Recent Active Member Updates
On February 7, 2017, the Governor's budget address included a mention of "offering a new early retirement program to modernize our state workforce." At this time we have no information on who may be eligible as no legislation has been introduced.
Please note that any early retirement offer will have to be passed by both the House and the Senate, and signed by the Governor. In the event that such legislation would be proposed, you can access the status of it, or any other pending legislation at www.legis.state.pa.us.
If legislation is enacted, we will notify affected members.
Keep Alert to Potential Phone Scams
A few members have reported receiving questionable automated phone calls. The automated message indicates the call is from SERS and asks the member to confirm his or her personal information by logging into a website.
To protect your personal information from scams like this, never give your personal or financial information to anyone over the phone or online unless you initiate the call or verify the website address is legitimate.
Act 2015-93 INFORMATION
On December 28, 2015, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 2015-93, which instituted several technical, tax-related requirements for SERS and is part of Pennsylvania's ongoing efforts to maintain the Retirement Code's compliance with federal and state laws, including the Internal Revenue Code. Many of these technical changes are transparent to SERS members, and most of the other changes affect only a few State employees. Most importantly, the passage of this legislation ensures that State employees continue to enjoy the benefits of their retirement accounts remaining tax-deferred until they leave state service and begin receiving a pension.
These changes include:
Retiree return to service rules, allowing annuitants to return to active service in limited circumstances, are structured to satisfy federal requirements
Minimum vesting standards are established in the event SERS pension plan is closed
Benefit limits for higher salaried or longer service employees and the handling of pickup contributions
Maximum contribution and minimum distribution rules, and death benefit parameters
Coordination of retirement benefits between SERS and PSERS to ensure that any combined benefit does not exceed the IRS maximum distribution limit
For specific information related to Act 93 click here. If you have any questions on how these technical changes may affect your retirement, please contact your regional retirement counseling center.
Pension reform is a Hot Topic in Harrisburg
Recent news reports have included stories about a few pension-related bills that are currently being drafted or have been introduced. One bill in particular, Senate Bill 1, proposes changes to the future benefit to be earned by current employees.
It is important to keep in mind that any changes to the structure of the SERS benefit must be introduced as a bill, passed by both chambers of the legislature and signed into law by the Governor.
Our retirees should also note that none of the bills currently under consideration affect their benefits.
As the administrator of the SERS pension benefit, we do not advocate for or against specific pension reform bills. We are, however, closely monitoring legislative activity and will notify you if any law enacted will impact your benefit.
We encourage you to remain informed as this debate unfolds.
You can read proposed legislation and track its progress on the legislature's website, www.legis.state.pa.us, by using the keyword "pension." The site also features a legislator search tool so that you can find the name and contact information for your legislators.
To receive updates like this by e-mail, sign-up on our website.
Keep Alert to Potential Phone Scams
A few members have reported receiving questionable phone calls in which the caller claims to be with the U.S. Treasury or IRS and indicates that there is an issue with the member's SERS benefit. The callers also claim that the member will be brought before some sort of government magistrate or grand jury if they ignore the call. The callers can be aggressive in tone and may call multiple times.
The calls that members have described are similar to this well-known IRS scam.
To protect your personal information from scams like this, never give your personal or financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call to a company or agency that you are certain is legitimate.
Your 2014 SERS Statement Is in the Mail
Earlier today, we mailed your 2014 statement directly from our print and mail vendor in Claysburg, PA. Your 2014 statement will also be available in your online member services account tomorrow afternoon.
Even if you’re many years away from retirement, your statement provides information that will help you understand your benefit and how it grows. Your 2014 statement details the service credit you earned, contributions you made, and interest you earned on your contributions in 2014 and over the course of your SERS membership. If you are eligible for a monthly pension, or in other words “vested” in the system, your statement will include estimates of retirement benefits calculated to several retirement options.
Please review your annual statement for accuracy and keep it with your other important financial documents.
If you are an active member and do not receive your member statement by March 26, 2015, please contact a SERS Retirement Counselor at 1-800-633-5461.
If you would like to receive member updates directly to your e-mail, sign up here.
Hazleton Regional Counseling Center Has Moved
After many years at the same location, we're moving our region 5 counseling center from Hazleton to:
Wilkes-Barre Regional Counseling Center
15 Public Square, Suite 410
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Toll Free Phone: 1.800.633.5461 (unchanged)
Local Phone: 570.829.0632
The Hazleton office will close at the end of the day Tuesday, June 10 and the Wilkes-Barre office will open for business Monday, June 16. If you need anything during that time, please call 1.800.633.5461 and we will be happy to assist you.
Thank you for your patience during this transition period. If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.