We have two recent announcements to share from the Department of Retirement Systems:
- The Department of Retirement Systems has posted an article on the DRS website that is of particular interest to teachers and school employees who are nearing retirement. It provides information about the various implications to consider when weighing a July vs. September retirement date, including a new consideration related to the launch of SEBB and health insurance costs. Here is a link to the article: Plan 2/3 teachers and school employees ask: What’s the best retirement month for me?
- The 2020 Retirement Planning Seminar schedule is available from the Department of Retirement Systems. If you are a member of a DRS-administered system (LEOFF, PERS, PSERS, SERS, TRS, WSPRS) and within five years of retirement, these workshops are for you. See the seminar overview and register online at your convenience. Other options for registering are to email DRS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-664-7300 or 888-711-6676.
If you don’t find a seminar that is convenient for you, you may be interested in viewing a DRS seminar video online. Also, the education section of the DRS website will help with your retirement planning regardless of how close or far away it is.
If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for your DRS online account. When logged in, you can review your service credit, contributions, beneficiary information and much more. You can also create a benefit estimate that is based on the data in your account and, when you’re ready, retire online.
Please note: Due to space limitations, registration for DRS seminars is limited to members of DRS-administered retirement systems. DRS is not able to accommodate reservation requests for members of other retirement systems.
How did your SEBB open enrollment go?
The Washington State Health Care Authority wants to hear about your first School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program open enrollment experience. Please take this short online survey by 5 p.m. on January 31, 2020, to let HCA know what worked and what could be improved about SEBB enrollment.
The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. It is being conducted and analyzed by an independent research firm apart from HCA to ensure that your answers remain confidential.
Thank you for your participation!
Below is a copy of an email sent to all OSD employees on December 19, 2019:
The School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) December 9 mailing to Olympia School District employees contained incomplete or incorrect information and could be missing dependents due to a programming error. SEBB is mailing a corrected version to all 2,751 employees that were affected statewide.
The new letter will include updated dependent(s) and health plan enrollment information. This letter replaces the December 9 letter. Employees should review the corrected letter and, if necessary, submit any appeals based on the new letter.
If your letter is dated something other than December 9, and your letter has the correct information that relates to your SEBB account, then no further action is necessary.
The IRS has created a new Payroll Form W-4 for 2020. Newly hired employees in 2020 or any employees hired prior to 2020 who wish to adjust their withholdings in 2020 must use the redesigned form.
This new design reduces the complexity of the process and improves the withholding system’s clarity and reliability. In the past, the value of a withholding allowance was tied to the amount of the personal exemption. Due to changes in law, currently you cannot claim personal exemptions or dependency exemptions. Allowances are no longer used for the redesigned Form W-4, therefore you cannot complete the old W-4 Form.
Key Points to Remember:
- New Form Name “Employee’s Withholding Certification.”
- No longer uses allowances which have been tied to the amount of personal exemptions.
- Form is now divided into 5 steps. Steps 1 and 5 are required. Steps 2-4 are optional.
- There are 5 worksheets in Publication 15-T (Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods).
- Only newly hired employees in 2020 or any employees hired prior to 2020 who wish to adjust their withholdings in 2020 must use the redesigned form.
View the form on the IRS website
The school district is offering several benefits packages that are supplemental to the new health care benefits through the state Health Care Authority. These benefits include Short Term Disability, Accident, Cancer/Critical Illness, Cancer Screening, Hospital Coverage, Long-Term Care, and Legal, ID Protection, and Pet Insurance.
Open enrollment has been extended through December 20. Benefits begin January 1, 2020.
The Payroll Office has brochures for each type of insurance. Please stop by to pick one up.
Carefully consider the following: The district will offer supplemental benefits now. This year only there are NO medical questions related to signing up for these benefits and NO waiting periods for pre-existing conditions. Supplemental benefits typically carry pre-existing conditions exclusions, but these are all waived during this introductory time. (Insurance companies typically waive questions when new benefits are introduced to employees).
In the future, employees may contact N.W. Benefit Advisors directly. In any future enrollment there will be medical questions to answer. Waiting periods and exclusions for pre-existing conditions WILL also apply next year. Take some time and consider these options now!
If you want more information you can contact Claudia De Alba at (425) 458-4988 or email@example.com. They have evening and weekend phone appointments.
With the approach of the new year, it’s a great time to evaluate your Deferred Compensation Program contributions. Are you saving enough to meet your retirement goals?
The IRS has increased the amount you can defer into DCP. In 2020, you can contribute up to the following maximum amounts:
- $19,500 annually if you are under age 50
- $26,000 annually if you turn 50 or older in 2020
Even if you don’t contribute to the maximum, it’s a good idea to check your deferral amounts and consider saving a bit more in 2020.
Depending on your employer’s payroll, it can take up to 30 days for your account changes to go into effect. So for the new year, you might want to start your changes now! Change your contributions through your online account at www.drs.wa.gov/login or call the DCP record keeper for assistance at 888-327-5596.
Remember, DCP is a special type of savings program that helps you invest for the secure and stable retirement you want to achieve. Unlike traditional savings accounts, DCP is tax-deferred — it lowers your taxable income while you are working and it delays payments of income taxes on your investments until you withdraw your funds. DCP is a great way to save!
To learn more, visit the DCP website at www.drs.wa.gov/dcp.
The Payroll Office would like to share with all employees that enrollment for voluntary SEBB Benefits has been extended to December 20. More details are included in the adjacent flyer: