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Retirement Monitor - A monthly newsletter for public sector human resources and payroll specialists
January 2018
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In this Issue:

Why print and store forms when your employees can do it themselves in ORBIT ​​​​

There’s no need for you to waste filing cabinet space stockpiling Retirement Systems forms. Now, just give your new employees this welcome flyer and instruct them to create their personal ORBIT account. Once they’ve registered, your employees will be able to:

  • Update their personal contact information
  • Designate beneficiaries (even if they have more than 10 years of service)
  • Create a Benefit Estimate
  • Track recent requests
  • And much more!

rm_horizontal_line-blue.pngIf you do download forms, go to ORBIT each time for most recent forms

  

The Retirement Systems updates our forms on a regular basis. Sometimes these forms are changed to reflect legislative changes; sometimes because our process has changed. In addition, we are in the process of making all our forms simpler and easier to understand.


When you or your employees need forms, please remember to go to ORBIT and download the most recent version of the form. Many times, outdated forms are rejected or returned to the employer or employee because the new form was not used and different information is needed, causing additional work and time lost.

 

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Statement of Income forms to be mailed to disability benefit recipients in February 2018​ 

 

The Retirement Systems Division (RSD) will mail approximately 11,000 Statement of Income (SOI) forms in February 2018 to disability benefit recipients. North Carolina law requires each disability benefit recipient to report earnings from employment and benefits from certain other sources each year to RSD. 

Any benefit recipient failing to respond by April 18, 2018, may have his/her monthly disability benefit suspended. If the monthly benefit is suspended, any health coverage the benefit recipient was receiving through the State Health Plan, if applicable, will also be suspended. If the benefit is suspended, and we later receive the required information, the monthly benefit may be re-instated retroactively; however, the State Health Plan coverage, if applicable, will not be re-instated retroactively. As a result, a benefit recipient may experience a lapse in health coverage for a month or more.

 

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Unused sick leave reporting reminder

 
Legislation passed during the 2017 session requires that as of January 1, 2018, creditable service for unused sick leave be reported to the Retirement System in days instead of hours, a reporting change that standardizes the method. This new reporting total is what should now be sent to the Retirement Systems Division (RSD) on the Form 6 Retirement Application.
 
The legislation specifically states that “days of sick leave standing to a member’s credit at retirement shall be determined by dividing the member's total hours of sick leave at retirement by the hours per month such leave was awarded under the employer’s duly adopted sick leave policy as the policy applied to the member when the leave was accrued.” A revised version of Form 6 is now available for download on the ORBIT website.

rm_horizontal_line-blue.pngFelony forfeiture laws

 

A member’s retirement eligibility and benefit amount may be impacted if the member is convicted of a felony offense directly related to their employment. Please report ongoing criminal investigations that may implicate the forfeiture statutes to the Retirement System.

The provisions of the N.C. General Statutes applicable to each system and links to each are listed below.

We urge employers to contact the Retirement Systems Division if you have questions or concerns regarding the felony forfeiture laws.

 

rm_horizontal_line-blue.pngAdditional public employer contributions to NC 457 Plan now permitted

 
According to the Transamerica Study for Retirement Studies, 89 percent of employees “value a 401(k) or similar plan as an important benefit.” More than half (52 percent) say they “would be likely to switch employers for nearly an identical job with a similar employer that offered better retirement benefits.”
 
Legislation passed by the NC General Assembly now enables all North Carolina public employers who offer the NC 457 Plan to make employer contributions to the Plan – providing a big boost to retirement readiness and enhancing those benefits that help you retain and recruit top-notch employees. To begin — or to increase — your NC Total Retirement Plans employer contribution, contact your NC Total Retirement Plans Retirement Education Counselor.

 

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Happy Birthday NC ABLE!


 
It’s been one year since the launch of the NC ABLE Program! Nationwide, more than 13,000 people with disabilities have opened Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts, which allow qualified individuals to save for today’s needs and invest for their future plans, while maintaining critically needed Medicaid and other supports. In all, NC ABLE Program participants have saved nearly $1 million in total assets, while individual balances in NC ABLE accounts average $3,500 – nearly double the “countable resource limit” of $2,000.

“That’s huge – because it shows the tremendous power of NC ABLE. Before ABLE and NC ABLE, people with disabilities would have been cut off from needed supports as soon as they saved one dollar over $2,000,” said Melinda Plue, NC ABLE Program Board of Trustees Member and guardian of her brother-in-law Jake. “With NC ABLE, people with disabilities can finally save on their own – just like the rest of us. The biggest challenge now is spreading the word about the power of NC ABLE accounts.”

NC ABLE account funds can be used to pay for a wide variety of qualified disability expenses including rent and housing expenses, transportation and educational expenses, employment training and supports costs, assistive technology costs, and many other approved expenses. Contributions are limited to $15,000 per year. Rule changes in the federal 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act now permit more savings for those participants who work and permit roll-ins from 529 college savings accounts. To learn more or enroll, visit NC.SaveWithABLE.com or call 888-627-7503.
 

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Kudos!




 

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