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Agnes Gajowiak,
Associate Retirement & Benefits Officer

(860) 702-3629 | agnes.gajowiak@ct.gov

Josh Lelyveld,
Retirement & Benefits Officer

(860) 702-3509 | josh.lelyveld@ct.gov
PJERS

Frequently Asked Questions - Retiree

The following is a list of subject areas which you can use to find answers to some commonly asked questions. You can navigate to each group of questions by clicking on the desired subject area.


Retirement Checks

When do you mail the benefit checks? Is there any way I can get my check sooner?

Payroll checks are dated and Direct Deposits are automatically deposited into banking accounts on the last business day of the month. Checks and deposit advices are mailed three working days prior to the check date. There is no way that you can get a check any sooner or at a different time. Click here for the check date and mailing date schedule.

What should I do if I don't receive my retirement benefit payment, or if my check is lost or stolen?

If you do not receive your retirement check on the last business day of the month, please wait until the 5th day of the following month before contacting the Retirement Payroll Unit about your missing retirement benefit payment. We must allow the Postal Service until the 5th of the following month to deliver the check. If your check is lost or stolen, call or e-mail the Retirement Payroll Unit immediately so we can place a "stop payment" on the check and issue a replacement check. Please note that it takes at least 10 business days to issue a replacement check.

If my benefit check is lost, is there a fee to have the check replaced?

No. However, if you have experienced a problem with receipt of your monthly benefit check through the mail, you should consider switching to Direct Deposit. With Direct Deposit you eliminate the delays caused by postal delivery and also protect yourself from checks that can be lost through misdelivered or stolen mail.

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Federal & State Income Tax Withholding

Will I need to complete a new Form W-4P or Form CT-W4P every year?

No. The choice you make at retirement will remain in effect until you change it. You may change it at any time by completing a new Form W-4P or Form CT-W4P.

Can I have state income taxes owed for another state deducted from my retirement payment?

No. The Retirement Payroll Unit does not withhold state income taxes for other states.

For my federal taxes, I requested a specific dollar amount to be withheld from my pension check every month. Now I see that it has changed. Why?

Under current Federal withholding regulations, you may no longer designate a specific dollar amount to be withheld from your pension benefit. It now requires that your monthly withholding amount be based on the tax table according to 1) your marital status and 2) the number of withholding allowances you claim.

Since your federal taxes are based on a table, your withholding amount may change whenever 1) your benefit amount changes or 2) the federal tax tables change.

You may request to change the amount of federal or state taxes withheld from your benefit amount at any time by submitting a new Form W-4P or Form CT-W4P.

How often may I change my federal or state withholding?

A member or beneficiary may change their federal or state withholding with the Retirement Payroll Unit annually or at any other time their personal circumstances change and require a withholding adjustment.

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Annual IRS Form 1099-R

When will I receive my IRS Form 1099R for filing my income taxes?

An IRS Form 1099-R will be mailed to all benefit recipients by January 31 every year. It is thus very important that the Retirement Payroll Unit has your most up to date address so that you will receive this tax form.

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Cost-of-Living Increase

When do I receive a cost-of-living increase and how much will it be?

If you are a retired SERS member, you will be eligible for an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) payable on the January 1st or July 1st following your receipt of at least 9 months of retirement benefits and each January 1st or July 1st thereafter. SERS members who retire today receive a minimum of 2.5% up to maximum 6% based on the following formula: 60% of the increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the 12 months immediately preceding their COLA anniversary date up to 6% and 75% of the annual increase in the CPI-W over 6%.

If you are a retired PJERS member, you will be eligible for an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) payable beginning with the second July 1st following your retirement. The COLA is based upon the increase in the CPI-W for the 12 months immediately preceding the COLA date up to a maximum of 3%. No COLA will be applied if there is no increase in the CPI-W or the increase is less than 1%.

After I die, will my beneficiary or joint annuitant who is receiving continuing benefits from my account be eligible for cost-of-living increases?

Yes, your beneficiary or joint annuitant will continue to receive cost-of-living increases on the same basis as the retired member.

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Direct Deposit

How can I change my direct deposit account?

A new signed direct deposit authorization request, Form CO-1068, is required for direct deposit changes. Click here http://www.osc.ct.gov/agencies/forms/pdf/co1068.pdf to be directed to the form.

How long does it take to change my direct deposit account?

Generally 4-6 weeks is required to complete the new direct deposit authorization requests. Many times one check may be mailed to your home address during the processing time, so it is very important that your home address is kept current with the Retirement Payroll Unit.

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What effect does Social Security have on my benefit?

SERS Tier I, Plan B members' benefits are reduced at the time that they reach full retirement age under social security provisions or upon their receipt of social security disability benefits whichever is earlier.

Non-disability benefits for retired members of SERS Tier I, Plan A and Plan C, SERS Tier II and SERS Tier IIA are not affected by the members' receipt of social security benefits.

Special rules apply to SERS members' receiving benefits under SERS disability provisions. Any questions concerning the affect of social security on a member's receipt of SERS diability benefits should be directed to the Division's Investigations and Recovery Unit at 860-702-3525.

PJERS members' benefits are not affected by their receipt of social security benefits.

If I am receiving a benefit but I choose to collect Social Security Benefits at age 62 will my benefit be reduced at that time?

No, under SERS statutory provisions the reduction is applied to SERS Tier I, Plan B members' benefits at the time that they reach their full retirement age under social security rather than at the time they begin collecting social security benefits.

Are there other Social Security Provisions Potentially Affecting Retirement?

Yes, there are two provisions that may affect those who are collecting a pension from SERS or PJERS and who were not covered by Social Security: the government pension offset and the windfall elimination provision.

If you are, or may in the future be, entitled to collect Social Security (either because of another job, or as a spouse, widow or widower), the amount of your Social Security benefits may be affected by your SERS or PJERS participation.

Government Pension Offset If an individual receives a pension from a government job in which he/she did not pay Social Security taxes, some or all of the member's Social Security spouse's, widow's or widower's benefit may be offset due to receipt of that pension. This offset is referred to as the Government Pension Offset, or GPO. The GPO will reduce the amount of the member's Social Security spouse's, widow's or widower's benefits by two-thirds of the amount of your government pension.

This law applies if the individual receives a government pension and is eligible for Social Security benefits as a spouse or widow(er). For more information about this provision, contact Social Security for the Government Pension Offset (Publication No. 05-10007) fact sheet.

Windfall Elimination Provision This law affects the way retirement or disability benefits are figured if the individual receives a pension from work not covered by Social Security. This Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) primarily affects an individual if he/she earned a pension in any job where he/she did not pay Social Security taxes and also worked in other jobs long enough to qualify for a retirement or disability benefit.

The Retirement Payroll Unit cannot answer questions on how Social Security may ultimately affect a pension: questions on these issues must be referred to Social Security. More information is available about the WEP and the GPO on the Social Security website.

Social Security Publication 05-10045, about the WEP, including how the modified formula works, is available at: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html and Social Security Publication 05-10007, about the GPO, is available at: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10007.html

There is also a WEP and GPO Fact Sheet on the Social Security website which provides an online WEP calculator to estimate benefits taking the WEP into consideration. The fact sheet and calculator can be accessed at the following link: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/gpo-wep/

You can also contact the Social Security Administration at:
Web Site: http://www.ssa.gov

Toll-Free Number: 1-800-772-1213

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Change of Payment Option or Survivor Benefits

If I retire and receive pension payments amounting to more than my contributions, will my spouse be entitled to continuing benefits if I die?

Regardless of the pension payments made to you, your spouse will be entitled to a continuing benefit assuming he/she is otherwise qualified and you have chosen a payment option allowing for continuing benefits to your spouse.

May I change the optional payment plan, contingent annuitant or beneficiary I selected at any time during the retirement process or after retirement?

You can change your payment option and/or your contingent annuitant at any time prior to cashing your first retirement check but no later than the 25th of the month following the month your first check is mailed. After this time, you will not be allowed to change your contingent annuitant or payment option, unless you chose the 10 year or 20 year option benefit and your designated contingent annuitant has died. In this case you may name a new contingent annuitant. Under this circumstance you should contact the Retirement Payroll Unit as a certified copy of the death certificate for the deceased annuitant as well as a new income payment election form will be required in order to make such a change. As a retiree, you can change your beneficiary for the guaranteed refund (if applicable) at any time by completing and submitting the proper form to the Retirement Payroll Unit. Click here for the appropriate form. http://www.osc.ct.gov/agencies/forms/pdf/co931rev.pdf

If my contingent annuitant dies after I retire, may I change my benefit payment option so I may receive a higher monthly benefit?

No, you may not change your selected option after your retire and once you cash or deposit your first benefit payment unless you chose the 10 year or 20 year option benefit and your designated contingent annuitant has died. In this case you may name a new contingent annuitant. Under this circumstance you should contact the Retirement Payroll Unit as a certified copy of the death certificate for the deceased annuitant as well as a new income payment election form will be required in order to make such a change.

May I change my benefit payment option if my spouse dies or if we divorce?

No, if you are retired, you may not change your selected option once you have cashed or deposited any retirement benefit even in the event of death or divorce unless you chose the 10 year or 20 year option benefit and your designated contingent annuitant has died. In this case you may name a new contingent annuitant. Under this circumstance you should contact the Retirement Payroll Unit as a certified copy of the death certificate for the deceased annuitant as well as a new income payment election form will be required in order to make such a change.

If I divorce my spouse after I receive my first retirement benefit payment, may I remove him or her as my joint annuitant?

No, if you are retired, you may not change your selected option once you have cashed or deposited any retirement benefit even in the event of death or divorce unless you chose the 10 year or 20 year option benefit and your designated contingent annuitant has died. In this case you may name a new contingent annuitant. Under this circumstance you should contact the Retirement Payroll Unit as a certified copy of the death certificate for the deceased annuitant as well as a new income payment election form will be required in order to make such a change.

What effect will the death of a contingent annuitant have on the amount of my retirement benefit?

The death of a contingent annuitant will have no effect on the amount of your retirement benefit. However, if you chose the 10 year or 20 year payment option benefit and your designated contingent annuitant died you may name a new contingent annuitant. Under this circumstance a certified copy of the death certificate for the deceased annuitant as well as a new income payment election form will be required in order to make such a change. In any event, you should notify the Retirement Payroll Unit as soon as it is possible.

Can the Retirement Payroll Unit continue to collect repayment of an overpayment from my benefit check once I am deceased?

Yes. The obligation to make repayment does not die with the member. If the member chose a straight life annuity, a claim is filed against the estate to recoup the remaining amount of overpayment. If the member chose a payment option that has a contingent annuitant or spouse, the repayment continues to be taken from that monthly benefit.

If my spouse is working at the time of my death and is qualified to receive a continuing benefit, could he/she receive the monthly benefit and continue working regardless of where the employment is?

Yes, your spouse may work and receive a monthly benefit.


At the time of my death, if my spouse qualifies for a continuing benefit, who should he/she contact to apply?

In the event of your death, your spouse should contact the Retirement Payroll Unit to begin the process of receiving death benefits.

If my wife and I both receive a pension and one of us dies, will the survivor continue to receive their pension and also be entitled to receive a continuing benefit based on the decedent's benefit?

A surviving spouse will be entitled to a continuing benefit assuming you, as the retired member, have chosen a payment option allowing for such continuing benefits and your surviving spouse is otherwise qualified to receive such a benefit. If a surviving spouse qualifies for continuing benefits based upon their deceased spouse's benefits and is receiving a pension based upon their own service as a retirement plan member, they will be entitled to receive both benefits.

As a SERS Tier I, Plan B member, will my contingent annuitant's benefit be offset by Social Security benefits?

Yes, if your contingent annuitant is your spouse and you die before you reach full retirement age under social security, the benefit payable to your spouse will be reduced at the time they reach age 62.

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Divorce Information

I am retired and in "pay status" and need to have alimony deducted from my pension. Can I call the Retirement Payroll Unit and initiate the process?

First, the moment that you believe a divorce or legal separation is possible, you and your legal representative should review the section of this website dealing with divorce. The Retirement Payroll Unit must have a court order to initiate an alimony deduction from your benefit. SERS and PJERS are not subject to the federally mandated QDRO requirement: state statutes provide for the establishment of a Plan Approved Domestic Relations Order (PADRO). The Retirement Services Division has developed guidelines that provide instructions on the requirements for such an order. Click here to access the SERS PADRO information. Click here to access PJERS PADRO information. http://www.osc.ct.gov/empret/retirees/index.html . PJERS PADRO information is not available yet.

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Notification of a Death

My mother was receiving a benefit after my father passed away. She has now passed away. What death benefits are available?

Except for rare occasions when more than one contingent annuitant is chosen by the retiree, there usually are no further benefits payable to any other family member. You should notify the Retirement Payroll Unit of her death as soon as possible to stop her benefit payment and to verify this information.

Should the retirement benefit payment issued at the end of the month of my death be returned to the Retirement Payroll Unit?

When someone dies, the Retirement Payroll Unit pays that member through the date of death only. If the check is cashed, the member's estate must reimburse SERS or PJERS for the portion of the check that represents the time after the date of death. The executor or administrator of the estate can either send the Retirement Payroll Unit the check back and the Retirement Payroll Unit will return a partial payment or they can simply return the amount of the overpayment.

What should the administrator of my estate do if he/she has trouble cashing or depositing the retirement benefit received after my death?

The administrator should contact the Retirement Payroll Unit with regard to the situation.

After I die, and if I chose a payment option with an annuitant, can my annuitant remarry and continue receiving a benefit from my account?

Yes. Remarriage does not affect the benefit payment a contingent annuitant is receiving.

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Working After Retirement

May I work after I retire and still receive my pension?

Yes, under SERS provisions a retired member may return to state service on a temporary basis for not more than 120 days in a calendar year. If you return to state service in a permanent position, your pension must stop immediately. You will resume membership in the SERS and receive service credit for this period of reemployment when you next retire.

A retired member may work up to 630 hours per calendar year without jeopardizing their retirement benefit and retiree medical and dental insurance coverage. The 630 hours is based upon normal hours worked as an active employee.

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Contact Information

How can I contact the Retirement Payroll Unit?

You can contact the unit by email at osc.retireepayrollunit@po.state.ct.us, by telephone at 860-702-3528 or by writing to us at the following address: Office of the State Comptroller, Retirement Payroll Unit, 55 Elm Street, Hartford, Connecticut 06106

Does the Retirement Payroll Unit have a toll-free phone number?

Not at this time.

Why can't you give specific information to me over the phone when I ask questions about my benefit?

The Retirement Payroll Unit has an obligation to protect the confidential records of its retirees. Benefit information cannot be released over the phone since there is no way to confirm an individual's identity over the phone. The Retirement Payroll Unit will forward information, including dollar amounts, in writing to the member or their designated representative. The written information is mailed to the address the Retirement Payroll Unit has on file for the member unless the member has instructed the Retirement Payroll Unit to forward the information in writing to a third party. The Retirement Payroll Unit cannot fax the information or mail it to another address unless the Retirement Payroll Unit receives written authorization with the member's signature.

How do I report a change of address to Retirement Payroll Unit?

Address changes must be reported on Form CO-1082, Retiree/Annuitant Address Change. Click here for a blank copy of this form. For the member's protection, address change requests cannot be accepted by phone or email to ensure the request came from the member and not from an outside party for illegal purposes. There is no way to ensure identity over the phone.

I am retired and have a winter and a summer address. Do I have to notify you each time I move?

As a retired member you must notify the Retirement Payroll Unit each time you change locations. Address changes must be reported on Form CO-1082, Retiree/Annuitant Address Change. Click here for a blank copy of this form.

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