FAQ - Retirement Enhancement years 31, 32, 33, 34, 35

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In the 2020 negotiations we tried many different ways to improve the language of the Retirement Enhancement to include adding $1,150 to salary from year 28 to retirement, or paying out some lesser amount starting 5 years before retirement eligibility.  Our team was very creative. The Board would not agree to any changes that would cost more than the $1,150 per year.   We actually convinced them to move from $3,450 over 3 years to $3,500 over 5 years!!

 

Therefore, the language effective Fall 2020 will pay $700 per year from year 31 to 35.   It also allows members to use a combination of STRS and SERS service time.   So, instead of a retirement enhancement that will not impact retirement, we have a system that will make a difference for more members.   If a member retires at 35 years, then $700 per year in their BEST 5 years translates to close to $540 per year extra, for life.

 

So how is the transition from the old system to the new system going to work?

I already received the enhancement in year 28, 29, and 30 - This new language does not impact you at all.  You already got the money.

 

I received one or two years of pay for years 28, 29 and 30 - the Board is going to prorate the total compensation of $3,500 so that in years 31 to 35 you will get less.   It is incredibly cheap, but you will still receive the enhancement.  If you already received the enhancement for three years then you will not receive any additional pay in years 31-35. 

I have combined SERS and STRS service credit - when you reach 30 combined years earned you can put in for pay starting in year 31.

There are probably few people who will be earning the Retirement Enhancement for a few years since most members were paid in years 28, 29 and 30 who were eligible.  No one is eligible until they are in year 31 now.

Additionally, we believe that once you submit documentation proving that you are eligible in year 31, that the Board should know that in year 32, 33, 34, 35 that you are eligible.   However, the Board insisted on forcing people to continue to submit paperwork to prove it.   So, we will have to continue submitting paperwork each of those 5 years.   If you miss a deadline you lose out on your $700 (or less, if prorated) per year.

Overall, this language is an improvement for the vast majority of our members.   It is not what we wanted.   It is not what we deserve, but we believe it will help more members over time.

In October you should have received your annual statement from STRS and/or SERS or you can print out your statement by setting up an online account. The statements of account covers all years of service credit up to June 30 of the last school year. If your statement indicates that you have at least 30 years of service but less than 31, you are eligible for the $700 and the Human Resources Department needs to be so informed by November 15th.   Keep in mind that you must apply each year for 5 years that you are eligible to receive the enhancement. 

 
If you need a letter, you can use the one attached to this article (you may need to change the year).  Please read the memo, follow the instructions, and respond on the tear slip at the bottom. 
 
Questions? Call the Union Office.
 
 
Fraternally,
 
Ari Klein, President

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