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A Publication for VRS Employers
May 2017 | Archives
Your Turn to Ask: One of our deputy sheriffs, who was hired after January 1, 2014, has now moved into a non-hazardous duty position. Would he change to another retirement plan in myVRS Navigator?

Modernization Updates

Purchase of Prior Service Updates in myVRS Navigator
myVRS Navigator has been updated to allow employers to enter credit for the following types of service:
  • Disability credit conversion at retirement.
  • Sick leave conversion at retirement.
  • Service not reported by the employer.
Special note for state employers: Currently, employers cannot enter disability credits for members who are not active. VRS will adjust that limitation in myVRS Navigator with a May 4 system update. After that update, employers may enter disability conversion credits into the employee’s VRS member account only during 90-day periods before and after retirement.
 
FAQs You May Get From Members Using myVRS to Initiate Purchases of Prior Service
Now that VRS members have the ability to initiate service purchases online, you may continue to receive some questions. Here are a few common questions and answers to assist you. And, as always, call VRS toll-free at 888-827-3847 and ask to speak to an employer adviser if you need additional assistance.

 
Q I committed to a purchase of prior service payroll agreement using myVRS, and I’ve changed my mind. How do I cancel the agreement? 

The member may cancel an agreement that has been submitted through myVRS but not yet approved by the employer. Once it is approved by the employer, the member can no longer cancel it in myVRS. The employer can cancel it in myVRS Navigator as long as it is still in Submitted or Approved status. Once the agreement is in Active status, only VRS can cancel it.

 

QI am no longer in a hazardous duty job, but I am considering purchasing refunded service from a period when I was in a hazardous duty position; will it count toward the hazardous duty supplement (or 2 percent multiplier under VaLORS, if applicable)?  

Maybe. The purchase of refunded service from a hazardous duty position will only count toward the supplement (or 2 percent multiplier under VaLORS, if applicable) if the employee is in a hazardous-duty-covered position when he or she purchases the service or later returns to a hazardous-duty-covered position. However, the purchase now will count toward eligibility for retirement and the health insurance credit.

 

QI started a purchase of prior service agreement while working for my former employer. Does the agreement transfer to my new employer?

The Commonwealth of Virginia is considered to be one employer, so agreements can transfer from one state agency employer to another state agency employer, as long as there isn’t a break in service of more than 30 days. The new state agency employer will receive a secure message in myVRS Navigator with agreement details and will need to set up payroll deductions accordingly.

However, school divisions and political subdivisions are viewed as individual employers. If a member moves from a state agency position to a non-state-agency position or vice versa or changes employment among school divisions or political subdivisions, the member will receive notification that the agreement is canceled due to changing employment. If the canceled agreement was set up as a pre-tax purchase payment agreement, the member cannot purchase the remaining months of service until he or she returns to work in a covered position. At that time, the member may purchase the remaining service only after the original term of the canceled agreement has passed, and the purchase is by lump-sum payment or post-tax payment agreement.
 
Enhanced myVRS Coming Soon for Retirees  
Starting this summer, retirees will gain access to the enhanced myVRS site. The rollout will begin with new retirees, who may continue to use their myVRS member login credentials, provided they registered for the enhanced myVRS before retirement. Access to the new site will gradually expand to existing retirees, who will complete an identity verification process. The end result will be an integrated myVRS system that serves both members and retirees in a secure environment. 

Higher Education Faculty Can Compare ORPHE, VRS Plan Options in myVRS
Beginning in July, new college or university faculty members can use their myVRS accounts to compare and contrast their retirement plan options. Depending on their membership date, new higher education faculty may be eligible for either a VRS defined benefit plan or the Hybrid Retirement Plan, or they may elect the VRS Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education (ORPHE), a defined contribution plan with three providers.

A new comparison tool in myVRS will allow members to evaluate key features of VRS and ORPHE plans based on the following questions:
  • Who will contribute to my plan?
  • How long do I plan to work for a VRS-participating employer?
  • What are my options if I leave employment but do not retire?
  • How much control will I have over my plan?
  • What’s my comfort level with investment risk?
  • When am I eligible to retire?
  • What other factors should I consider?
Members also will have access to a plan comparison calculator to view retirement income projections under each plan.
 

2017 Legislative Summary: Which Laws Impact VRS?

The reconvened session for the 2017 General Assembly concluded April 5. The legislature passed some bills affecting VRS, which are summarized in the 2017 Legislative Summary .
 

Reminder: Teacher Contribution Rates Increase in Fiscal Year 2018

Beginning July 1, the employer contribution rates and the health insurance credit rates for teachers will increase:
 
VRS Employer Contribution Rates by Fiscal Year* 2018
Teachers 16.32%
Other Post-Employment Benefit (OPEB)
Contribution Rates by Fiscal Year
2018
Health Insurance Credit: Teachers 1.23%
* Rates are net of member contributions.

Helpful tip: Be sure to bookmark the Financial Reporting page in your web browser and refer to it for resources and links that will assist with financial reporting related to VRS-administered benefit plans. The section also includes for your reference the current pension contribution rates as well as other post-employment benefit contribution rates.

 

LODA Fund Participating Employers: Your Coverage Lists Are Due May 31

If you participate in the Line of Duty Act (LODA) Fund, you should have received a packet requesting an update of your LODA coverage list. Packets were mailed or emailed to human resource managers at the end of April and included a list of fiscal year 2017 eligible employees and volunteers, along with instructions for updating the list.

Return updated coverage lists to VRS on or before May 31. If you have questions about the packet or did not receive one, please email loda@varetire.org.

Not sure if your agency is a LODA Fund participating employer? See a list of LODA Fund participating employers .

 

myVRS Navigator: Select the Correct Status When Someone Retires or Separates

When processing a member’s separation in myVRS Navigator, you will see a number of options for Employment Status in the Employment Details section of the member’s record. From a drop-down menu, you can choose: separation, involuntary separation, transitional benefit program-separated and transitional benefit program-retired.

The system does not include an employment status option for “retired.” If a member is retiring, including those retiring under the Workforce Transition Act, then select “separation” and also submit the member’s completed retirement application to VRS.

The transitional benefit program is only available to political subdivision or school division employers that have elected the benefit. To date, no elections have been received by VRS.

The General Assembly established the benefit in 2010 to allow school divisions and political subdivisions to provide a transitional severance benefit or an enhanced retirement benefit to employees who are involuntarily separated from employment. Employers interested in electing this benefit should contact your VRS employer representative.
 

Hazardous Duty Supplement Set to Increase July 1

Effective July 1, the annual hazardous duty supplement increases from $13,548 per year to $13,584 per year for eligible members.

The supplement is a dollar amount added to an eligible member’s monthly benefit, beginning at retirement and continuing until normal retirement age under Social Security. The supplement ends at age 65 for certain VaLORS retirees who elected to retain the 1.7 percent multiplier and remain eligible for the supplement.

The hazardous duty supplement is evaluated by the VRS actuary every two years as required by the Code of Virginia
  

Financial Literacy Month logo

RealizeRetirement Tour Visits Virginia 

Retirement planning doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it can be exciting to envision the myriad possibilities for life after work. That’s the aim of ICMA-RC’s RealizeRetirement Tour, which stops at several locations in Virginia this month.
 
The brightly colored tour truck offers engaging, interactive displays to encourage VRS members to begin saving for their future. If your workplace is located near a tour stop, encourage members to turn out for the activities, which aim to inspire some forward-thinking about retirement and how to save for it now.
 
State employees working in Richmond can enjoy the virtual retirement experience when the tour makes stops in downtown Richmond, May 8-9.
  • Monday, May 8, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Near the James Madison Building (intersection of E. Grace and Governor streets)
  • Tuesday, May 9, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Near Richmond City Hall at Ninth Street (between Broad and Marshall streets)
Defined contribution plans specialists and VRS member counselors will be on hand to help answer members’ questions about retirement and other benefits.
 
For more information about upcoming tour stops in the state and details about the truck exhibits, visit www.varetire.org/rrtour.
 

  Announcements

Public Service Recognition Week Is May 7-13: The Virginia Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) offers a Public Service Recognition Week toolkit for managers that includes ideas and resources to help employers honor the work and service of their employees.
 
New Paycheck Calculator Helps Hybrid Members Plan: A new tool helps Hybrid Retirement Plan members see the impact of voluntary contributions and other deductions on their paycheck. The visually interactive calculator allows members to experiment with various percentages of voluntary contributions and choose a percentage that works for them. The next quarterly deadline for changing voluntary contribution elections is 4 p.m., June 15.

New Look for VRS Defined Contribution Plans: The VRS Defined Contribution Plans have a revamped logo and branding coming soon. You’ll spot the new DCP-Virginia Retirement System logo on our defined contribution plans websites and in other materials.
 
Are you new to administering VRS benefits? Let us know so our employer representative team can introduce themselves to you and assist you with locating resources, manuals and training opportunities.
 
Order VRS Publications.
 

  Employer Training & Events

Classroom and webinar courses are posted on the VRS website as they are scheduled. Stay tuned to Employer Training for new offerings. Other e-learning modules are available through VRS University in the Commonwealth of Virginia Learning Center.

Current Training


  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 educational resources are available to Hybrid Retirement Plan members. They can register for a group seminar to learn more about the hybrid plan defined benefit and defined contribution components as well as other VRS benefits. 

 

  Form Updates

To ensure faster processing of retirement and other forms — and to ensure you are using the most up-to-date versions of VRS forms — use the latest fillable VRS forms on the website.

VRS now also accepts copies and faxes of all forms. Please use the fax number indicated on the form you are sending to ensure the correct department receives it. If you are on a deadline when faxing a document, please call or email to alert VRS of its pending arrival. Also, it is good practice to use a cover sheet, particularly if you are sending the fax to a specific VRS staff member.

Important note: VRS does not accept forms via email, which is not considered a secure form of communication.

 

Financial 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

Q: One of our deputy sheriffs, who was hired after January 1, 2014, has now moved into a non-hazardous duty position. Would he change to another retirement plan in myVRS Navigator?

Possibly. Based on the date he became a member of VRS, you may need to switch him to the Hybrid Retirement Plan using myVRS Navigator.

Employees in hazardous duty positions are not eligible for the hybrid plan, provided their employers have elected the enhanced benefit for hazardous duty or the alternate option. Instead, they would be classified as Plan 2 members and receive hazardous duty benefits.

Upon starting a non-hazardous duty position, employees with a membership date on or after January 1, 2014, would move into the hybrid plan no matter how long they may have worked previously in the hazardous duty position, even if they were vested. An employee whose membership date is before January 1, 2014, however, would remain in either Plan 1 or Plan 2 upon starting a non-hazardous duty position, provided that the employee has not taken a refund of member contributions and interest from his or her defined benefit account.  

 

Have a question?

Email the Employer Support Team or contact 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 © 2017 Virginia Retirement System

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