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Jan 23, 2019, 9:15 AM By MOSERS
I'd always thought retirement benefits were based on the highest pay of our state employment career. I was told by a coworker who recently attended a pre-retirement seminar that once you become eligible (under the rule of 80 for MSEP employees), that the highest pay rate considered for retirement benefits is already locked in and pay increases after that point will have no impact on retirement benefit. Please advise.
What you heard is not necessarily true – so thanks for checking with us! Whether or not pay for a given period will be considered in determining your final average pay (FAP) depends on if you elect BackDROP* (if eligible); not when you hit “80 & Out”.
To calculate your pension benefit, we will use your highest 36 full consecutive months of pay – wherever that occurs in your individual pay history. Practically speaking, most people earn their highest 36 consecutive months of pay in their last three years of state employment, but not always. If you become eligible for and elect the BackDROP upon retirement, your FAP will be calculated using your MOSERS-covered work history prior to your BackDROP date. In other words, pay (and service) during the BackDROP period is excluded when calculating your monthly benefit amount.
If, at retirement, you do not elect BackDROP, we will review your entire pay history and find the 36-month period with your highest pay (regardless of whether that is before or after you might hit “80 & Out”) and will use that in calculating your monthly benefit. You may elect not to take BackDROP if you want all of your pay and service to count. In most cases, opting not to take BackDROP will increase your monthly benefit amount.
*BackDROP is available only to general state employees who are members of MSEP & MSEP 2000 and who work at least two years beyond normal retirement eligibility.
Jan 23, 2019, 8:57 AM By MOSERS
Will state pension still be tax exempt for 2018 pension?
If you are referring to the Public Pension Exemption, we are unaware of any changes to it compared to the previous year. This means that you may not have to pay Missouri state taxes on some or all of your MOSERS pension. See the Missouri State Tax Public Pension Exemption flyer. For more information about taxes, please contact the Missouri Department of Revenue or go to: www.dor.mo.gov/personal/ptc/pension.php.
Jan 23, 2019, 8:44 AM By MOSERS
We received two questions about 1099-Rs recently:
- When will 2018 1099-R be on-line?
- Why can I not receive/access my 1099R online? It would seem to me that it would save thousands of dollars.
You can access an electronic copy of your 1099-R after we have mailed it, which will be by the end of January. Simply log in through myMOSERS to your MOSERS Member Homepage and you will find it listed under Personal Information. Watch our website for more information.
We appreciate your comment indicating you would be ok getting it online only and that it would save money. We have taken that approach with our other publications and correspondence - based on individual member preference. The 1099-R is one document that we still make available to all retirees both in hard copy and online. The decision to do so is based on our experience with retiree preference and needs. However, we will certainly take your suggestion into consideration for future planning.
Jan 18, 2019, 12:52 PM By MOSERS
Does MOSERS use the pay period end date or the check issue date when calculating the highest 36 consecutive months?
In our calculation of final average pay, we credit you based on when the payroll was earned, rather than the month it was actually paid. To calculate your pension benefit, we will use your highest 36 full consecutive months of pay –wherever that occurs in your individual pay history. Practically speaking, most people earn their highest 36 consecutive months of pay in their last three years of state employment, but not always*.
*Note: If you become eligible for and elect the BackDROP upon retirement, your FAP will be calculated using your MOSERS-covered work history prior to your BackDROP date. In other words, pay during the BackDROP period is excluded when calculating your monthly benefit amount.
Jan 17, 2019, 8:25 AM By MOSERS
I need to know if we still have Travel Assistance thru The Standard? I was told it might change beginning 1-1-19 and I will be leaving on a trip out of the US. I am retired & live in Fl. now. It also paid anything over 100 miles from home. Any information will be greatly appreciated.
Yes, members and retirees who have MOSERS basic life insurance* are eligible for travel assistance when traveling at least 100 miles from home or in a foreign country. Family members, including a spouse and children through age 25 are also covered. Medical assistance is one of the services they provide, including locating medical care, 24-hour access to nurses by phone, and emergency transportation services. (Please note: Travel assistance is not the same as travel health insurance. Please contact your health insurance provider regarding health care coverage when travelling.)
*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.
Dec 19, 2018, 10:02 AM By MOSERS
Your RetireeNews, Fall Winter 2017 states if a retiree lives in Missouri, then Missouri state income tax may be due on the pension. Does this imply that if a retiree is a resident of another state (even one without a state income tax) that the Missouri pension is not taxed by the State of Missouri?
Each person’s situation may be different and we cannot advise you on your tax liability as it pertains to your MOSERS pension. We suggest you contact the Missouri Department of Revenue and/or a qualified tax advisor about your tax liability.
MOSERS withholds state taxes only for Missouri residents. If you aren’t a Missouri resident in retirement, contact the appropriate state and local tax authorities to determine the taxability of your MOSERS benefit there. We will mail 1099-R tax forms to all retirees by January 31.
Dec 17, 2018, 8:33 AM By MOSERS
After a person retires and receive their first retirement check, I am curious to know how will it will be paid out? Will it be monthly, or bi-weekly?
Retirees are paid once a month, on the last working day of each month. If you enroll in direct deposit during the retirement process, your payment will be transferred electronically on that day. If you receive a paper check, it will be mailed on the last working day of the month. We encourage retirees to participate in direct deposit, since it is faster and more secure than a paper check.
You can view the Pension Payments page on our website, which we will be updating for 2019 soon.
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.
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.
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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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.