Advantage plan within 90 days of becoming Medicare eligible. To apply, waived retirees must email us at email@example.com or call 1-800-878-5853 to request a health care application.
I am losing employer coverage. Can I enroll with SERS?
Yes. The involuntary loss of employer coverage is a qualifying event to enroll in SERS coverage, but you must do it within 31 days of employer coverage ending. Proof of involuntary termination is required. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-878-5853 to request current premiums and a health care application.
When Can I Enroll in Dental and Vision?
SERS allows you to enroll in dental and vision coverage:
• at the time you begin receiving a monthly benefit
• during the fall Open Enrollment period
• within 31 days of an involuntary termination of other dental or vision coverage. Proof of involuntary termination is required.
Once enrolled, you cannot cancel coverage mid-year. You can cancel coverage during Open Enrollment.
Once I enroll, when will I receive my medical and drug coverage ID cards?
SERS’ medical and drug plans issue ID cards 5-7 days before your plan takes effect. If your ID cards do not arrive by the coverage date and medical services are scheduled, please contact our office.
If my spouse or children are covered on my Delta Dental plan, will they receive ID cards?
Delta Dental only issues ID cards in the primary account holder’s name, the SERS member. A spouse and children are sub-accounts under the primary account. Call Delta at 1-800-524-0149 and follow the prompts as a “subscriber” to request a replacement ID card.
How can I find a dentist in the Delta Dental network?
Delta offers a PPO and Premier network; however, you receive the best benefit when using the PPO network dentist. In addition, if a dentist participates in both networks you automatically receive the higher benefit. To find a network dentist or learn if your dentist participates, visit http://www.deltadentaloh.com/sersohio and click on the “find a dentist” icon.
If I have vision coverage, will I receive a VSP ID card?
No, VSP does not issue ID cards. Instead, when you see your provider, tell them that you have VSP, and they will look you up in the system with your Social Security number. If your provider does not accept VSP, you can pay out-of-pocket and submit a claim at http://www.vsp.com or print the manual claim form to mail.
Where can I find SERS health coverage information online?
You can find helpful information in the Retirees section of the website. Visit the Health Care in Retirement page to find current information on:
- Enrollment and Cancellation
- Plans and Premiums
- Medicare Basics
- Dental and Vision
- Open Enrollment
- Health Care Resources