CONNECTICUT STATE EMPLOYEES
RETIREMENT SYSTEM
TIER I SUMMARY PLAN DESCRIPTION

IF YOU LEAVE BEFORE RETIREMENT

YOU BECOME VESTED AFTER 10 YEARS OF SERVICE

Vested Rights Eligibility Requirements

Your state employment may end before you retire. You will have earned a permanent vested right to a retirement benefit if:

When you leave, you may make one of three choices:

1. Elect to have the state hold your vested benefit until you reach the minimum retirement age. Then, benefits may begin the first of the month on or after you qualify for retirement. If you have at least ten but less than twenty five years of service, your benefit will be reduced the same as any early retirement benefit. We explained how and why your benefit is reduced in the section entitled "Early Retirement". However, if you have 25 or more years of credited service, your benefits will be calculated as explained in the section entitled "Normal Retirement".

2. Elect to receive your vested benefit at a date later than the date you reach the minimum retirement age. Then, the amount of your basic monthly payment will depend upon: your average salary at the time you left state service; the amount of service you had earned; and the age at which you elect to have payments commence. You should contact the Retirement Services Division Counseling Unit if you intend to delay benefits beyond the date you attain the minimum age.

3. Elect to take a lump-sum refund of your contributions instead of waiting to receive monthly benefits. Your refund will include your contributions plus interest at 5% per year credited from January 1, 1982, or the July 1st following your date of entry into the Plan, whichever is later. Such a refundis in lieu of any other benefits from Tier I.

If you elect choice "1" or "2", you must leave your retirement contributions and earned interest in the system. Additionally, you should contact your last employing agency's Personnel Office to request the preparation of an application for vested rights retirement benefits at time of termination or shortlythereafter even though the effective date of your benefits may be years in the future. Your application, accompanied by a confirmation of active health insurance form and a copy of your birth certificate, should be directed to the Retirement Services Division. You should also advise the Retirement Services Division, in writing, of any address changes that follow your severance from state service.

Withdrawal Of Contributions

If you are not eligible for any retirement benefits when you leave state service, you may withdraw your retirement contributions. This withdrawal will include 5% interest per year credited from January 1, 1982, or the July 1st following your date of entry into the Plan, whichever is later to the July 1st coincident with or preceding the date you leave state service. If you do not withdraw your contributions and you do not return to state service within five years we will assume that you want a refund and a refund application will be sent to you. After you complete the form and return it to us, we will send you your contributions and interest. If we cannot locate you within 10 years after your employment ends, your contributions will become part of the retirement fund.

Reemployment Before Your Retirement Benefits Commence

Suppose you leave state service with a right to a vested benefit but you are later rehired. If you did not withdraw your contributions, your service before reemployment will be added to future service when calculating your benefit when you next apply for retirement benefits.

If you did withdraw your contributions and are reemployed as a Tier I member, you may return your withdrawn contributions plus interest to the System to restore retirement credit for your prior years of service. If application is made within two years of your reemployment date, you may restore credit for all prior service, including any previous purchases of retirement credit for non-state employment. If application is made after two years of reemployment, the restoration of credit is limited to prior periods of Connecticut state employment during which Tier I contributions were made.

REEMPLOYMENT AFTER RETIREMENT

AFTER YOU RETIRE YOU MAY RETURN TO EITHER FULL-TIME OR PART-TIME STATE SERVICE

Reemployment In A Temporary Position

If you are reemployed by the state in a temporary position, you can work no more than 120 days in any calendar year without impairing your pension rights. If the temporary position is considered a 7 hour full-time position, you may work a maximum of 840 hours; if the position is a 7.5 hour full-time position, you may work 900 hours; if the position is a 7.75 hour full-time position, you may work 930 hours; and if the position is an 8 hour per day full-time position, you may work 960 hours in a calendar year.

A retiree reemployed in a state teaching position may work 45.97% of a full-time teaching schedule without impairing pension rights. This means that a reemployed retiree at a state university or the University of Connecticut may teach twelve load credits per calendar year. A reemployed retiree at a state technical college may teach up to fourteen contact hours per calendar year.

Reemployed retirees at institutions which do not operate on a credit basis, such as the Department of Correction and the state technical high schools, are required to observe the 120 days per calendar year limitation.

Reemployment In A Permanent Position

If you are reemployed by the state in a permanent position after you have retired, your pension payments and benefits will cease. It is your responsibility to notify the Retirement Services Division of your reemployment. Although you cannot rejoin the retirement system immediately, your membership and contributions will resume after you have completed six months of continuous service. You may purchase that initial period of reemployment without interest, if you apply and make payments within six months of the date your membership in the system resumed. When you next retire, your retirement benefit will not be less than the amount you were receiving prior to reemployment.

COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT

BENEFITS ARE ADJUSTED TO OFFSET RISING COSTS OF LIVING

You will be eligible for an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) after you start receiving retirement benefits. The first increase will take place on the January 1st or July 1st (whichever comes first) after at least nine full months of retirement. Future increases will occur on either the January or July anniversary of your first increase.

The COLA will range from a minimum 2.5% to a maximum of 6% based on a formula which takes into account a portion of the increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the 12 months immediately preceding your COLA anniversary date.

Specifically, the COLA will be determined in accordance with the following formula:

60% of the annual increase in the CPI-W up to 6%

PLUS

75% of the annual increase in the CPI-W above 6%

HEALTH AND LIFE INSURANCE

STATE MEDICAL, DENTAL, AND LIFE INSURANCE MAY CONTINUE AFTER YOU RETIRE

Health Insurance

When you retire, you may be entitled to group medical coverage for you and your eligible dependents under a state group medical insurance plan provided you were eligible for normal, active group health coverage immediately prior to your termination. If you were not eligible for normal, active group health coverage immediately prior to your termination but you had 10 years of service credit in Tier I as of June 30, 1992, you may also be entitled to group medical coverage for you and your eligible dependents under a state group medical insurance plan. The state currently pays 100% of the cost of certain medical plans for you and your eligible dependents; other medical plans require you to pay part of the premium cost.

If you qualify for the retiree group medical coverage, you may also elect the group dental insurance for you and your eligible dependents under a state group dental insurance plan. The state currently pays 20% of the cost of this coverage for you and your eligible dependents. The balance of the cost (80%) will be deducted from your monthly retirement check. 

If you terminate state employment with vested rights, your retiree coverage under the group medical and dental insurance plans can begin as early as the month following the commencement of your retirement benefits. 

If you do not elect to continue your state medical coverage at the time you retire, within certain limits, you will be able to obtain coverage during any open enrollment period for retirees. You will be notified annually when the next open enrollment period will take place.

You may be reimbursed by the state for 100% of the basic cost of Medicare Part B premiums for you and your eligible dependents. Therefore, a copy (not the original) of the appropriate Medicare card, showing Part B enrollment, should be sent to the Retirement Services Division.

Life Insurance

When you retire, a portion of your life insurance will be continued with the state paying the full cost. If you retire with 25 or more years of state service, or if you receive hazardous duty retirement benefits under Connecticut General Statutes, Section 5-173, you will receive a life insurance policy equal to one-half of the basic coverage you had immediately before retirement. With less than 25 years of state service, your coverage will be proportionately reduced based on years of service. However, with 25 or more years of full-time state service, your life insurance at retirement will never be less than $10,000.

You may convert any amount up to the full amount of the reduction to a personal policy of life insurance with the insurer. If you wish to do this, you must apply within 31 days after your date of retirement.

Special Notes

If you have become permanently and totally disabled, you may remain eligible for your full amount of basic life insurance coverage. You must be insured and under age 60 when first disabled. You should contact your agency Personnel or Payroll Officer to obtain additional information and to request an application for a waiver of group life insurance premiums to determine if you qualify.

If you terminate state service and you elect to vest your rights or you elect to defer your retirement benefits to a later date, you will not be eligible to receive any of the state paid life insurance. You will, however, be eligible to convert up to the full amount of the life insurance coverage in effect immediately prior to your termination of state employment, to a personal life insurance policy with the insurer.

WHEN YOU ARE READY TO RETIRE

The Application Process

You must contact the Personnel or Payroll Office of your employing agency, in writing, to request the preparation of your "Application for Retirement Benefits" and other related retirement forms. You should allow a reasonable amount of notice time for this process, which is generally considered to be 2 to 3 months prior to your intended date of retirement. Because of the 90 day protection window explained in the section entitled "Survivor Benefits", you should not execute your retirement forms prior to 90 days from your targeted retirement date. Your retirement application and all accompanying documentation must be received by the Retirement Services Division before the effective date of your retirement.

You will need to provide to your agency copies of:

You will need to make several elections including:

You are required to complete a form entitled "Spouse Waiver of Monthly Survivor Benefits" attesting to your marital status. If you have been married for at least one year as of your requested retirement date and elect an option that, following your death, will not provide your spouse with a guaranteed lifetime monthly benefit, your spouse must provide written consent, with proper witness certification, on this waiver form.

If you are making application for a disability retirement, you must provide, in addition to the aforementioned items, a form entitled "Disability Retirement Application Medical Report " as completed by your treating physician, as well as the supporting documentation addressed in the section entitled "Disability Retirement".

If you would like your retirement benefit check electronically deposited to your account at your financial institution, you will need to complete with your financial representative a "Retirement - Direct Deposit Authorization and Input Form".

Counseling Services

In addition to the Personnel or Payroll Officer at your own agency or facility, the Office of the State Comptroller provides retirement counseling services to all state employees through its Retirement Services Division, located at 55 Elm Street, Hartford, Connecticut 06106 (Telephone: (860) 702-3490). Appointments must be scheduled in advance.

OTHER INFORMATION

Compensation Limitation

Federal law operates to impose a limitation on earnings covered for retirement purposes. For calendar year 2001, the limit is $170,000; this amount may be adjusted on an annual basis.

Assignment Of Benefits

You may not use your Tier I Plan interests as collateral or security for a loan. 

Reporting And Disclosure

You or your representative have the right to inspect and obtain copies of all Plan documents. You must pay a reasonable charge for such copies. 

You will receive a summary plan description 90 days after you begin work, and at least once every four years. You will be notified of any substantial Plan changes within 210 days after their effective date.

Each year you will receive an annual retirement benefits statement with personalized information.

A Final Note

This booklet is designed to help you understand your retirement benefits. It summarizes the more important provisions of the Tier I Plan. It is not intended to give you complete details on all Plan conditions. If there is any conflict in wording between the law and this booklet, the official wording of the law will govern.

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