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​​Retirement Monitor - A monthly newsletter for public sector human resources and payroll specialists
 February 2017
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2017 Employee Retirement Handbooks and Employer Manuals ​​

The 2017 Employee Handbooks and 2017 Employer Manuals have been posted to our website. Here are links to each:

 

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Felony 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 are listed below.

 

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

 

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2014 Annual Benefits Statements Available Until March 31, 2017​ 

The North Carolina Total Retirement Systems is preparing 2016 Annual Benefits Statements (ABS) for active employees who contributed to their retirement system account as of December 31, 2016.

 In preparation for the new statements, 2014 statements will be permanently removed from ORBIT on March 31, 2017. Please remind your employees to view, download, and/or print their 2014 ABS if they have not yet done so, as copies of past statements are not retained by the North Carolina Retirement Systems Division. Any assistance you can provide to your employees who do not have access to a computer during the course of their workday, such as a centrally-located computer work station or kiosk, is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your continued support in the monthly reporting process. Your data is critical to an accurate ABS for your employees. The 2016 ABS will be posted in ORBIT during May. Resources, including an animation guide highlighting the ABS features, a detailed Users’ Guide, and FAQs, will be posted to the Department website at www.MyNCRetirement.com.

Please note that our recently revised ORBIT website has new and improved security features. A personal email address is now required to complete ORBIT registration and to set up an account. Members with existing ORBIT accounts should have their username, password and security question from the old ORBIT handy in order to easily register in the new ORBIT website. To maintain the highest level of security, re-registration is no longer an option. First-time users should register as new users. 

 

If members have forgotten their username or password, they will be required to go through one or both of these steps to recover them: Forgot your Password? or Forgot your User Name? During the recovery process, ORBIT will send an email with a security code to the email we have on file in ORBIT for the member. That code has to be entered in ORBIT before the member will be allowed to continue.

 

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Statement of Income Forms Mailed to Disability Recipients in February

The Retirement Systems Division mailed approximately 13,000 Statement of Income (SOI) forms in February 2017, to members receiving disability benefits from RSD. State law requires each disability benefit recipient to complete and submit a Statement of Income form to report earnings from employment and/or benefits from certain other sources each year to RSD. 

Any employee failing to return the form by April 3, 2017, 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, an employee may experience a lapse in health coverage, which means the employee may not have health coverage for a month or more.


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Re-employment Earnable Allowance Limits Increased for 2017

The Retirement Systems’ Boards of Trustees have increased the amount of compensation a re-employed retiree may earn in 2017. This change is for any retiree who has returned to work with an employer participating in the same retirement system from which the employee retired, but in a position that does not require retirement system membership. The increase, which became effective January 1, 2017, is equivalent to the 2.1% increase in the national Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the period from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2016.

As provided under North Carolina law, the retiree’s retirement benefit will be suspended on the first day of the month following the month in which the retiree exceeds the limit for the remainder of the calendar year. 

For calendar year 2017, the earnable allowance limit is the greater of: 
  • 50% of the member’s compensation during the 12 months of service before retirement, excluding any termination payments, as increased by the equivalent CPI increase above the 2016 limit, or
  • $32,260
These earnings restrictions apply for the 12 months immediately following the effective date of retirement and for each calendar year following the year of retirement. 

Health coverage provided to retirees of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System under the retiree group of the State Health Plan will also be suspended if the retiree’s retirement benefit is suspended. If the member’s benefit is suspended and later re-instated, his or her State Health Plan retiree group coverage will not be re-instated retroactively. As a result, the member may experience a lapse in health coverage, which means he or she may not have health coverage for a month or more. 


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Kudos!




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