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A Publication for VRS Employers
October 2018 | Archives

Your Turn to Ask Your Turn to Ask: I know that myVRS now offers more retirement-planning tools for members. Do you have any resources available that I can share with employees to promote myVRS registration?

Treasure Map MBP 2018

Annual MBPs Help Members Map Their Course to Retirement

Member Benefit Profiles for 2018 are available to Plan 1 and Plan 2 members in their myVRS accounts.

The MBP is a member’s annual benefit statement, which is based on information reported by an employer to VRS as of June 30. It provides information on the member’s account balance, retirement eligibility and eligibility for other benefits, such as group life insurance and the health insurance credit.

Although Hybrid Retirement Plan members do not receive an MBP, they can look up their account balance and other benefit information in myVRS.

VRS has prepared MBP resources for employers, including a promotional flyer PDF Icon and sample messages for emails and employee newsletters, to help promote MBP availability to your employees. VRS appreciates your efforts to encourage members to log in or register for myVRS, where they will find their 2018 MBPs.

For more information on how to access and print MBPs for employees who may not have computer access, refer to the September Employer Update.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: How You Can Help Employees Focus on Security

Staying safe and secure online and protecting personally identifying information requires partnership.

Just as you work to safeguard employees’ data, VRS also takes measures every day to keep members’ information secure. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) – observed every October – offers a chance to engage employees and help them focus on their role in online security.

Three Steps to Promote Greater Security

1. Remind employees to claim their online accounts. One of the best ways for employees to guard against identity theft involving their VRS benefits is to register for their myVRS accounts and defined contribution accounts, if applicable, through Account Access. Members will answer identity-verification questions before establishing a password-protected account.

2. Bookmark the VRS Security Center. This page provides practical tips to help employees protect themselves online and to avoid falling victim to fraud. Share these tips with employees as part of your efforts to promote security awareness.

3. Make security an everyday focus. The National Cyber Security Alliance maintains StaySafeOnline, a hub for promotional materials and resources related to National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and STOP.THINK.CONNECT. – a global online safety partnership of private companies, nonprofits and government organizations. Both sites include fact sheets, infographics, research reports, tip sheets and videos you can pass onto employees as you emphasize the important role they play in cybersecurity.

Use October to Build Awareness

NCSAM has developed the following security-related themes for each week in October. You can learn more at www.staysafeonline.org:

  • Week 1 (October 1-5): Make Your Home a Haven for Online Safety
  • Week 2 (October 8-12): Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity
  • Week 3 (October 15-19): It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work
  • Week 4 (October 22-26): Safeguarding the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure

Thanks for your continued partnership in promoting online security best practices. Let’s stay safe out there!


GASB Statement No. 75 Data Available on VRS Employers Website

Most VRS employers are subject to the provisions of Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 75 as part of financial reporting for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018.

To help you prepare fiscal year 2018 financial statements, look to the VRS Guidelines and Resources: OPEB webpage for the following resources:

  • 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.
  • GASB 75 reports from the VRS actuary for each of the other post-employment benefits (OPEB) plans. VRS also 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.)
Your Whole Story 2018

Help Promote National Retirement Security Week, October 21-27

Whether retirement for your employees is down the road or right around the corner, National Retirement Security Week (NRSW) is a good time to remind them to evaluate their savings plans.

Here are some resources to help ensure your support of NRSW is a success:

VRS has scheduled several presentations to help members plan for life in retirement:

Title Description Date/Time
Women in Retirement 10 ways women, and men, can save themselves from retirement poverty. Presented by the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement. October 22, 11 a.m.-noon
VRS, Bank of America Pavilion
1111 East Main Street
Richmond, VA
Social Security Updates Join us for a brown bag session on applying for Social Security benefits and Medicare. October 23, Noon-1 p.m.
VRS, Bank of America Pavilion
1111 East Main Street
Richmond, VA
Getting Value from Your Flexible Spending Accounts Learn to leverage this tax-savings program to pay for a variety of health care and dependent care expenses. Presented by Anthem. October 26, 11 a.m.-noon
VRS offices
1200 East Main Street
Richmond, VA


ORPHE Open Enrollment Underway

October is Open Enrollment for participants in the Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education (ORPHE). This annual opportunity allows participants to change providers effective the first payroll in the following calendar year. Participants have a choice of three providers: DCP (record-kept by ICMA-RC), Fidelity and TIAA.

For participants interested in changing providers:

  • Refer them to the ORPHE Provider Options chart, which they can use to compare each provider’s services, fees and plan features. The comparison chart also is available in members’ myVRS accounts.
  • Encourage them to attend an open-enrollment webinar to learn more about their options.
  • Participants need not complete the enrollment process if they already have an account with the new provider.

Participants will initiate all changes through their myVRS accounts.

Woman on phone-No Caller ID

Advise VRS Members to Be Alert for Unsolicited Retirement Counseling Services

From time to time, VRS receives reports from members and employers that various companies or groups have contacted them via email or phone to offer retirement counseling services or insurance products.

Please be aware:

  • VRS does not use unsolicited calls to contact members to offer services.
  • VRS does not sell services; all benefit counseling is free to members and retirees.
  • Correspondence from VRS will arrive by U.S. mail on official letterhead.
  • Emails from VRS will be sent from a “varetire.org” address and include the VRS logo and copyright.
  • VRS staff do not come to members’ homes to discuss benefits.

VRS provides counseling services to VRS members free of charge by phone or in person at its Counseling Center:

  • 1111 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219
  • Phone: 1-888-827-3847
  • Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

VRS offers free retirement planning and benefit education sessions throughout the state at colleges, universities, other public locations or the VRS offices in Richmond. Members may receive occasional invites to these sessions via email.

Members also can use their myVRS account to review their VRS benefits, assess their retirement readiness using the myVRS Retirement Planner and create monthly benefit estimates using the Benefit Estimator. In addition, members can take advantage of the free money-management and retirement-planning articles, videos and mini-courses available through myVRS Financial Wellness.

VRS greatly appreciates your help in reminding VRS members to be cautious in responding to unsolicited offers of retirement planning or advice. If you or your employees are uncertain if a communication originated with VRS, please contact us.


Announcements  Announcements

VRS strengthens email security for all recipients: To comply with state standards, VRS soon will be using the Zix Corporation secure message center to deliver emails to recipients lacking encryption service through their normal email provider. Those recipients will receive an email with instructions on how to view the secure message. The URL for the secure VRS message portal will be “mymessages.varetire.org.” Recipients of VRS email messages secured by Zix will go through a one-time registration process to access the secure site.

Minnesota Life is now Securian: Minnesota Life, the third-party administrator of the VRS Group Life Insurance Program, has adopted the name of its parent company, Securian Financial. There will be no change to group life insurance and optional group life insurance benefits or coverage, which will continue to be underwritten by Minnesota Life. VRS will soon begin changing Minnesota Life references to Securian Financial on the VRS website and in publications.

School divisions electing an employer-sponsored 403(b) plan must adopt resolutions by November 1: If you change your election, the formal signed resolution indicating your new election must be mailed to VRS with a postmark no later than November 2.

Order VRS Publications.

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.

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.


 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:

The following VRS webinars explore a single topic in depth:

Title Description Date/Time
Disability Retirement Benefits administrators: Increase your disability retirement counseling skills. October 31, 10-11:30 a.m.
Refunds and Distributions Get up to speed on employee eligibility requirements for taking a refund or a distribution from their VRS accounts. November 28, 2-3 p.m.
Purchase of Prior Service Learn more about the purchase of service process and key actions required in myVRS Navigator. December 19, 10-11 a.m.


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

I know that myVRS now offers more retirement-planning tools for members. Do you have any resources available that I can share with employees to promote myVRS registration?

myVRS provides members with up-to-date benefit information and offers several helpful planning tools including the Benefit Estimator, the Retirement Planner and myVRS Financial Wellness. You may order myVRS registration reminder cards on our website. Additionally, VRS offers a myVRS Registration Reminder Flyer PDF Icon. You can download and print copies of the flyer for posting in break rooms, elevators, hallways and other high-traffic areas.


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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