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A Publication for VRS Employers
July 2018 | Archives

Your Turn to Ask Your Turn to Ask: Can I name more than one Security Administrator in myVRS Navigator?

MBPs Coming in Late Summer

The 2018 Member Benefit Profiles (MBPs) for Plan 1 and Plan 2 members will be available in their myVRS accounts in late summer.

The MBP is the employee’s annual benefit statement based on information you reported to VRS as of June 30. It provides account balance information, retirement eligibility and eligibility for other benefits, such as group life insurance and the health insurance credit. If you have employees who do not have online access, you can look up their MBPs in myVRS Navigator.

You will receive a notification when employees' MBPs are ready. VRS also will provide you with promotional materials to help remind employees to view their MBPs in myVRS.

For Hybrid Retirement Plan employees: MBPs are currently not available for Hybrid Retirement Plan employees. They may view their defined benefit and defined contribution account balances from the myVRS homepage. Hybrid plan members also now have access to the new goal-based Retirement Planner and the Benefit Estimator. These features allow members to enter different retirement date scenarios and see estimates of their defined benefit and defined contribution account balances.


Modernization Update: Transition to Online Retirement Extended

Employer certification of retirement applications in myVRS Navigator, a process originally slated to begin this October, will now shift to 2019, followed as soon as feasible by the submission of online retirement applications by members.

Extending the implementation timeline enables VRS to continue software development to support the best experience for members and employers. Though the dates of the rollout are changing, all planned features will remain the same, with members gaining access to pre-retirement counseling and a step-by-step retirement application facilitated through myVRS.

The online process will provide a consistent retirement experience, with built-in guidance at key decision points. Additionally, members and retirees will gain the ability to update their beneficiary information online.

Employers should continue to use existing processes for submitting members’ retirement applications. Watch for continued updates as VRS completes the next phases of development.

Fiscal Year-End Reminders

myVRS Navigator: Year-End Preparation

Check Out the Fiscal Year-End Reminders Webpage

See the Fiscal Year-End Reminders webpage for details on tasks employers perform in myVRS Navigator during the summer. Be sure to bookmark the page in your web browser and refer to it for information and resources that will assist with financial reporting related to VRS-administered benefit plans.

IRS Annual Compensation Limits Increased for 2018

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced increased Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 401(a)(17) PDF Icon annual compensation limits for 2018:

  • Employees with membership dates before April 9, 1996: $405,000
  • Employees with membership dates on or after April 9, 1996: $275,000

Income over the amounts provided cannot be considered part of an employee’s creditable compensation in VRS retirement plans. Creditable compensation is the employee’s annual salary not including overtime, extraordinary or bonus pay; housing, cell phone or vehicle allowances; termination pay for annual or sick leave; non-permanent shift differentials; payment of a temporary nature; or payments for extra duties, such as pay for teachers who provide coaching or act as an adviser for special activities.

If an employee’s annual salary exceeds the 401(a)(17) compensation limit, myVRS Navigator automatically calculates creditable compensation and contributions using the limit. Employers should report the employee’s actual salary. Do not withhold the member contribution on the excess salary from the employee. Instead, pay it to the employee as wages. Although the limit for 2018 was announced and effective for January 1, VRS applies the limit on a plan-year basis (July 1 to June 30).

For more information, contact the Employer Support Team or call 1-888-827-3847.


Prepare for GASB 75 Reporting Requirements for Post-Employment Benefits

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, most VRS employers will be required to implement provisions of Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 75 PDF Icon as part of financial reporting for other post-employment benefit (OPEB) plans.

Look to VRS’ Financial Reporting pages in the coming weeks for the following resources:

  • GASB 75 reports from the VRS actuary for each of the OPEB plans. The VRS actuary will produce separate employer-level reports for each of the political subdivisions that participate in the health insurance credit program. (These reports will not be posted on the VRS website but instead mailed to employers.)
  • Audit Reports with the Auditor of Public Accounts Opinion for each of the OPEB plans, except VLDP.
  • Sample Journal Entries needed to establish the opening balance as of June 30, 2016, and to record the OPEB expense and other data for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017.
  • Sample Note Disclosures for each of the OPEB plans, including the plan descriptions and other related information.
  • Spreadsheets with an analysis of the changes in the net OPEB liability for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, for each employer within each of the OPEB plans.
VRS employer website screen capture

Have You Bookmarked the New Employer Website?

By now, you’ve probably had a chance to explore the new VRS website for employers. Be sure to bookmark the new URL in your browser for speedy access.

All content is tailored to your needs, with key administrative information quickly accessible from the home page. New features include the Employer Hub, Quick Topics and News and Insights, plus you’ll find familiar features, including forms, publications and VRS plans and benefits information.

We’d appreciate hearing about your experience using the site. Are you finding the resources you need? Do you have a suggestion for an improvement? Please email us at proffice@varetire.org.

women at laptop with myVRS logo

Encourage Employees to Register for myVRS

An important way VRS members can help protect themselves from identity theft involving their VRS benefits is to set up their online myVRS account soon after they’re hired.

By registering for myVRS, completing the identity-verification steps and then establishing a password-protected account, members are helping prevent someone else from laying claim to the account fraudulently.

Even if the employee doesn’t plan to use myVRS immediately, taking ownership of the account is a smart defensive move.

Employees can access resources tailored to their needs: Once employees log into myVRS, they’ll find a growing library of tools and resources to assist them throughout their careers, including the new myVRS Financial Wellness program, the myVRS Retirement Planner and the myVRS Benefit Estimator.

Using myVRS, employees can delve into financial education resources tailored to their personal profiles, set personal goals and save financial plans. They also will receive content recommendations, based on their retirement plan and age. Calculators, educational games and mini-courses focus on a variety of topics, including:

  • Managing debt
  • Home and real estate
  • Saving for goals
  • Credit cards
  • Insurance
  • Taxes

VRS is providing these resources to help employees grow their knowledge and confidence in making day-to-day financial decisions, which will, in turn, aid them in preparing for retirement.

So, as new hires are settling in, thank you for your assistance in providing this important security reminder to register for their myVRS accounts, and then encouraging employees to explore the free retirement-planning resources designed with their needs in mind.

handbook covers

VRS Member Handbooks Updated for July 1

VRS has updated all member handbooks to reflect July 1 legislative and administrative changes. Printed handbooks are updated with addendums, and handbooks available only online have been updated within the text. Please recycle all old versions of member handbooks.

The Code of Virginia requires that all new employees receive a summary plan description within 90 days of employment. Employers can provide a print or an electronic copy. Handbooks are also available to members from the VRS website.

Do you need to order VRS publications? VRS prints Plan 2 handbooks for VaLORS, SPORS and hazardous duty employees in political subdivisions and handbooks for Hybrid Retirement Plan members. As a reminder, all Plan 1 handbooks and Plan 2 handbooks for state, teacher and local government employees are no longer available in print, as those plans are closed to new members.


New Employer Contribution Rates Effective as of July 1

New employer contribution rates and other post-employment benefits contribution rates took effect July 1. The 2019-2020 state budget includes appropriations for 100 percent of the actuarially determined contribution rates for state and teacher plans.

You can view contribution rates online in the Financial Reporting section of the new VRS employer website. Rates will not be updated in myVRS Navigator until VRS has completed its fiscal year-end processing.


Announcements  Announcements

Transitional Benefits Program extended to 2020: The General Assembly extended the Transitional Benefits Program to June 30, 2020 (refer to Item 474 in the 2019-2020 state budget bill). The program allows school divisions and VRS-participating political subdivisions to provide a transitional severance benefit or an enhanced retirement benefit to employees who are involuntarily separated from employment, if adopted by the governing body. 

ICMA-RC has a new bank account number: ICMA-RC is streamlining its banking services for VRS-participating employers. Employers submitting payments via ACH credit or wire should update the new account information to ensure payments are posted without any delay. Starting August 1, ICMA-RC will use the new bank account to process ACH debit payments. You will need to contact your financial institution to provide the new ACH debit company ID for ICMA-RC to ensure your ACH debit payment requests are not rejected. If you have questions, call the ICMA-RC Employer Support Team at 1-877-327-5261 (select option 3) or email DefinedContributionsEmployerSupport@icmarc.org.

Hybrid Retirement Plan payroll guide updated: VRS has revised its Payroll Guide for Political Subdivisions, School Divisions and Decentralized State Employers PDF Icon. Directed to human resource and payroll staff, the guide takes you through the process of enrolling new hires in the hybrid plan, auto-escalation steps, and making salary adjustments and submitting contributions, among other topics.

Keep your EZ link account up to date: To ensure you get important communications from ICMA-RC, keep your EZLink account information up to date, especially email addresses. Be sure to log-in periodically. Your account will be deactivated after 12 months of inactivity.

Chapter on hazardous duty benefits added to VRS Employer Manual: You will find a new chapter on Hazardous Duty Benefits PDF Icon in the VRS Employer Manual. It covers the Virginia Law Officers’ Retirement System (VaLORS), the State Police Officers’ Retirement System (SPORS), enhanced hazardous duty coverage for eligible political subdivision employees, the Hazardous Duty Alternate Option, purchasing prior service and hiring a former hazardous duty employee.

New to administering VRS benefits? Regardless of your title, if you help administer any of the VRS benefits provided to employees and are new to your position, we want to hear from you. Take a few minutes to introduce yourself to VRS. Our team can give you the tools and expertise you need as you get up to speed on all things VRS.

Order VRS Publications.


 Employer Training & Events

All your training needs, covered in one place: In addition to instructor-led training, VRS offers a comprehensive educational program to help employers understand VRS benefits, perform necessary business responsibilities and counsel employees:

VRS has scheduled a number of webinars that explore a single topic in depth:

Title Description Date/Time
Contributions Understand how member and employer contributions are calculated for Plan 1, Plan 2 and Hybrid Retirement Plan employees. July 18, 10 a.m. - noon
Health Insurance Credit Learn how to navigate the application process and how the credit is paid. August 29, 10-11 a.m.
Death in Service Improve your knowledge of how to counsel employees on how death benefits are paid. September 20, 2-3 p.m.
Disability Retirement Benefits administrators: Increase your disability retirement counseling skills. October 31, 10-11:30 a.m.
View More


Member Education  Member Education & Events

Classroom and webinar courses are posted on the VRS website as they are scheduled. Plan 1 and Plan 2 members may register from our Education and Counseling pages for new offerings.

Several hybrid plan educational resources are available. Hybrid plan members can register for a group seminar or a one-on-one consultation to learn more about the hybrid plan defined benefit and defined contribution components as well as other VRS benefits. Hybrid plan seminars are available in various regions across Virginia.


Form Updates  Form Updates

Are you using the right form? Before you complete and send a form to VRS, take a quick moment to look at the revision date in the lower left-hand corner. If you downloaded the form some time ago and photocopy it when you need it, chances are the form is not current. VRS frequently updates its forms. To ensure faster processing of retirement and other forms, be sure to use the latest fillable VRS forms.

VRS accepts faxes of all forms: Fax them to 804-786-9718. If you are on a deadline when faxing a document, please call or email to alert VRS of its pending arrival. Also, it’s helpful to use a cover sheet, particularly if you are sending the fax to a specific VRS staff member.


Financial ReportingFinancial Reporting

Be sure to bookmark the employers’ Financial Reporting section, where you can find resources and links to assist with financial reporting related to VRS-administered benefit plans.


Your Turn to Ask Your Turn to Ask

Can I name more than one Security Administrator in myVRS Navigator?

Yes. More than one Security Administrator may be named in myVRS Navigator; however, one person must be identified as the Primary Security Administrator. It’s advisable to name more than one Security Administrator, in case the primary administrator goes out on leave unexpectedly.

The Security Administrator is the administrative contact who adds other user contacts and manages access to myVRS Navigator by assigning the appropriate security roles to those contacts. This contact will automatically have all employer roles in myVRS Navigator, which allows full access to the system and its processes.

To assign a Security Administrator, submit a new Authorization of Administrative Contacts (VRS-67A) PDF Icon identifying the employee. You must complete the form in its entirety, even for contacts that have not changed, as it will replace any previous ones on file at VRS.

For more information on myVRS Navigator roles, see the Employer Roles and myVRS Navigator Security Access Job Aid in the Managing Contacts myVRS Navigator training course located in the Commonwealth of Virginia Learning Center.


Have a question?

Contact the Employer Support Team or your Employer Representative.

Important Email Notice: Do not send personal or confidential information, such as a Social Security number, by email. VRS will send only non-confidential replies.

Copyright © 2018 Virginia Retirement System

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