Up-to-date information on SERS Operations During Coronavirus Outbreak


04/08/20 - ALERT: Be Wary of E-mail Offers to Review Your SERS Retirement Plans!

It’s happening again. Unfortunately, a number of online and e-mail opportunists are trying to take advantage of people’s anxieties during the current Coronavirus crisis.

Recently, some state employees have begun receiving unsolicited e-mails from outside entities, urging them to book a free consultation, or click on a survey link.

Don’t do it!

These e-mails are NOT from SERS or Empower Retirement, the third-party administrator of the deferred comp and defined contribution plans.

Please be especially wary of financial planners who present themselves as experts about your SERS retirement benefits. In many cases, their goal is to sell you an investment product.

If you are considering an investment product, be sure to compare the fees for that product to those offered through the SERS Deferred Compensation Plan. In most cases, the deferred comp fees will be lower because they have been professionally negotiated for a large employer-based investment pool.

Stay safe!

To keep your retirement savings safe, don’t click on strange or suspicious links from sources you don’t know. You can trust communications clearly coming from SERS (@PennSERS), or Empower Retirement (@EmpowerToday), or an e-mail address that ends in “pa.gov”.

Remember. If something doesn’t look right – don’t click on it.

We also encourage you to forward the e-mail as an attachment to CWOPA_SPAM@pa.gov so our security specialists can continue to monitor the situation. Then delete it.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and please continue to stay safe out there.



4/03/2020
PA SERS Board Approves COVID-19-Related Distribution Provision In Deferred Compensation Plan
The Board of the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System, meeting here today, moved to allow COVID-19-related distributions from SERS Deferred Compensation Plan accounts, consistent with the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act...

 

03/30/2020 – SERS Retirement Payments Continue Uninterrupted, Other Member and Participant Services Still Up and Running While Offices Remain Closed to the Public

Monthly Pension Payments and Distributions from your Deferred Comp and Defined Contribution Accounts. These services have been and will continue uninterrupted.

Collection and Posting of Defined Contribution and Deferred Compensation Contributions to Participant’s Investment Accounts. These services have been and will continue uninterrupted.

Retirement Counseling Sessions. While our offices are closed to the public, employees may contact their SERS Counselor via e-mail or phone. Counseling staff are telecommuting and can respond to e-mails and phone messages and access our processing systems.

In addition, SERS counselors are available to meet with members via telephone and assist them with the completion of their retirement paperwork. Calls and e-mails will be answered in the order received. In the meantime, we ask for your patience as we adjust to these modified operations. Please note: We ask that anyone not retiring in April or May to not call at this time. We will provide notice when we are able to accommodate retirement counseling requests for those retiring during the month of June or later.

Deferred Compensation and Defined Contribution Inquiries and Individual Conferences. While Empower Retirement has cancelled all in-person meetings; their contact centers remain open to handle participant inquiries, and representatives continue to conduct phone and video conference meetings when possible.

New Retirements (Regular and Disability). These services are now up and running. We are processing applications and adding new annuitants to our payroll each week. We ask for your patience as we adjust to these modified operations. Work is prioritized and resources assigned so that we may best meet the needs of our members.

Death Benefits. We are processing death benefit payments to beneficiaries and/or survivor annuitants each week. We ask for your patience as we adjust to these modified operations. Work is prioritized and resources assigned so that we may best meet the needs of our members.

Refunds. We are processing refund applications and paying them each week. We ask for your patience as we adjust to these modified operations. Work is prioritized and resources assigned so that we may best meet the needs of our members.

Retired Employee Health Plan Enrollments and Changes. REHP enrollments, beneficiary changes, premium deduction establishment, and coverage cancellations are being processed. Work is prioritized and resources assigned so that we may best meet the needs of our members.

2019 Active Member Statements. Annual statements that we normally mail in March are being delayed.

We are working to issue your statements as soon as possible and will notify you when more information becomes available. In the meantime, you can review your SERS retirement benefits online:

 

· Defined Benefit (pension) Plan – If you’re a member of this plan, you can view the years of service credited toward your pension, the total contributions you’ve made toward your pension and the interest you’ve earned on those contributions. You can also produce pension estimates using the Custom SERS Benefit Calculator, which pulls information from your official SERS record.

 
 

· Defined Contribution Plan – If you’re a participant in this plan, you can check your beneficiaries, account balance and investment options.

 
 

· Deferred Compensation Plan – If you participate in this voluntary supplemental plan, you can check your beneficiaries, account balance, investment options and contribution amounts.

 

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Other Member and Participant Services. We are now processing W4P tax withholding forms, direct deposit forms, beneficiary forms, pension verifications, and handling all other activities related to these functions.

Online Deferred Comp and Defined Contribution Accounts. As before, you can make changes to your deferred comp contributions, update your beneficiaries, and access other functions.

A number of other resources remain available while our offices remain closed to the public:

 

· Through our public website, active SERS members can produce general pension estimates using the Generic SERS Benefit Calculator, and active and retired members can access a number of forms that can be printed and mailed back to us. The Deferred Compensation Plan section of the website features a number of educational resources and interactive tools and you can enroll in deferred comp if you haven’t already.

 
 

· Through your Online Member Services account for your Defined Benefit (pension) Plan, you can view your pension benefit information. If you are an active SERS member, you can estimate your future pension benefit using the Custom SERS Benefit Calculator, which pulls information from your official SERS record. If you don’t yet have an online account, you can sign up for one.

 


03/16/2020 – SERS Offices Closed, Retirement Payments Continue Uninterrupted

All SERS offices are now closed, by order of Governor Tom Wolf. Please note that monthly pension payments, and distributions from your deferred comp and defined contribution accounts will continue uninterrupted. For other functions, we are doing our best to assist our members in a timely manner by e-mail, in a limited capacity.

A number of resources remain available while our offices are closed:

  • Through your Online Member Services account for your Defined Benefit (pension) Plan, you can view your pension benefit information. If you are an active SERS member, you can estimate your future pension benefit using the Custom SERS Benefit Calculator, which pulls information from your official SERS record. If you don’t yet have an online account, you can sign up for one.
  • Through your online deferred comp and defined contribution accounts, you can make changes to your deferred comp contributions, update your beneficiaries, and access other functions. While Empower Retirement has cancelled all in-person meetings; their contact centers remain open to handle participant inquiries, and representatives continue to conduct phone and video conference meetings when possible. You can schedule a virtual meeting in your online account or by calling 1.800.633.5461, option 1.

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03/15/2020 – Important Message for Members, Participants, Stakeholders
Please be assured that SERS leadership is regularly monitoring and continuously evaluating the circumstances for the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation …

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03/14/2020 – Bensalem Regional Counseling Center Closed
Effective immediately, by order of the Governor, the Bensalem Regional Counseling Center is closed. If you have questions about your SERS pension plan, please e-mail RA-SERSretc@pa.gov or call 1.800.633.5461 and leave a message.

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