ORBIT

Retirement Monitor - February 2020

Friday, February 28, 2020

Retirement Monitor header

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

It's all in a day's work graphic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approximately 10,000 Statement of Income (SOI) Forms have been mailed to disability benefit recipients. These forms need to be filled out and returned to our office on or before April 15, 2020. Please inform any employees you have who are receiving disability benefits to be on the lookout for this Statement of Income form and emphasize the importance of completing and returning that form. 

 

Graphic with a calendar showing April 15 and text saying that Statement Of Income are due on or before April 15, 2020

 

Peak Season for Retirement Processing Approaching

The months of March through July are the time of year when the N.C. Retirement Systems receives an increased number of retirement applications. We make every effort to process retirement applications as quickly as possible.

Encourage your employees to use the NC Retirement Systems online retirement feature in ORBIT. No more filling in multiple forms by hand or waiting for the Retirement Systems Division to receive retirement paperwork by mail. The online application offers a step-by-step guide to move members through the process, integrated videos, examples and links available on screen at critical decision-making points and built-in pension rules that prevent delays in the processing of retirement applications. Click here for employer information on how to help your employees transition to retirement smoothly using our online retirement tool.

And click here for resources about our online retirement tool for your employees nearing retirement.

Graphic with Peak Retirement Season and encouraging online retirement and call back assist if employees call us

 

 

As the retirement season gets underway, there is an increase in the number of calls to the Retirement Systems. Wait times grow significantly during this busy season with wait times of 10+ minutes before a counselor is able to assist. We know how precious time is and we have created tools to help you, as well as your employees, find the information you need in a timely manner.

Automated phone system – access your ORBIT information 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 1-877-627-3287. We encourage eligible members to use the Call Back Assist feature during high call volume times.

Graphic showing the types of items available on the Employer Toolkit page, including videos and documents

The new Employer Toolkit includes short video guides, on-demand webinars and downloadable resources to help you understand your role and the retirement benefits you provide for your employees. We will continue to build this resource so that you can better provide information to your employees. Click here to view the Employer Digital Toolkit

 

Returning to Work

In November, an email was sent to employers to clarify the law pertaining to pre-arrangements and returning to work. Recently there have been some questions raised by a participating employer regarding the Federal requirement that in order to qualify for retirement benefits, an employee must not make pre-arrangements for employment after retirement. In addition to being Federal law for tax-qualified pension plans, this requirement has been incorporated in the statutes governing the State and Local Retirement Systems in North Carolina for decades, and has been reflected in member handbooks, the Retirement Systems’ website, and other guidance.

Although we recognize that employers are generally well-aware of this requirement, we must reiterate that the State and Local Retirement Systems cannot pay retirement benefits when an employee has pre-arranged to return to work in any capacity after retirement. To do so would violate Federal tax law, and such a violation would jeopardize the entire pension plan’s tax status. The issue is not whether the work is interim versus permanent, part-time versus full-time, or related distinctions about the type of work. The issue is that in order to become eligible for retirement benefits in the first place, an employee must decide to permanently sever the employer-employee relationship. 

In light of recent questions, even though nothing has changed in Federal or State law on this topic, we asked the Retirement Systems’ outside tax counsel to provide an opinion, which we have posted on our website

Please feel free to share this opinion with your Human Resources staff so that they may ensure your employment policies are in accordance with Federal and State law on this topic, and so that they may make sure their advice to Retirement Systems members does not lead to unintended consequences. 

Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System Employer Contribution Rates

Effective July 1, 2020, the “base” employer contribution rate will change:

  • Law enforcement officers (LEOs) rate will increase from 9.70 to 10.90 percent of reported compensation
  • Rate for all other employees will increase from 8.95 to 10.15 percent of reported compensation

Additional rates, such as rates associated with death benefits or past service liabilities, will be added to the base rate to determine the actual contribution percentage for each employer. As in past years, each employer’s total contribution rate for the upcoming fiscal year will be calculated by the Retirement Systems Division and communicated in a letter before the end of April 2020.
 

Graphic with the word "justice" highlighted on what looks like a dictionary page and the words Notification Local System Court Cost Offset to Employer Contribution Rate for Law Enforcement Officers

Pursuant to N.C. General Statutes §143-166.50(d), the Department of State Treasurer is required to use certain funds derived from court costs to offset employer contribution rates paid for law enforcement officers participating in the Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System (LGERS). The department reviews receipts of these funds and updates the offset periodically. It was last adjusted in January 2014 to 0.14% of compensation, beginning with fiscal year 2015, and it has remained at that level through fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. 

The most recent review occurred in January 2019. Based on a review of receipts since 2008, the Executive Director of the Retirement Systems Division has set the Court Cost Offset on the LGERS Employer Contribution Rate at 0.20%of Law Enforcement Officer payroll for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020. Information on the impact of the offset on the fiscal year employer contribution rate will be provided at the April 2020 board meeting.

 

Graphic with hand palm up with envelopes flying from it indicating outgoing email. Also text on how to report a felony forfeiture which is repeated in text of article.

 

The North Carolina Department of State Treasurer (DST) Retirement Systems Division (RSD) is responsible for reviewing and applying North Carolina’s Felony Forfeiture Statutes (N.C.G.S § 128-38.4A ; N.C.G.S §135-18.10A), to the retirement accounts of state and local government employees who are convicted of any felony under federal law or the laws of this State related to their employment or holding office. 

The Compliance Section within RSD has created a Felony Forfeiture email address that allows State and Local Government Employers and Citizens to report an employee who has been criminally charged with an offense committed while in service as a State or Local Government employee, or holding office.

How to Report a Felony Forfeiture:

Email: FForfeitureReporting@nctreasurer.com

Or Write to:
NC Department of State Treasurer Retirement Systems Division
Attn: Compliance Section
3200 Atlantic Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27604

Purpose of Felony Forfeiture Reporting: To report an employee who has been criminally charged with an offense directly related to their employment as a State or Local Government employee or holding office.

What information to report: Please provide as much detail as possible concerning who, what, when, where, how, and financial value, if applicable.
 
Privacy: Individuals who provide information concerning Felony Forfeiture may provide information anonymously or provide their name and contact information. However, the Compliance Section would prefer that you provide a way for our staff to contact you in case more information is needed. 

Graphic showing that starting April 8, the Retirement Systems will conduct a Total Retirement Planning Conference Statewide Tour.

 

Total Retirement Planning Conference April 8 for Teachers, State Employees and Local Government Employees, including Law Enforcement & FRSW– kicks off the statewide tour of larger conferences. 

This conference will provide an orientation for new members, pre-retirement planning information for members closer to retirement, and educational information for personnel officers and others who handle retirement matters. In addition, Prudential Retirement, our defined contribution plans administrator, also offers information on the Supplemental plans.

Our educational program combines information about the Retirement System defined benefit (pension) plans, with information about the defined contribution plans (401(k), 457 and 403(b)) from Prudential. We co-present with Prudential NC401(k)/457 Plans and NC403b Program providing a single seminar focusing on Retirement Readiness. Our combined presentation runs approximately 2 hours in length and allows for a Town Hall Q & A session to address any of your individual questions. 

There will be a Retirement Fair from 9am – 11am and 1pm – 3pm where attendees will be able to speak with the North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans, Social Security, and other association and banking partners. This all-inclusive retirement event is available for the first 600 registrants. 

Click here for a flyer to post at your location

Click here to register.

We host a series of webinars that now allow for up to 500 virtual attendees.

To view all of our conferences and webinars, click here.

 

Location Date
Queen City Tour: Charlotte @ UNC Charlotte Limited to the first 600 people that register April 8
Central Carolina Tour: Raleigh May 11
May 12
West Tour: Asheville @ Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Ferguson Auditorium, 340 Victoria Rd. July 1
Triad Tour: Winston-Salem @ WS Univ. Forsyth Co. Local Government July 29
July 30
East Tour: Wilmington Retirement Planning Conference & City of Wilmington @ UNC Wilmington August 20
August 21
Central Carolina Tour: Raleigh September 21
September 22
Greater West Tour: Cherokee - Fall Teacher Conference & Employer Training / Retirement Planning Conference October 5
October 6

Northwest Tour:  Elizabeth City @ College of The Albemarle

February 2021

 

 

Graphic with the State Health Plan logo and Understanding Your Medical Plan Options When You Become Medicare-Eligible' Webinars Beginning Soon!

 

Beginning this month, the State Health Plan will offer online informational webinars on “Understanding Your Medical Plan Options When You Become Medicare-Eligible.” These popular, free sessions are designed for active employees who will soon be 65, are already 65 or older, and retirees getting ready to turn 65.
 
Each session lasts approximately 2 hours and will explain important information regarding Medicare and your retirement health benefit options. Visit the website and click “Upcoming Events” or see the schedule below and register soon for a time convenient to you, as space is limited.

In addition, in-person sessions on the same topic will be held across the state from March through June. Session locations have not been finalized. Stay tuned for more information! 

 

Date Time Registration
02/27/2020 2pm-4pm Register Online
03/12/2020 10am-12pm Register Online
0/06/2020 2pm-4pm Register Online
05/13/2020 2pm-4pm Register Online
05/19/2020 2pm-4pm Register Online
06/15/2020 10am-12pm Register Online
06/30/2020 10am-12pm Register Online
07/28/2020 10am-12pm Register Online

Banner with text that reads "In production: the 2019 myNCRetirement Statement"

 

The Annual myNCRetirement Statement is in production. These will be available soon to employees who have 12+ months of service and complete employer information on file. Please remind your employees that we only store two years of statements online. 

The 2017 myNCRetirement Statements will be permanently deleted on March 31, 2020. These can be downloaded by logging into ORBIT.

 

 

Banner with PLUM and the Retirement Systems Logo under it. Plum stands for Paying Less, Understanding Value, and Meaningful Oversight

 

Introducing PLUM

Many of you have adopted the North Carolina Supplemental Plans as a benefit for your employees. To raise awareness and highlight the low costs and values of these plans, we are starting the PLUM campaign.

PLUM stands for paying less, understanding value and meaningful oversight.

North Carolina's supplemental retirement plans are among the largest and lowest-cost public plans in the country. The plans are administered by the N.C. Department of State Treasurer and the Supplemental Retirement Board of Trustees, offered by more than 1,000 public employers, including state agencies, local governments, school districts and community colleges.

We have introduced a new cost comparison document for the 401(k) and 457 Plans and the 403(b) Program. These documents allow participants in the plans to compare North Carolina’s plans with other providers’ plans and make informed decisions as they plan for and through retirement.

 

Kudos!

Kudos to Hobgood Charter School, the Town of Harrisburg and the City of Lexington