CONNECTICUT STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM
YOU MAY CHOOSE THE FORM OF BENEFIT PAYMENT
When you apply to retire you must elect one of four benefit payment "options."; You should review your option choices with care and select the one that will provide you with retirement income in the form best suited to your personal needs. If you elect to have your retirement benefits paid to someone else when you die, the recipient would be your contingent annuitant, commonly referred to as your "optionee."; The optional forms of payment available are:
If you elect a benefit option that will continue an income to a surviving contingent annuitant, the benefit amount you receive will depend on your age and, with the exception of Option C, the age of your contingent annuitant. In the case of Option C, your closest age is the determining factor. The amount is less than you would receive if benefits were paid to you alone.
Important Information to Consider When Making Your Option Election
If you have been married for at least one year prior to the commencement of your retirement benefits, written spousal consent will be required if you do not provide a lifetime guarantee (50% or 100% option) for that spouse.
Regardless of your option choice or marital status, you must submit proof and/or attest to your marital status within one year prior to the date your retirement benefits are to commence. Failure to submit the required waiver and documentation prior to your effective date of retirement may result in a delay of retirement income payments. If you retire and have not designated in writing the benefit payment option you would prefer or have not obtained the consent of your spouse, your benefit will be paid according to your marital status when payment begins.
Your benefit payment option cannot be changed after retirement. Therefore, it is very important that you elect your "option"; following careful review of all the available choices.
If you elect Option D, at the time of your death not only do all pension payments stop, but health insurance for any dependents you were covering through the State Employees Retirement System also ends. Those dependents would be offered the choice of assuming the full (100%) cost of the group health insurance for a limited period only (currently 3 years). Then all health insurance benefits available through the state would cease. Reimbursement for your dependent's Medicare Part B (normal premiums) will also end at your death.
If you elect Option A, B, or C, the state sponsored health coverage and the payment of any reimbursement of the Medicare Part B normal premiums would be extended at the time of your death to your designated contingent annuitant(s) and his or her eligible dependents for as long as the monthly benefit continues provided that the contingent annuitant and dependents were your dependents or cohabited with you at the time of your death.
DEATH BENEFITS MAY BE PAYABLE TO YOUR SURVIVOR
Before You Retire
If you should die before you retire, death benefits may be due your survivors. It is important, therefore, for you to know that state employees can, in some instances, influence the type and amount of benefits which may be available to the survivor(s). Should you become seriously ill or injured, or have a life threatening condition, you or someone on your behalf should contact the Retirement Services Division Counseling Services Unit as soon as possible, either directly or through your employing agency.
Spousal Benefits Before You Retire
Your spouse may receive monthly Tier II benefits if you die before retirement.
Should you die while actively employed or while on an approved leave of absence, your spouse will receive a monthly benefit if:
For your spouse to receive benefits, you must have been married for at least the one year period immediately preceding your death. The agency where you were employed should be notified of your death as soon as possible.
Your spouse's benefits would begin on the first of the month on or after your death. Monthly payments would then continue for his or her lifetime. The amount would equal 50% of the payment you would have received under the Spouse option had payments started the day of your death. If you had not reached age 55 at the time of your death, the benefit would be figured as if you were 55.
Spousal Benefits If You Leave With 25 Years Of Vesting Service
Suppose you leave state employment with 25 years of vesting service and you die before receiving any retirement benefits. Your spouse will receive retirement benefits, provided you had been married to each other for at least the twelve months preceding your death. Benefits would be paid as described previously in the section entitled "Spousal Benefits Before You Retire.";
After You Apply For Retirement - But Before Benefits Begin - The 90 Day Protection Window
Suppose you apply for retirement and select Option B or Option C (refer to the section entitled "Benefit Payment Options";). If you die within 90 days after you first elect either one of these options, but prior to your date of retirement, your contingent annuitant may receive payments in accordance with your selection. If your death occurs after this 90 day period and you have not yet retired, or if you die within 90 days after electing Option D or A but prior to your date of retirement, the benefit paid will be as described earlier in the subsection entitled "Spousal Benefits Before You Retire."; Again, both the agency where you were employed and the Retirement Services Division should be immediately notified of your death.
After Retirement Benefits Have Started
If you die after benefits have started, your designated contingent annuitant or beneficiary will receive any benefits due under the option you chose before retirement. It is necessary to have the Retirement Services Division notified of your death as soon as possible, to facilitate the payment of benefits for your contingent annuitant or beneficiary.
If you are a hazardous duty member, you elect the Straight Life Annuity option and you die before your contributions and earned interest are depleted, your designated beneficiary will receive a lump sum benefit equal to the remaining portion of your contributions and interest.
If you are a hazardous duty member and you provide for an income to continue to a contingent annuitant for life and that contingent annuitant dies before your contributions and earned interest are depleted, a similar refund will be made. If no beneficiary was designated, the lump sum benefit will be paid to the estate.
Job Related Death
The Tier II Plan may provide a benefit to your family if your death is a result of a job related injury. Death must not have been caused by an intentional or careless act on your part. For deaths occurring on and after January 1, 1998 the following benefits are payable.
If you are survived by a spouse and at least one dependent child under 18 years of age, the Plan pays your husband or wife $100,000. The money will be paid in equal monthly installments over a period of at least ten years. All payments to your spouse will end if he or she dies or remarries during this time. In addition, each dependent child will receive $50 a month until his or her 18th birthday.
If you are survived by your spouse only, the Plan pays $50,000 to that spouse in equal monthly installments. Payments will be made over a period of at least ten years. They will end if your spouse dies or remarries during this period.
Suppose you have no surviving spouse or children, but you leave one or both parents dependent upon you. In this case, your parent(s) will receive $50,000 in equal monthly installments over a ten year period. If one parent dies, the other parent will continue to get the remaining payments. All benefits will end if both parents die within the ten year period.
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 State Employees Retirement System (SERS) retiree at a state university or the University of Connecticut may teach twelve load credits per calendar year. A reemployed SERS retiree at a state community-technical college may teach up to fourteen contact hours per calendar year. Reemployed SERS 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 must cease. It is your responsibility to notify the Retirement Services Division of your reemployment. You will resume membership in the Tier II Plan and receive credit for service during such reemployment. When you next retire, your retirement benefit will not be less than the amount you were receiving prior to reemployment.
BENEFITS ARE ADJUSTED TO OFFSET RISING COSTS OF LIVING
You will be eligible for an annual cost of living adjustment 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:
STATE MEDICAL, DENTAL, AND LIFE INSURANCE MAY CONTINUE AFTER YOU RETIRE
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 and you had completed at least 10 years of vesting service or you transition directly into retirement. If you were not eligible for normal, active group health coverage immediately prior to your termination but you had completed 10 years of vesting service in Tier II 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 after completing at least 10 years of vesting service, 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. Note: If you leave state service in vested status with less than 10 years of vesting service you will not be eligible for retiree health insurance when you qualify for a monthly retirement benefit.
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.
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, 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.
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 any amount up to the full amount of your life insurance coverage in effect immediately prior to your termination of state employment, to a personal life insurance policy with the insurer.