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A Publication for VRS Employers
April 2018 | Archives
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Your Turn to Ask Your Turn to Ask: One of my employees is leaving covered employment but wants to defer retirement. Do I notify VRS? Also, when the employee decides to retire, will I still need to certify the retirement application?

Financial Literacy Month

Financial Literacy Month: VRS Resources Help Members Up Their Financial Game

April is Financial Literacy Month, a great opportunity to focus your employees’ attention on creating a solid financial future. VRS offers free resources that focus on the money issues most people encounter at every stage in life.

myVRS Financial Wellness: Personal Finance Just Got Personal!

VRS members who log into their myVRS accounts now have access to a large library of financial education content through the myVRS Financial Wellness program, powered by Enrich.

Using myVRS, members can delve into financial education resources tailored to their personal profiles, set personal goals and save financial plans. Members also will receive content recommendations, based on their retirement plan and age. Calculators, budgeting tools, 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 members grow their knowledge and confidence in making day-to-day financial decisions, which will, in turn, aid them in preparing for retirement.
 

Shining a Spotlight on Retirement Planning

Planning when to stop working can be an uncertain process for many people. Are they ready to leave the workplace and retire? Are they on track financially? What steps can they take today to be ready for life after work? VRS will present training sessions, both in-person and online, to mark Financial Literacy Month in April and National Retirement Planning Week (April 9-13).

Organizing Your Financial Records, with Virginia Credit Union

Save time by getting and keeping your financial records organized. Learn what records to keep, what to have handy in case of a natural disaster and how to take a home inventory.

When: Tuesday, April 3, 10-11 a.m.

Where: VRS, 1200 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219
 

Strategies for Eliminating Debt, with Virginia Credit Union

Learn how to reduce your debt through specific examples and practical strategies.

When: Tuesday, April 10, noon-1 p.m.

Where: VRS, 1200 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219
 

Webinar: Are You on Track?

This presentation for current Plan 1 and Plan 2 members (hired before January 1, 2014, with the exception of those eligible for enhanced hazardous duty coverage) provides an overview of VRS benefits and optional programs, purchase of prior service and myVRS. A link to the recorded version will be available within five days of the original air date.

When: Wednesday, April 11, 3-4 p.m.
 

Workshop: Nearing Retirement

Planning to retire within the next five years? This half-day workshop features industry professionals who will provide resources to help prepare employees for the transition into retirement.

When: Wednesday, April 11, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: Central Virginia Community College, 3506 Wards Road (Merritt Hall), Lynchburg, VA 24502
 

Retirement: Are You Ready?

Are you a Plan 1 or Plan 2 member (hired before January 1, 2014, with the exception of those eligible for enhanced hazardous duty coverage), and within five years of retirement? This session will guide you through important retirement decisions, such as when to apply for retirement and selecting a benefit payout option. Other topics include using myVRS and your benefits after retirement.

When: Tuesday, April 17, 10-11 a.m.

Where: VRS, 1200 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219
 

Webinar: Are You Ready to Retire?

This presentation guides current Plan 1 and Plan 2 members (hired before January 1, 2014, with the exception of those eligible for enhanced hazardous duty coverage) who are within five years of retirement through important retirement decisions (such as when to retire and selecting a benefit payout option). Other topics include using myVRS and benefits after retirement. A link to the recorded version will be available within five days of the original air date.

When: Thursday, April 19, 3-4 p.m.
 

Overview of the COV 457 Deferred Compensation Plan and Cash Match Plan (ICMA-RC)

What is a 457 Deferred Compensation Plan? How about a Cash Match 401(a) Plan? Curious to know how your employer’s retirement plans work? Come learn how these plans help you build your retirement future.

When: Tuesday, April 24, 10-11 a.m.

Where: VRS, 1200 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219
 

Workshop: Building Retirement Security

This half-day workshop features industry professionals who will cover a range of topics, including credit and debt management, protecting your finances and retirement planning.

When: Thursday, April 26, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Where: Wytheville Community College, 1000 East Main Street, Wytheville, VA 24382
 

Making Financial Literacy a Family Affair

The American Bankers Association (ABA) established Teach Children to Save Day (April 20) to spotlight the importance of teaching our nation’s youth about saving money. In addition to taking advantage of resources provided by ABA, VRS encourages you to point your employees to the myVRS Financial Wellness section for parents, which includes articles, videos and webinars on topics ranging from family finances to instilling good money habits in children (search keywords: children, family, parenting, students).

Bring myVRS Financial Wellness to family game night: Suggest family game nights using any of the myVRS Financial Wellness games. Encourage employees to submit a family selfie of the activity for your employee newsletter. Also consider coordinating a lunchtime playoff with Financial Football. Holding an employee benefit and wellness fair? Host a financial trivia game using Money$marts or Invest Quest.

The multiplier effect: The benefits of engaging employees in creative ways is well documented. Helping your employees take steps to boost their financial literacy can pay dividends. Employees can “pay it forward” by sharing their newfound financial knowledge with their own children, families, loved ones and peers.
 

Financial Literacy Month Event: Raising a Money-Smart Kid

Join VRS for a special presentation on Teach Children to Save Day. According to a Charles Schwab Parents & Money survey, 69 percent of parents feel less prepared to give their teens advice about investing than they do discussing the “birds and bees”! This seminar offers parents valuable tips and tools to help teach their child about money.

Cherry Dale, financial education director at Virginia Credit Union and a former teacher, will present hands-on ideas for discussing money with children, whether they’re in pre-school or college. Space is limited. Please register to attend.

When: Friday, April 20, 11 a.m. to noon

Where: VRS, 1200 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219
 

Coordinating your own benefit fair or health and wellness event? Need assistance educating your staff on VRS benefits and products, myVRS or retirement readiness? We’re here to help. Contact VRS@varetire.org to find out when a VRS Member Education and Outreach representative will be in your area.

 

Prepare for GASB 75 Reporting Requirements for Post-Employment Benefits

Most VRS employers will be required to implement provisions of Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 75 as part of financial reporting for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.

Several years ago, GASB adopted Statements No. 67 and No. 68, which modified the financial reporting requirements for pensions at the plan and employer levels. In 2015, GASB adopted additional standards that provide similar revised reporting requirements for other post-employment benefit (OPEB) plans and employers that participate in those plans:

  • Statement No. 74 PDF Icon (applies to Plan) – Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans
  • Statement No. 75 PDF Icon (applies to Employer) – Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions

VRS implemented the provisions of GASB Statement No. 74 in its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) PDF Icon for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017. This resulted in changes to the data related to VRS-administered OPEB plans – group life insurance, retiree health insurance credit, Virginia Sickness & Disability Program (VSDP), Virginia Local Disability Program (VLDP) and the Line of Duty Act (LODA).

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. 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.)
  • 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.

 
In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)

In Case You Missed It: View Recorded Webinar on Certifying Retirements in myVRS Navigator

If you missed the live event, be sure to view the recorded version of VRS’ latest modernization webinar, Overview of Retirement Process Changes (you will need to register to access the recording). The presentation outlines new employer procedures for certifying all retirement applications in myVRS Navigator, starting this fall. The processing changes are in preparation for accepting members’ retirement applications online, starting in 2019. This webinar was the first in a series of modernization updates VRS will provide this year to help prepare you and members for online retirement.

Stay in the know: Check out the modernization webpage to learn more about all the changes in store for myVRS. 

 
Security Tips Person Holding Sign with Padlock

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.

Please be aware that VRS does not use unsolicited calls to contact members to offer its services. Correspondence from VRS will be sent by U.S. mail on official letterhead. Members also can use their myVRS account to create benefit estimates, review their VRS benefits and plan for retirement.

Also, advise employees that VRS staff do not come to members’ homes to discuss benefits. VRS offers retirement planning sessions throughout the state at colleges, universities, other public locations or the VRS offices in Richmond.

As a reminder, 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: 

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.

 

2018 COLA Rates Take Effect July 1 for Retirees

The VRS Board of Trustees announced an increase in the cost-of­-living adjustment (COLA) for eligible retirees, effective July 1:

  • Plan 1: 2.13 percent
  • Plan 2: 2.07 percent
  • Hybrid Retirement Plan: 2.07 percent (applies to the defined benefit component only)

If retirees are eligible for a COLA, the increase applies to benefit payments deposited on August 1.

COLAs help retirement benefits keep pace with inflation. The COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U), published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and updated each July 1. During years of no inflation or deflation, the COLA is 0 percent.

Find more information on how the COLA is calculated in Your Retirement Roadmap: Handbook for Retirees Under Plan 1 and Plan 2 PDF Icon and the Getting Ready to Retire Guide for Hybrid Members PDF Icon.

 
Public Service Recognition Week banner

Stand and Recognize: Public Service Recognition Week Set for May 6-12

Celebrated the first full week in May, Public Service Recognition Week recognizes those who have chosen public service careers as well as the many ways government services make life better for all citizens.

VRS is committed to serving those who serve others. We salute dedicated public service employees whose work improves lives in communities throughout Virginia.

The Partnership for Public Service has developed an online Celebration Toolkit that includes resources to help employers reach out to their communities, educators and the media.

 
Realize Retirement Tour truck

RealizeRetirement Adventure Tour Begins This Summer

Retirement planning need not be a chore. In fact, it can be exciting to envision the possibilities for life after work. That’s the aim of ICMA-RC’s RealizeRetirement Adventure Tour, arriving at several locations in the commonwealth starting in June.

When the tour truck rolls into town, it brings along the fun. The adventure includes an escape room, hidden objects game, animated snapshot of an employee’s potential future, prize wheel and more. Your employees will experience an entertaining way to think about their futures. In the escape room, they will find clues to help them escape the game and start thinking about saving to realize their retirement goals.

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. If you are interested in bringing the RealizeRetirement Adventure Tour to your worksite, contact ICMA-RC to discuss scheduling an event.

For more information, visit www.varetire.org/rrtour.

 

Coming Soon: A New VRS Employer Website

In May, VRS will introduce a new employer website, designed with employers’ day-to-day needs in mind. The site will place key administrative information at your fingertips, with seamless access to the VRS website for members and retirees.

Additionally, intuitive navigation will help you efficiently access the resources you need each day, whether it’s orienting new employees, accessing the Employer Manual or counseling members on specific VRS benefits. The site also will be mobile-friendly and feature a modern design.

Look for more details in the May issue of Employer Update and an email when the site is live.

 
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Announcements  Announcements

LODA Training Now Available in Commonwealth of Virginia Learning Center: Employers are required by law to train employees who are eligible for Line of Duty Act (LODA) benefits. The first training must happen within 30 days of being hired and then every two years thereafter. The LODA Overview for Participants satisfies this training requirement. You can direct individual employees to www.valoda.org to view the recorded presentation. For employers that have access to the Commonwealth of Virginia Learning Center, participants also may access the LODA training there. Employees must log-in to access the training.

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.

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
Enrolling and Maintaining Employees in myVRS Navigator Get step-by-step instructions for enrolling employees, updating salary records and making job name and employment status changes. April 26, 1-3 p.m.
Retirement Payout Options Understand the four retirement payout options (basic benefit, survivor option, partial lump-sum option payment and the advance pension option). May 16, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Hazardous Duty Benefits for VaLORS-covered Employees Learn more about the benefits provided to employees covered under the Virginia Law Officers’ Retirement System (VaLORS). June 27, 10-11 a.m.
View All

 

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

VRS has updated the Notification of Electronic Payment Information (VRS-61) PDF Icon. VRS-participating employers use this form to provide required financial institution account and routing information to VRS for the withdrawal of monthly contributions. Hard-copy submissions are no longer required. Employers may email the form to Accounts Receivable (accountsreceivable@varetire.org).

Important reminder: When retirees want to receive their monthly benefit via direct deposit, please provide them with the Authorization of Direct Deposit (VRS-57) PDF Icon.     

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 on the website.

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

Q: One of my employees is leaving covered employment but wants to defer retirement. Do I notify VRS? Also, when the employee decides to retire, will I still need to certify the retirement application?

No, you do not need to notify VRS of deferred retirements. You would simply separate the member from employment in myVRS Navigator. If within the next 12 months, the member decides to retire, you will be asked to certify the retirement application. If the member decides to retire more than a year after leaving covered employment, the employer certification is not required.

Employees deferring retirement until a later date should be aware of the following:

  • Group life insurance coverage will begin reducing based on the last month of employment. The reduction rate is 25 percent each January 1 until it reaches 25 percent of the total life insurance benefit value at the time of leaving employment. Refer to the Group Life Insurance chapter PDF Icon of the VRS Employer Manual.
  • Members who defer retirement are still eligible for the health insurance credit at retirement, provided they meet health insurance credit eligibility requirements in effect at the time of retirement. To apply for the health insurance credit, they should complete a Request for Health Insurance Credit (VRS-45) PDF Icon
 

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 © 2018 Virginia Retirement System
 

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