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  • Taxes on BackDROP

    May 9, 2018, 9:14 AM By MOSERS

    If MOSERS benefit is a “public” pension and, therefore, is not considered a salary or wage why would I have to pay taxes on the backdrop? Isn't the backdrop considered part of an employee's pension?

    Your MOSERS benefit is a public pension and, therefore, is not considered a salary or wage. It does not count towards the annual earnings limit for social security. Your BackDROP payment, however, is considered taxable income for the year in which you receive the payment unless you roll it over to a traditional IRA or another eligible employer plan, such as MO Deferred Comp. Depending upon your age, there could also be an additional 10% IRS penalty if you choose the cash payment.

    When you retire with MOSERS, you will be asked if you want to elect BackDROP* (if eligible), and, if so, how you want to receive that distribution: cash option, rollover option, or combination cash and rollover option. State employees eligible to receive a lump-sum BackDROP payment get this payment in addition to a lifetime monthly benefit payment and can choose to roll the lump sum into the MO Deferred Comp Plan at retirement. This option is available to all state of Missouri employees, even if they have never participated in the deferred compensation plan. A popular reason to roll the lump-sum payment into the deferred compensation plan is that it allows employees to defer taxes on the payment until those assets are distributed in retirement. There is a helpful publication on MO Deferred Comp’s website called Thinking About the BackDROP?

    We suggest you speak to a tax professional or financial advisor for advice specific to your situation and to discuss all of your options at retirement.  For more information about Social Security, the Social Security Administration website is www.ssa.gov or call them toll-free at (800) 772-1213.

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  • Senate Bill 1007

    May 1, 2018, 3:03 PM By MOSERS

    How would Senate Bill 1007 impact state merit employees who are eligible for retirement (past 80 and out) but have not yet retired? 

    SB 1007 does not currently contain any changes to any MOSERS benefit provisions. It modifies and repeals several provisions relating to the State Personnel Law (SPL), commonly referred to as the merit system. In order for those proposed changes to go into effect, the House must also pass the legislation and the Governor must approve it.

    We will monitor any legislation affecting MOSERS and inform our members of any changes that become law. The 2018 legislative session ends on May 18th. You can visit our Legislation page for more information.

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  • MOSERS' Funding Status

    May 1, 2018, 2:10 PM By MOSERS

    What is the status of the MOSERS fund? My wife heard on the radio that it is in fiscal trouble. Could you tell me the fund status or direct me to a site where I can review it's status. 

    As of June 30, 2017, retirement benefits for general state employees are 67.5% pre-funded. This information is contained in our Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. It was also included in our Summary Annual Financial Report, an insert in the fall/winter 2017 issue of our newsletters.

    Money to pay retirement benefits comes from employer contributions, employee contributions (if first employed on or after 1/1/2011), and from investment returns. Over that past 20 years, 61% of the assets in the MOSERS Trust Fund have come from investment returns. Beginning in FY17, the MOSERS Board adopted a funding policy to gradually lower MOSERS’ investment return assumption. This more accurately reflects capital market expectations and confirms the Board’s commitment to sound financial practices. It results in higher annual employer contribution requirements (and a lowered funded status) in the short-term. However, it is the board’s expectation that these changes will strengthen MOSERS’ financial position and will ultimately enhance the retirement security of our members.

    While the dollar amount has increased, retirement benefits remain 1.5% of the total state budget. This is the same percent of the total state budget in FY2019 as it was 20 years ago in FY1999. For the past 60 years, the state of Missouri has honored its commitments to state employees and consistently funded the employer contributions recommended by our actuaries.

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  • Optional Life Insurance Coverage for Children

    Apr 18, 2018, 8:29 AM By MOSERS

    I have carried optional life insurance on my two children. But I am wondering if I now need to drop them, as they are both over the age of 18. My oldest is 27 & my youngest will be 26 in Oct. I don't want to drop them if I don't have to but also don't want to keep paying for something that I could not use if the worst Mother's fear where to occur. 

    You may retain MOSERS optional life insurance* for your children until age 26. The month your child turns 26, your coverage will automatically end. An exception is: Disabled children older than age 26, who are continuously incapable of self-sustaining employment because of developmental, intellectual or physical handicap and dependent on you for support, are eligible for dependent coverage.

    When life insurance coverage ends for your spouse and/or child(ren), you have 60 days in which to convert coverage to an individual life insurance policy or buy portable group insurance. Evidence of insurability is not required.

    We also recommend that you review your life insurance beneficiaries periodically to make sure they are up to date. You can review and update your beneficiaries by logging in to myMOSERS and completing and submitting a Life Insurance Beneficiaries form. For more information, see the Life Insurance Handbook.

    *MOSERS' life insurance is not available to employees of the Department of Conservation or state regional colleges/universities except for Lincoln University and State Technical College of Missouri.

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  • Social Security

    Apr 17, 2018, 9:01 AM By MOSERS

    If a past employee opts to withdraw MOSERS funds all at once upon early retirement age, will that effect their monthly social security amount down the road, after reaching eligible age for such?

    MOSERS does not offer a lump-sum withdrawal option of your monthly retirement/pension benefit if you take early retirement.

    As far as Social Security retirement benefits are concerned, your MOSERS benefit is a “public” pension and, therefore, is not considered a salary or wage so it does not count towards the annual earnings limit for Social Security. Earnings while in a MOSERS-covered position were also covered by Social Security, so there is no reduction in your Social Security benefit due to your MOSERS benefit. (See the information from Social Security on the “Windfall Elimination Provision” at https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf for more information.) We encourage you speak to a tax professional or financial advisor for advice specific to your situation. For more information about Social Security, the Social Security Administration website iswww.ssa.govor call them toll-free at (800) 772-1213.

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  • Defined Benefit Pension & Social Security

    Apr 10, 2018, 1:52 PM By MOSERS

    Social Security says your benefit may be reduced if you get a pension from work not covered by Social Security. Is Mosers retirement covered or not covered?

    Your employment that counted toward your MOSERS pension was covered by Social Security. Additionally, your MOSERS benefit is a “public” pension and, therefore, is not considered a salary or wage. It does not count towards the annual earnings limit for Social Security. (See the information from Social Security on the “Windfall Elimination Provision” at https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf for more information.)

    We also suggest you speak to a tax professional or financial advisor for advice specific to your situation. For more information about Social Security, the Social Security Administration website is www.ssa.gov or call them toll-free at (800) 772-1213.

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  • Termination & Retirement Benefits

    Apr 3, 2018, 3:59 PM By MOSERS

    If you are fired from state government, with or without just cause, do you lose your retirement benefits?

    No. If you are vested with MOSERS (you have at least 5 years of service) and then leave state employment, you will be eligible* for a lifetime monthly benefit, which will begin once you meet the age requirement (and all other legal requirements) and retire under a MOSERS defined benefit pension plan. In general, your benefits will be based on the laws in effect on the day you leave state employment.

    See What’s My Plan? (bottom of the MOSERS website homepage) with information about plan membership, retirement eligibility requirements, and other plan provisions. Contact a MOSERS benefit counselor to discuss your specific situation. You may also contact a MOSERS benefit counselor to request benefit estimates for various scenarios (including a scenario of leaving employment prior to retirement eligibility).

    *An exception is if you were fired because you were convicted of a specified felony committed in connection with your job as a state employee on or after August 28, 2014. See Missouri Revised Statute §105.669.

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  • MOSERS Temporary Benefit & Social Security Benefits

    Apr 3, 2018, 3:29 PM By MOSERS

    I turned 62 on Feb 1, 2018. While I was aware that I would be SS eligible at 62, it was my understanding that my retirement supplemental benefit would remain in affect until I elected to take Social Security. Now I see from Mosers correspondence, buried on member website, that my benefit dropped $1130/month on March 30. I was not informed of this until March 26.

    Why wasn't I informed sooner so that I could make some decisions on how I was going to cover this difference.
    This is a disservice to members. I am sure others have been shocked and inconvenienced as well.

    For the sake of others reaching this 62 year old threshold, this procedure needs to change.

    We apologize that you were surprised that the Temporary Benefit ends at age 62. The MOSERS Temporary Benefit* was designed to serve as a bridge between your MOSERS retirement and your eligibility for early Social Security benefits but the two are not directly linked. The MOSERS Temporary Benefit ends at age 62 regardless of your decision to apply for early Social Security retirement benefits or not. Taking early/reduced Social Security benefits, as opposed to waiting until you are eligible for full Social Security benefits, is a personal decision with pros and cons on both sides. We encourage you to talk with a financial advisor or staff at the Social Security Administration to help you decide which is best for you individually.

    In addition to sending the letter you mentioned, we discuss in PreRetirement Seminars and note in the General Employees’ Retirement Handbook (MSEP/MSEP 2000), on benefit estimates, and in Annual Benefit Statements that the Temporary Benefit ends at age 62. In order for the Temporary Benefit to be payable beyond age 62, current law would have to be changed.

    *The Temporary Benefit is a provision of the MSEP 2000 or MSEP 2011. It is not available in the MSEP. The Temporary Benefit applies only if you retire under MSEP 2000 or MSEP 2011and are younger than age 62 when you retire.

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  • Lump-Sum Payment Options

    Apr 3, 2018, 8:58 AM By MOSERS

    If I resign before my retirement date and am vested is there an option to take a lump sum payment? To either rollover into a personal IRA or cash out. If so how do I figure that amount?

    No, there is currently no lump-sum option in the scenario you described. If you are vested with MOSERS (you have at least 5 years of service) and then leave state employment prior to reaching the age to qualify for retirement eligibility, you would be considered a “terminated-vested” member. You will become eligible to begin drawing your lifetime monthly benefit payments once you also meet the age requirement (and all other legal requirements) and retire under a MOSERS defined benefit pension plan.

    The scenarios in which a lump-sum option are available through MOSERS are the following:

    1. BackDROP - Work in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position at least two years beyond normal retirement eligibility and then you can elect a lump-sum payment at retirement in addition to your lifetime monthly benefit payments.
    2. Refund of Employee Contributions - If you are a member of the MSEP 2011 or Judicial Plan 2011 (first employed in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position on or after 1/1/2011 and contribute 4% of our pay to MOSERS) and you leave state employment prior to reaching normal retirement eligibility, you may request a refund of your member contributions.
    3. If you meet the qualifications for the Cash Out program (available only to vested members of MSEP who left state employment between 10/1/1984 and 9/1/2002) or a “Buyout” program authorized by the legislature (among other eligibility criteria, you must not have worked in a MOSERS or MPERS benefit-eligible position at any time since 6/30/2017), you may be eligible for a lump-sum payment. However, no one currently employed in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position is eligible for either the Cash Out or Buyout lump-sum program.

    Keep in mind that any of the following may affect your retirement eligibility: Your retirement plan (MSEP, MSEP 2011, etc.), age, service, and if you retire directly from active employment versus leaving state government and waiting to retire. Contact a MOSERS benefit counselor to discuss your specific situation. You may also contact a MOSERS benefit counselor to request benefit estimates for various scenarios (including a scenario of leaving employment prior to retirement eligibility).

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  • MOSERS' Appropriations

    Apr 3, 2018, 8:42 AM By MOSERS

    Now that the House has passed and sent to the Senate HB 2005, could you tell me whether the amounts appropriated for MOSERS ($417,959,249) include all of the amount requested by the MOSERS Board and, if not, what percentage of the request it does include.

    Also, could you tell me whether the amount appropriated for MCHCP ($499,756,307) includes the amount requested by MCHCP to subsidize retired state employees' secondary insurance premiums as has been the case in past years?

    Yes, the amount appropriated by the House Appropriations subcommittee in HB 2005 fully funds the employer contribution rate as certified by the MOSERS Board. HB 2005 has now been sent to the Senate and must be passed in the Senate and then signed by the Governor. Changes could still be made. We will monitor all bills related to retirement benefits and let our members know about changes, if any, that may affect them.

    The House Appropriations subcommittee included $449,656,307 as the state’s contribution to MCHCP. Since health care is a benefit that we do not administer at MOSERS, we are not in a position to comment about whether or not it was the amount requested by MCHCP. Please contact MCHCP directly at (800) 487-0771 or www.mchcp.org for more information.

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Disclaimer

We strive to provide the most accurate information possible in our answers to Rumor Central questions. However, occasionally, laws, policies or provisions change and individual circumstances may vary. Please contact a MOSERS benefit counselor or see the handbooks in our website Library for more detailed information. If there is any difference between the information provided in this blog or on the MOSERS website and the law or policies that govern MOSERS, the law and policies will prevail. See our Privacy, Security & Legal Notices for more information.