When it comes to the employee benefit package offered at your employer, all that information can feel overwhelming. Every benefit has different rules, different enrollment periods, different ‘must knows.’ It’s enough to make your head hurt. We get tons of questions emailed to us every month from members wanting clarification on a part of their LAGERS benefit, so I thought this month, I would take a survey of some of the most commonly asked questions. Hopefully this week’s blog can help simplify at least a few of your FAQs when it comes to LAGERS!
What happens to my LAGERS benefit if I quit?
It is quite common these days for an employee to have two or three different jobs (or more!) during a working career. It comes as no surprise that one of the most common questions we get at LAGERS is ‘what happens to my benefit if I quit?’
Here are a couple must-knows when it comes to changing jobs:
- Vesting is important. Make sure you know whether you are vested when you leave because vesting is what determines your options for your LAGERS benefits when quitting a job.
- If you are vested, you can go ahead and apply for a deferred retirement benefit if you don’t think you will work in the LAGERS system again. That way when you are age-eligible for your benefit to begin, the paperwork is mostly taken care of already!
- LAGERS doesn’t need anything from you if you plan to change jobs and are moving to another LAGERS employer. You will simply complete a new enrollment form at your new employer and your benefit will continue to grow, it’s that easy!
- Beware of the member contribution refund. While this may be the best option for some, refunding your member contributions results in a forfeiture of service credit. This means that if you take a job in the future with another LAGERS employer, your service starts back at zero, and it will take you 5 more years of work to vest in a new benefit.
Is my benefit taxable?
Yes, LAGERS benefits are subject to both state and federal income tax. However, there are some great tax benefits that LAGERS retirees may be eligible to take advantage of, such as the Missouri Public Pension Exemption. Visit our website to learn more.
What is pension funding?
You hear a lot of buzz about pension funding in the media. Simply put, a pension funding ratio is the measure of assets verses liabilities, or how much money is on hand to pay out promised benefits. It is important for retirement plans to properly fund benefits, so that when employees retire, there is money available to pay those benefits. Your LAGERS system has extremely sound funding policies, and as a system, is almost 95% pre-funded! LAGERS members can retire with the peace of mind in knowing that their hard-earned benefit will always be there for them.
Are their hardship withdraws in LAGERS?
No, LAGERS does not allow hardship withdraws or refunds of contributions to employees actively working in the system. Why? Because LAGERS takes those contributions and puts that money to work in the markets. Because over 60% of a member’s benefit is funded through investment return of the system, having your contributions working for you 24/7 is crucial making sure that we can guarantee a secure retirement in the future.
How do I update my address or beneficiaries?
Don’t see the answer to your LAGERS’ FAQs? LAGERS staff is always here to answer your questions. Feel free to call or email our office to speak with a LAGERS representative today!