CONNECTICUT STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM
TIER II COVERS STATE EMPLOYEES FIRST HIRED FROM JULY 2, 1984 THROUGH JUNE 30, 1997
A Prefatory Note
Over the years, the Tier II retirement plan has been changed in significant ways. A right to a benefit as well as the amount of a benefit may be determined on the basis of the plan provisions that are in effect at the time a Tier II member leaves state employment. This booklet describes the Tier II provisions revised to January 1, 2000, including major changes that became effective July 1, 1997. If you ceased to be a state employee before July 1, 1997 and have not resumed state employment since that date, the plan provisions governing your entitlements may be different from those described in the current summary plan description booklets.
Eligibility For Tier II
For the most part, this booklet addresses employees hired from July 2, 1984 through June 30, 1997. If you were hired on or before July 1, 1984, whether you participate in the Tier I or the Tier II Plan depends upon several factors. Generally, employees hired on or after July 1, 1997 participate in the Tier IIA Plan. If you are uncertain as to which plan you participate in, please contact your agency's Personnel or Payroll Office.
If you were first hired into state service on or after July 2 , 1984 but before July 1, 1997, you were automatically covered under the Tier II Plan as of your date of employment, unless you were eligible for and elected to participate in another Connecticut retirement system.
If you were employed by the state on or before July 1, 1984 and were not a member of any other State of Connecticut retirement plan, the Tier II Plan, with limited exceptions, also covers you.
If you worked for the state as a Tier I member, left your job, then were rehired on or after July 2, 1984 but before July 1, 1997, Tier II Plan membership was mandatory as of the date you were rehired unless:
In these exceptions, you resumed membership in the Tier I Plan.
If you worked for the state as a Tier II member, left your job, then were rehired before July 1, 1997, you automatically returned to Tier II Plan membership as of the date you were rehired.
If you worked for the state as a Tier I or Tier II member, left your job, then were rehired on or after July 1, 1997, Tier IIA Plan membership was mandatory as of the date you were rehired unless:
In these exceptions, you resumed membership in the Tier I or Tier II Plan based upon your original membership.
Teachers and Professional Staff
If you are a state teacher or a professional staff member in higher education as defined by the Connecticut General Statutes, and you were first employed by the state on or after July 2, 1984 but before July 1, 1997, you are covered under the Tier II Plan. However, you may have been eligible to elect membership in either the Connecticut Teachers Retirement System or, if you are in higher education, the alternate retirement program. If you were eligible to do so, you must have elected one of the other two retirement plans within six months after your date of employment, or you automatically became a member of Tier II retroactive to your date of employment. You can be an active member of only one state retirement system.
Judges appointed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, Appellate Court or Superior Court become members of the Judges, Family Support Magistrates, and Compensation Commissioners Retirement System.
If you were covered by Tier II before your appointment to the Supreme Court, Appellate Court or Superior Court and had accrued at least 10 years of credited service under Tier II, you may elect to remain a member of the Tier II Plan. Or, if you had withdrawn from Tier II, you may elect to be reinstated as a Tier II Plan member. You may make either such election any time within 10 years after your initial appointment as a judge. In determining your Tier II benefit, you will receive credit for your years of service as a judge.
The State of Connecticut pays the full cost of the Tier II Plan, and you do not contribute unless you are in a position designated as hazardous duty. Effective January 12, 1990, hazardous duty members are required to contribute four percent of all state earnings to the State Employees Retirement System. Since July 1, 1997, the hazardous duty contributions are made on a pre-tax basis.
It is important for you to name a retirement beneficiary or beneficiaries to receive any salaries that may be due if you should die while you are an active state employee. If you are a hazardous duty member, a refund of your retirement contributions and interest would also be payable to your named retirement beneficiary(ies). This designation may be changed any time you wish. To name or change your retirement beneficiary, contact your agency's Personnel Office for the proper forms.
ACTUAL STATE, VESTING AND CREDITED SERVICE
As a member of Tier II you will accrue three types of service: actual state, vesting and credited service. You are "vested" or eligible for immediate or deferred retirement benefits when you meet specific service requirements. Actual state and vesting service determine your eligibility for benefits. Credited service will be used to compute such benefits.
ACTUAL STATE SERVICE
You Earn a Permanent Vested Right to a Benefit After 5 Years of Actual State Service
Actual state service includes all years and months of state service subject to permanent break in service rules outlined in the section entitled "Breaks in Service and Permanent Breaks In Service Rules." Actual state service begins building up from your employment or reemployment commencement date. Your employment commencement date is the date you first work an hour for which you are paid or entitled to pay by the state. Your reemployment commencement date is the date you return to work after you terminate state employment and you first work an hour for which you are paid or entitled to pay. Actual state service continues building all the way to your severance from service date (the date your state employment ends).
Also counted as actual state service are all periods of time when you received temporary Workers' Compensation (excluding specific indemnity awards) or Disability Compensation under Connecticut General Statutes, Section 5-142 and any unpaid leave on or after June 9, 1994 consisting of individual prescheduled days or partial days off as provided by the Voluntary Schedule Reduction Program pursuant to Section 5-248c of the Connecticut General Statutes. Not counted are periods of absence without pay for other reasons.
You earn one year of actual state service when you work 12 calendar months for the state. If you are a state teacher and work a full academic year, equivalent to at least 10 months of service, you will receive credit for the full calendar year.
After you have 5 years of actual state service, you have earned a permanent vested right to a benefit.
You Earn a Permanent Vested Right to a Benefit After 10 Years of Vesting Service
Vesting service includes your actual state service. You also earn vesting service for a period(s) of severance of less than 12 months.
In addition, you may receive vesting service for various types of leaves and service including the following:
Refer to the section entitled "General Information on Obtaining Certain Actual State,Vesting and Credited Service" for more information. After you have ten years of vesting service, you have earned a permanent vested right to a benefit.
Credited Service is Used to Calculate Your Retirement Benefit
Credited service includes all your vesting service except:
Credited service may include:
Special rules apply to hazardous duty members of Tier II who are detectives, chief inspectors, or inspectors in the Division of Criminal Justice, or chief detectives in any other division, with respect to former service to a municipal police department. Please contact your agency's Personnel Office for additional information.
Breaks In Service And Permanent Breaks In Service Rules
A break in service occurs if you sever your state employment and do not return to state service within one year. You do not receive any retirement credit for a break in service.
Suppose you leave your job and are rehired within 12 months, the period between the time you leave and the time you return will count toward your total years of vesting service when determining your eligibility to retire. But it does not count as actual state service and will not be used as credited service when calculating your retirement benefit amount. If you terminate while on a leave of absence, you must return to state service within one year after the first day of your absence to avoid a break in service.
A permanent break in service occurs if:
If you have had a permanent break in service, you will not receive any retirement credit for service preceding the permanent break.
Alternatively, if you did not have a permanent break in service, your years of service before and after reemployment are added together after you are rehired.
Now, assume you are vested in Tier II when your state employment ends and you are later rehired. Your years of service, before and after reemployment, are automatically added together.
General Information On Obtaining Certain Actual State, Vesting And Credited Service
There are three types of prior service for which Tier II members must apply to obtain retirement credit. You request such credit on a Form CO-922, entitled "Retirement Credit - Tier II Members Only", available from your employing agency's personnel or payroll office. After submission of the completed Form CO-922 with all required documentation to the Retirement Services Division, you will be sent an acknowledgement of retirement credit or a letter explaining why you do not qualify.
The three types of service for which a Form CO-922 is required are:
1. Prior service to another state
2. Service to a Connecticut municipality
3. Prior military service
Additionally, as a Tier II member you may receive retirement credit for certain qualifying leaves of absences, provided if you are a hazardous duty member that you have made required contributions. Those periods that will be counted for retirement credit without a need for you to complete a Form CO-922 are:
4. Credit for qualifying leaves of absences without pay taken for personal medical or family leave
5. Credit for qualifying leaves of absences without pay taken pursuant to the voluntary schedule reduction program authorized by Connecticut General Statutes, Section 5- 248c or one of its predecessor voluntary leave or schedule reduction programs
6. Credit for qualifying leaves of absences without pay taken for military service
7. Credit for qualifying leaves of absences without pay taken for educational purposes
Reference Chart for Actual State, Vesting And Credited Service
The following chart is a quick check reference chart showing varying types of service and whether each qualifies as actual state, vesting or credited service in Tier II. Please refer to the preceding section entitled "General Information on Obtaining Certain Actual State, Vesting and Credited Service" and contact your agency Personnel or Payroll Officer regarding any additional statutory requirement which may also need to be met before actual state, vesting or credited service can be utilized.
|TIER II ACTUAL STATE, VESTING AND CREDITED SERVICE|
* All such service or absence must be properly documented.
** Hazardous duty members should refer to the "Hazardous Duty Retirement" Section for special rules.
If you have had part-time service, you should know that:
Benefit Calculation Factors
Your basic benefit is calculated by using a formula that takes into account your average salary, your average salary in excess of the year's breakpoint, and your credited service.
To determine your average salary, use your three highest paid years of credited service. Any 12 consecutive month period equals one year. For example, May 1st through the following April 30th equals one year. Add together your earnings from your three highest paid years, then divide this total by three.
When calculating your average salary, no one year's earnings, commencing January 1, 1986, can be greater than 130% of the average of the preceding two years. Mandatory overtime earnings are not subject to this limitation.
This table shows you the earnings breakpoints through the year 2009.
|For The Year:||The Breakpoint Is:|
For each year after 2009, the breakpoint increases by 6%, rounded to the nearest $100.
In the benefit formula, you take the breakpoint for the calendar year in which your last severance from state service occurs.
If you retire with 25 or more years of vesting service, the Plan provides a minimum benefit; your basic monthly benefit will equal the result of the formula calculation or $360, whichever is greater. This benefit will be pro-rated for members with 25 or more years of service which includes at least some part-time service.