DRS announces Nearing Retirement Seminar-webinars

White ceramic teacup sits on railing with mountains and lake in the distance

Is retirement around the corner? The Department of Retirement Systems’ Education & Outreach team offers Nearing Retirement Seminar-webinars.  The next one is Saturday, May 21, 2022.

Although the Nearing Retirement Seminars are open to all employees, they are designed for those who plan to retire within the next few years.  Basic retirement plan information will not be provided at these seminars, but it’s important to understand the basics of your plan prior to attending.  If you would like to brush up, we encourage you to select your retirement plan and watch the recorded webinar video:

PERS Plan 1
TRS Plan 1
Plan 2: PERS, SERS, TRS
Plan 3: PERS, SERS, TRS
Plan 3 withdrawals
DCP withdrawals

Select Nearing Retirement Seminars for more information and how to join.  Be advised that while you can pre-register, you don’t have to.  From the seminar page, just select ‘Join’ 10-15 minutes prior to start. 

If you are unable to attend a live event, scroll down the seminar page and you will find recorded seminar videos you can watch at a time that is more convenient.

If you are a member of SERS or TRS, in addition to attending a seminar I encourage you to review: When is the best time to retire? 

Timesheet Tuesdays

Some employees have raised concerns that they are unable to submit for their time worked in order to be paid. We do not want barriers to staff being paid. In fact, the whole purpose of the new system is to make getting paid easier and faster. Therefore, we have implemented a couple of changes and will do more as we understand what aspects of our timesheet system are a barrier and how we can improve.

  • Timesheet Tuesdays: Virtual Office hours every Tuesday morning and afternoon, through June 21, 2022. We will help you through your stack of submissions (see links at the end of this blog post).
  • One-on-one phone support. We will walk you through accessing the form and getting started, or help you with a problem submission.
  • Working through your stack and running into an issue, email help-payroll@osd.wednet.edu
  • Video tutorials, easier access: many short (1 minute) tutorials are developed for each employee group and type of time. Now there is easier access to the tutorials from the online forms intranet page.

Help: I Cannot Submit a Timesheet!

My timesheet (item) has been rejected by a supervisor or program manager.

If a supervisor or program manager rejects your timesheet item, they give a reason and that reason is emailed to you. If you understand the reason, great, you can resubmit the item. If not please seek help from the Payroll Office and they will research it for you.

I keep trying to submit, but the system will not let me.

If you are never able to submit a timesheet item (for example, your name key is not correct or the name of the person that you substituted for–Internal Substitute–is not correct) you must reach out to the Payroll Office so that they can research the problem and help you. The Payroll Office does not get notified that you have attempted to but have been unsuccessful at submitting a timesheet item. Therefore, you must reach out for help.

Please see below for the multiple options for how to get help from the Payroll Office

Virtual Office Hours, Tuesday Timesheet Help

The Payroll Office staff will offer virtual office hours with the following zoom links each Tuesday for a total of one hour, through June 21, 2022. Drop in at any point of these zooms, and they will help you as long as it takes. Others may be in the zoom also; if your question is one that you would like to discuss in private, they will create a break out room and problem solve with you one-on-one.

Please note, if you arrive into the virtual office later in the window (e.g., 7:55 am), the time will not end; Payroll will stay to help you.

Tuesdays 7:30-8 am: Tuesday AM Timesheet Help Session
Tuesdays 3:30-4 pm: Tuesday PM Timesheet Help Session

One-on-One Phone Support

Please dial 360-596-6190.  Payroll staff will send you a zoom link, share screens and walk you through help or just coach you on the phone. Office hours are typically 8 am to 4:30 pm, but may vary during breaks and holidays.

Submit an Issue and We will Research It

If you are experiencing trouble with a submission, please email the payroll office with a short description of the problem. help-payroll@osd.wednet.edu

Video Tutorials

On the online forms webpage, there is a new link to the video tutorials. These are divided by employee group and type of time. This way, as you are filling out a form, and having difficulty you can more easily access the tutorial.

Image of the district website payroll page that says "Payroll ?How to use these forms"

This link takes you to the many 1-minute videos and written tutorials:

This image shows where on the payroll page of the website to find the online tutorials. go to Olympia Education Association (OEA) Certificated dropdown, then see three tutorial videos: Type of timesleep, Allocated Hours and Internal Substitute.

New HELP Box

Next to the online forms, we have added a new box with key links for easy access to help. All of the items described above, have a reminder or link in this box.

This displays links that are next to the online forms: They are:
Submit a Timesheet
Search my Timesheets
Submit Time Off
Supervisors Approve Timesheets
The image also include a box with the email for help, which is help-payroll@osd.wednet.edu, or all 360-596-6190. It also lists the times for Timesheet Tuesday Zoom help, which are included in the text in the article

Upcoming retirement webinars, including during Spring Break

White ceramic teacup sits on railing with mountains and lake in the distance

The Department of Retirement Systems’ Education & Outreach team is happy to announce that additional webinars will be offered during spring break for school employees. To join a Zoom webinar, visit the DRS webinar page and select the name of the webinar from the list of topics. We recommend joining 5-10 minutes early to check sound and connection. 

If you are unable to attend a live webinar, the following on-demand webinar videos can be viewed at your convenience:

Get to know the plans

Choosing a plan (new members of PERS, SERS, TRS) – recently updated
DCP (Washington State Deferred Compensation Program)
Plan 1 (PERS)
Plan 1 (TRS)
Plan 2 (PERS, SERS, TRS)
Plan 3 (PERS, SERS, TRS)
Multiple Plans (dual membership)

Financial Wellness

Estimate your benefit
Investment basics
Online tools & resources – recently updated

Withdrawals and retirement

Early retirement (PERS, SERS, TRS)
Purchasing an annuity (incl annuity service credit) – recently updated
DCP withdrawals (distributions from supplemental savings) – recently updated
Plan 3 withdrawals (distributions from investments) – recently updated
Benefit options (survivorship) – recently updated
Working after retirement (PERS, SERS, TRS)

Nearing Retirement Seminar

Getting ready for retirement
Applying for retirement (tutorial of the online application)
Social Security basics
Health care in retirement (includes Medicare)
VEBA (HRA) – recently updated

If you are planning to retire soon, I also recommend reading the following DRS article: When is the best time to retire?

Department of Retirement Systems offers Nearing Retirement Seminar February 26

White ceramic teacup sits on railing with mountains and lake in the distance

Is retirement around the corner? The Department of Retirement Systems’ Education & Outreach team offers Nearing Retirement Seminars online. The next seminar is at 9 a.m. on Saturday, February 26, 2022.

Select Nearing Retirement Seminars for more information and how to join the seminar. Be advised that while you can preregister, it is not necessary to do so. Select the date link, or from the seminar page select “Join” 10-15 minutes prior to the start.

If you are unable to attend a live event, scroll down the seminar page and you will find recorded seminar videos you can watch at a time that is more convenient.

Although the Nearing Retirement Seminars are open to all employees, they are designed for those who plan to retire within the next few years. Basic retirement plan information will not be provided at these seminars, but it is important to understand the basics of your plan prior to attending. If you would like to brush up, we encourage you to select your retirement plan and watch the recorded webinar video:

In addition, if you are a member of SERS or TRS, please review the following article: Resignation timing affects health and pension benefits for school employees and teachers.

DRS offers webinar video recordings about Deferred Compensation Program

Person typing on a laptop computer indoors at a desk

The Department of Retirement Systems offers on-demand webinar video recordings about the Washington State Deferred Compensation Program (DCP):

DCP is a voluntary, supplemental retirement savings program. Content includes:

  • Flexible contributions
  • Federal income tax benefits
  • Investment approaches
  • Manage account
  • And more!

The following are on-demand webinar video recordings that employees may watch at a time that is most convenient:

Just 4 days left for SEBB Open Enrollment! Make any changes by Monday, November 22, 2021

Image of sand running out inside glass tube

The School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program’s annual open enrollment began October 25, 2021 and ends Monday, November 22, 2021.

Open enrollment is your opportunity to make changes to your health plan benefits. Changes are effective January 1, 2022.

  • What changes can you make? The SEBB Program’s annual open enrollment is your opportunity to:
    • Change medical and dental plans.
    • Add or remove dependents.
    • Reattest to the spouse or state-registered domestic partner premium surcharge (SRDP) (if you received a letter asking you to reattest.)
    • Enroll in the Medical FSA, Limited Purpose FSA (new for 2022), or DCAP through Navia Benefit Solutions.
    • Consider your long-term disability insurance coverage (changes are coming for 2022).
    • Waive your medical coverage if you are enrolled in other employer-based group medical, a TRICARE plan, or Medicare.
    • Enroll in medical coverage if you previously waived.
  • Learn more about the changes you can make on our open enrollment webpage and in the October Intercom
  • How do I make changes? Log in to SEBB My Account.

Resources for open enrollment

SEBB is offering multiple ways to learn about benefits from the comfort of your home.

  • Virtual benefits fairs – During open enrollment, you can learn more about your health plans and other insurance options by visiting the virtual benefits fair.
  • ALEX – Help you understand your SEBB benefits and guide you through choosing your medical, dental, and vision plans. ALEX will suggest plans for you to consider, based on your responses to questions. Access ALEX at wa.gov/alex and within SEBB My Account.
  • Webinars – Attend a webinar provided by our carriers and vendors. See the schedule.
  • Facebook Live – Join us on HCA’s Facebook on Monday, November 2 at 4 p.m.
  • Web content – Visit the SEBB Open enrollment
  • Intercom newsletter – The newsletter includes information about the changes to benefits, what changes you can make during annual open enrollment and how to make them, monthly premiums, and more. Read the October IntercomNote: Since the newsletter was released, there have been clarifications about Kaiser Permanente of Washington’s (KPWA) and KPWA Option’s networks that could affect your coverage.  Read the announcement on HCA’s website to learn more.
  • Need help? – Contact your benefits office.

Change to long-term disability insurance benefit

The employee-paid long-term disability (LTD) benefit will change starting January 1, 2022. You will automatically be enrolled in employee-paid LTD, if not already enrolled.

Note: Your long-term disability benefit is different from the state’s new long-term care benefit, which is called The WA Cares FundLong-term disability replaces a portion of your income due to accident, illness, or pregnancy. You can reduce or decline your employee-paid LTD coverage at any time. Long-term care pays for the cost of care when you need assistance with activities of daily living and is not currently part of your SEBB Program benefits.

The LTD benefit will offer a minimum 90-day benefit waiting period with two coverage level options. You will be automatically enrolled in the coverage level that covers 60 percent of the first $16,667 of your monthly predisability earnings. This has a maximum monthly benefit of $10,000.

You have the option to reduce your employee-paid LTD to a lower-cost 50-percent coverage level, with a maximum monthly benefit of $8,333. You also have the option to decline the coverage. If you reduce or decline the employee-paid benefit and later decide to enroll in or increase your coverage, you will need to provide evidence of insurability and be approved by Standard Insurance Company. You can reduce or decline your employee-paid LTD coverage at any time by logging into SEBB My Account. However, if you don’t reduce or decline your LTD benefit election by December 31 [or your payroll cutoff date], you will be enrolled in the 60-percent plan, and the premium will be deducted from your paycheck for January 2022 coverage.

If you have questions about your benefits or account, please contact your benefits office at sebb@osd.wednet.edu.

Supplemental Benefits: NW Benefit Advisors Open Enrollment ends Nov. 22, 2021

NW Benefit Advisors provides voluntary benefits that are exclusive to the district. These benefits are not part of SEBB.

OSD employees can access the NW Benefit Advisors website regarding open enrollment for supplemental benefits along with SEBB information. Open enrollment ends on November 22.

  • View all the voluntary benefit brochures and videos
    • Benefits offered: Aflac, Trustmark, Legalease, Identity Protection, Pet Insurance and more!
  • See the schedules for Zoom sessions to learn about your benefits.
  • Schedule a personal appointment with NW Benefit Advisors to discuss the voluntary benefits exclusive to your district.
  • Access all the links for SEBB plans and webinars.

Access the NW Benefit Advisors website

Supplemental Benefits: NW Benefit Advisors Open Enrollment Information

NW Benefit Advisors provides voluntary benefits that are exclusive to the district. These benefits are not part of SEBB.

OSD employees can access the NW Benefit Advisors website regarding open enrollment for supplemental benefits along with SEBB information. Open enrollment ends on November 22.

  • View all the voluntary benefit brochures and videos
    • Benefits offered: Aflac, Trustmark, Legalease, Identity Protection, Pet Insurance and more!
  • See the schedules for Zoom sessions to learn about your benefits.
  • Schedule a personal appointment with NW Benefit Advisors to discuss the voluntary benefits exclusive to your district.
  • Access all the links for SEBB plans and webinars.

Access the NW Benefit Advisors website

SEBB Program’s Annual Open Enrollment continues through November 22, 2021

The School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program’s annual open enrollment began October 25, 2021 and ends Monday, November 22, 2021.

Open enrollment is your opportunity to make changes to your health plan benefits. Changes are effective January 1, 2022.

  • What changes can you make? The SEBB Program’s annual open enrollment is your opportunity to:
    • Change medical and dental plans.
    • Add or remove dependents.
    • Reattest to the spouse or state-registered domestic partner premium surcharge (SRDP) (if you received a letter asking you to reattest.)
    • Enroll in the Medical FSA, Limited Purpose FSA (new for 2022), or DCAP through Navia Benefit Solutions.
    • Consider your long-term disability insurance coverage (changes are coming for 2022).
    • Waive your medical coverage if you are enrolled in other employer-based group medical, a TRICARE plan, or Medicare.
    • Enroll in medical coverage if you previously waived.
  • Learn more about the changes you can make on our open enrollment webpage and in the October Intercom
  • How do I make changes? Log in to SEBB My Account starting October 25, 2021.

Resources for open enrollment

SEBB is offering multiple ways to learn about benefits from the comfort of your home.

  • Virtual benefits fairs – During open enrollment, you can learn more about your health plans and other insurance options by visiting the virtual benefits fair.
  • ALEX – Help you understand your SEBB benefits and guide you through choosing your medical, dental, and vision plans. ALEX will suggest plans for you to consider, based on your responses to questions. Access ALEX at wa.gov/alex and within SEBB My Account.
  • Webinars – Attend a webinar provided by our carriers and vendors. See the schedule.
  • Facebook Live – Join us on HCA’s Facebook on Monday, November 2 at 4 p.m.
  • Web content – Visit the SEBB Open enrollment
  • Intercom newsletter – The newsletter includes information about the changes to benefits, what changes you can make during annual open enrollment and how to make them, monthly premiums, and more. Read the October IntercomNote: Since the newsletter was released, there have been clarifications about Kaiser Permanente of Washington’s (KPWA) and KPWA Option’s networks that could affect your coverage.  Read the announcement on HCA’s website to learn more.
  • Need help? – Contact your benefits office.

Change to long-term disability insurance benefit

The employee-paid long-term disability (LTD) benefit will change starting January 1, 2022. You will automatically be enrolled in employee-paid LTD, if not already enrolled.

Note: Your long-term disability benefit is different from the state’s new long-term care benefit, which is called The WA Cares FundLong-term disability replaces a portion of your income due to accident, illness, or pregnancy. You can reduce or decline your employee-paid LTD coverage at any time. Long-term care pays for the cost of care when you need assistance with activities of daily living and is not currently part of your SEBB Program benefits.

The LTD benefit will offer a minimum 90-day benefit waiting period with two coverage level options. You will be automatically enrolled in the coverage level that covers 60 percent of the first $16,667 of your monthly predisability earnings. This has a maximum monthly benefit of $10,000.

You have the option to reduce your employee-paid LTD to a lower-cost 50-percent coverage level, with a maximum monthly benefit of $8,333. You also have the option to decline the coverage. If you reduce or decline the employee-paid benefit and later decide to enroll in or increase your coverage, you will need to provide evidence of insurability and be approved by Standard Insurance Company. You can reduce or decline your employee-paid LTD coverage at any time by logging into SEBB My Account. However, if you don’t reduce or decline your LTD benefit election by December 31 [or your payroll cutoff date], you will be enrolled in the 60-percent plan, and the premium will be deducted from your paycheck for January 2022 coverage.

If you have questions about your benefits or account, please contact your benefits office at sebb@osd.wednet.edu.

SEBB Program’s annual open enrollment begins October 25

Person writes on a paper calendar on a desk flipping between the months of October and November

The School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program’s annual open enrollment begins Monday, October 25, 2021, and ends Monday, November 22, 2021.

Open enrollment is your opportunity to make changes to your health plan benefits. All changes made during open enrollment are effective January 1, 2022.

  • What changes can you make? Learn about the changes you can make on the HCA website under Open Enrollment (SEBB)
  • Learn about the changes for the 2022 SEBB Benefits – SEBB has important changes for 2022 regarding Long Term Disability, Flexible Spending Accounts, Dependent Care Assistance Program, Spousal Surcharge attestation, and Dual Enrollment in SEBB and PEBB. Make sure to visit the HCA website under Open Enrollment (SEBB) to understand how these changes affect you.
  • How do I make changes? Log in to SEBB My Account and submit your changes between October 25 and November 22, 2021.
  •  Look for your SEBB Intercom newsletter – It will be mail/emailed on October 12, 2021 by Health Care Authority

If you have questions about your benefits or account, please contact your benefits administrator Amy McGuire at SEBB@osd.wednet.edu.