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  • COLA This Year?

    Dec 11, 2018, 8:09 AM By MOSERS

    Will there be any COLA this year?

    Every year, we calculate and announce the retiree COLAs in mid-January. We won’t have data for the 2019 COLA until mid-January of 2019 because the information necessary to make that calculation is based on a comparison of changes from 2017 to 2018. The rate calculation is based on 80% of the percentage increase in the average CPI from one year to the next with a maximum increase of 5% (minimum 0%).* We will send you a notice, either in the mail or in your MOSERS Document Express online mailbox, during the month when you get your COLA.

    Watch our website in January for more information. Learn more on the COLA pageand in the upcoming issue of RetireeNew coming in late December.

    * If you retired under the MSEP, and were hired before August 28, 1997, your COLA will be determined based on the annual COLA calculation except that you will receive a minimum 4% COLA (maximum 5%) until accumulated COLAs reach 65% of your initial (or original) benefit. This is called your COLA cap. After your benefit has increased to the COLA cap amount, your COLA will be between 0-5% each year.

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  • Part-Time Employment

    Dec 11, 2018, 8:03 AM By MOSERS

    My initial State employment was as a part time employee. Do any of those years count towards my years of service when calculating my retirement options?

    No, most likely not. The position must be “benefit-eligible”. Part-time positions are usually not benefit-eligible so that service likely does not count for retirement purposes. You will receive service credit only for periods that your employer reports you worked in a benefit-eligible position and for which they made employer contributions to MOSERS.

    A position is benefit-eligible if it normally requires the employee to work at least 1,040 hours per year.

    If the position meets both requirements, the position is eligible for MOSERS benefits. If not, the position is not eligible for MOSERS benefits. You may contact a MOSERS benefit counselor and they can tell you what service we have on record for you and provide you with benefit estimates.

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  • Survivor Benefit for Vested Employee

    Dec 3, 2018, 1:45 PM By MOSERS

    Employee is vested and dies before retirement, will their spouse receive any retirement benefit.

    Yes, if you are a general state employee, married, vested in MOSERS, and die before you retire with MOSERS, your eligible surviving spouse will receive survivor benefits. Survivor benefit payments can begin as early as the month following your death provided that MOSERS receives and processes the survivor application and all necessary documentation, such as a death certificate*. The monthly benefit for your spouse will be based on the benefit you have accrued as of your date of death and calculated according to the Joint & 100% Survivor Option. The survivor benefit will be paid monthly for the remainder of your spouse's lifetime. You can find information regarding the death of a member on our website. Survivors should contact a MOSERS benefit counselor for guidance through the process.

    Otherwise, during the retirement process, you will make elections to determine if any potential survivor benefits will be paid to anyone after your death or not.

    *Exception: The “immediate” survivor benefit provision is not available for terminated-vested members of MSEP 2011 who were first employed on or after January 1, 2018. This was a change made in SB62 during the 2017 legislative session as a cost offset for the reduction in the vesting requirement from 10 years to 5 years for members of MSEP 2011. Eligible survivors of such members will begin receiving benefits when the deceased member would have attained normal retirement age.

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  • Final Average Pay and BackDROP Period

    Nov 29, 2018, 10:43 AM By MOSERS

    My Pension is based on my best 36 months earnings. Wages during my 5 year BackDrop period are excluded. What if my best 36 months are after I complete my 5 year BackDrop period?

    Any pay earned after your BackDROP date (the beginning of your BackDROP period) does not count - it is excluded - when we calculate your monthly retirement benefit. We will look at your entire pay history in your MOSERS-covered employment prior to your BackDROP period to find your highest 36 consecutive months of pay and use that to calculate your monthly benefit.

    Remember, your BackDROP period, whether it is a 2-year or 5-year period, will always be immediately prior to your retirement date. That means, you wouldn’t continue to be employed in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position after your BackDROP period.

    This is one of the factors to consider when making your elections about BackDROP. You can run benefit estimates under a variety of scenarios by logging in to myMOSERS or contact a MOSERS benefit counselor to run them for you. You may find our Creating a Benefit Estimate video and our Comparison Calculator video helpful in weighing your options.

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  • Pension Buyout?

    Nov 20, 2018, 10:40 AM By MOSERS

    Will there be another pension buyout? 

    There are no plans in place at this time to offer another buyout option. The Missouri Legislature authorized the MOSERS Board of Trustees to offer the recent Buyout Program under SB 62 but that authorization expired on May 31, 2018. This was a one-time program. If MOSERS were to offer another buyout program in the future, it would require legislative approval. If such legislation passed, we would notify all eligible members.

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  • Leaving Employment Before Retirement Date

    Nov 20, 2018, 8:03 AM By MOSERS

    My retirement plan is MOSERS 2011. If I leave state employment AFTER I am vested but BEFORE my retirement age/date, how do I figure my monthly benefit amount?

    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.

    For general state employees, we calculate retirement benefits using this three-part formula:

    Final Average Pay (FAP) x Credited Service x Multiplier = Monthly Base Benefi

    (The multiplier is determined by your plan; 1.6% for MSEP; 1.7% for MSEP 2000/MSEP 2011.)

    Example

    FAP $3,000 (per month) x 7.5 years of Credited Service x 0.017 Multiplier for MSEP 2011 = $382.50 Monthly Base Benefit

    Keep in mind that additional service will increase your benefit:

    FAP $3,000 (per month) x 23 years of Credited Service x 0.017 Multiplier for MSEP 2011= $1,173 Monthly Base Benefit

    As a member of MSEP 2011, you will become eligible for normal retirement when you have at least 5 years of service and reach age 67 OR under the “Rule of 90” which is when you are at least age 55 and your age plus service equals 90 prior to you leaving state employment.

    As a member of MSEP 2011, you pay contributions to help fund the system. Upon termination of employment, you may request a refund of your contributions or you may leave your contributions with MOSERS. It you take a refund of your contributions, you will forfeit all your credited service and any future rights to receive benefits from the system, but you get a check equal to the amount of contributions you made plus any interest. See our Employee Contributions brochure (2011 Plan) for more information.

    For more information, see the MSEP 2011 Retirement Plan video or the General Employees' Retirement Handbook (MSEP 2011). You can also contact a MOSERS benefit counselor to request a benefit estimate.

    *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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  • COLAs and BackDROP

    Nov 16, 2018, 1:36 PM By MOSERS

    My retirement date is January 1, 2019 and my backdrop date is March 1, 2016. Will I receive a COLA on my backdrop date in March, 2019?

    Typically, members receive a COLA each year on the anniversary of their retirement date, unless one of the exceptions* applies. In your case, since you elected BackDROP, your COLAs will be payable each year on the anniversary of your BackDROP date rather than on the anniversary of your retirement date. In your specific case, your COLAs will be awarded in March, and you will receive a COLA on March 1, 2019.

    We will determine the 2019 COLA in mid-January of 2019, and will announce the COLA amount on our website. We will send you (all members) a notice, either in the mail or in your MOSERS Document Express online mailbox, when the COLA is applied to your monthly benefit payment.

    *The other exceptions of when COLAs are applied include:

    • Retirees who converted from MSEP to MSEP 2000 during the conversion window in 2000 have COLAs payable each year in July.
    •  MSEP 2011 members hired after January 1, 2018 who leave state employment prior to retirement eligibility, will receive their first COLA in retirement on the second anniversary of their retirement.
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  • Public Pension?

    Oct 16, 2018, 3:31 PM By MOSERS

    Is MOSERS a public or private pension?

    MOSERS is a public defined benefit (DB) pension plan so the benefit you receive through MOSERS is considered a public pension. As long as you reside in Missouri, your retirement benefits are subject to Missouri state income tax and federal tax. You may also be interested in information we have posted in the Missouri state tax Public Pension Exemption flyer.

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  • Sick Leave & Retirement

    Oct 16, 2018, 1:13 PM By MOSERS

    There's a rumor going around that employees can no longer use their sick leave toward their retirement. I haven't heard of any changes, but I wanted to make sure since I handle retirement at our facility and have been asked. Thank you!

    Often, people misunderstand how unused sick leave affects their MOSERS pension benefit. Unused sick leave does NOT count towards service for retirement ELIGIBILITY. It never has. In other words, it will not make you eligible for retirement sooner than you would have been without it. You must meet both the age and service requirements – not counting unused sick leave – to be eligible to retire.

    As part of your retirement benefit calculation, we will add one month of additional service for each block of 168 hours of unused sick leave you have at retirement. This will increase the AMOUNT of your benefit payment every month in retirement. Unused sick leave cannot count toward eligibility for retirement or as part of your BackDROP period. That is, the months of unused sick leave will not make you eligible for retirement (or BackDROP) sooner, but will increase the amount of your payment once you have retired.

    There are some specific situations in which unused sick leave doesn’t count:

    • MSEP 2011 members: If you leave state employment after January 1, 2018 and prior to being eligible for early or normal retirement, you will get no service credit for unused sick leave.
    • MSEP retirees: If you leave state employment prior to being eligible for early or normal retirement, you will get no service credit for your unused sick leave.
    • Legislators, statewide elected officials, and judges: You do not accrue sick leave.

     

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  • Employer Contribution Rate

    Oct 5, 2018, 8:04 AM By MOSERS

    I see the contribution rate has gone up to 21.77%. You're back at the trough again. I suppose it makes your job easier when all you have to do is simply charge institutions like MSSU more. It's an unfunded mandate that puts significant financial stress on all Missouri universities.

    Where can I find the contribution rates for previous years? Is it a constant upward trend with no end in sight?

    See our Employer Contribution Rate infographic for a summary of contribution rates.

    After considerable deliberation, the MOSERS Board of Trustees voted to lower the assumed rate of return (ARR) on investments from 7.50% to 7.25% and intends to further reduce the ARR to 6.95% for the June 30, 2020 actuarial valuation.

    Funding for the system comes from 1) investment returns, 2) employer contributions, and 3) employee contributions (from those first employed in a benefit-eligible position on or after 1/1/2011).

    Changing the assumption about the amount of funding that will come from investments (the ARR) automatically causes employer contributions to increase and our funded status to decrease in the short term, but will work to ensure MOSERS’ sustainability over the long term.

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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.