Government Benefit Recipients
Rehired Retirees Health Coverage May be Affected by Recent Legislation
The North Carolina General Assembly recently approved legislation to create a new category of eligibility under the State Health Plan to enable employing units to avoid tax penalties imposed under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). This new category extends eligibility to non-permanent full-time employees who traditionally have not been eligible for coverage with the State Health Plan. The benefit available to these employees is a high deductible health plan (HDHP). In addition, legislation was also passed that requires employing units to cover re-hired State retirees as active employees and specifies that during the time of their full-time employment, re-hired State retirees are not eligible for retiree health benefit coverage.
Employing units are responsible for determining the eligibility of their employees and for notifying the State Health Plan when a retiree is eligible for coverage with the employing unit. While eligible retirees are not required to enroll in the HDHP, the retiree is no longer eligible for the State Health Plan retiree group coverage under the Retirement System. Upon notice from the employing unit of the retiree’s eligibility as a full-time employee the State Health Plan will terminate the retiree from the State Health Plan retiree group coverage under the Retirement System and will issue a letter to the member confirming the termination.
Any re-hired retiree who enrolled in the HDHP will be offered COBRA, if the individual is no longer eligible for the HDHP. In addition, loss of eligibility is a qualifying life event under the State Health Plan enrollment rules and retirees will have 30 days to re-enroll in their State Health Plan coverage under the Retirement Systems. If they fail to re-enroll within the 30 days, they will be unable to come back on the Plan until the next enrollment period.
Social Security Administration Announces 2015 Cost-of-Living Increase
The Social Security Administration announced a 1.7% increase in monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 2015.
The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin in January 2015 with benefits to Social Security beneficiaries. Increased payments to SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2014.
The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information about the COLA, visit the Social Security website.
Digests for 2014 Legislative Session Now Available
Digests of the 2014 Legislation that affects members of the following North Carolina Retirement Systems are now available on our Laws & Legislation web page:
Consolidated Judicial Retirement System (CJRS)
Firefighters' and Rescue Squad Workers' Pension Fund (FRSWPF)
Legislative Retirement System (LRS)
Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System (LGERS)
National Guard Pension Fund (NGPF)
Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement Systems (TSERS)
Highlights from the digests include:
The return of 5-year vesting for all TSERS and CJRS members
All TSERS, LGERS, CJRS and LRS refund payments paid on or after January 1, 2015, will include the member’s contributions plus applicable interest, regardless of the number of years of retirement service credit
Return to Work
Some retirees of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System and Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System will officially retire and later be reemployed. If the retiree returns to work for an employer in the Retirement System from which they retired, certain earnings limitations may apply.
The earnable allowance is the amount the retiree is allowed to earn per year during reemployment, under most circumstances. Please click on the "Educate Yourself" tab in ORBIT
to learn more about reemployment after retirement. Retirees of the Consolidated Judicial Retirement System, Legislative Retirement System, and Registers of Deeds’ Supplemental Pension Fund should contact the Retirement Systems Division to discuss reemployment provisions for their systems.
What to Expect After Retirement