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Monday, May 21, 2007

Calling Elvis

Anybody home? Despite widespread efforts to spread the word, the PERS Coalition and its attorney Greg Hartman have not been successful in finding suitable plaintiffs to file suit against PERS for the travesty known as the "Lipscomb Match" for variable account holders at retirement. To refresh your memory, this change in matching methodology was prescribed by Judge Lipscomb in his remand of the 1999 earnings crediting decision to the PERS Board. In response, the PERB entered into a settlement agreement with the suit plaintiffs that, among other things, required PERS to compute the employer match in an entirely different way. This affects retirees with a variable account who retired ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 2004. Aside from the going-nowhere-fast White case, which contests the settlement itself, there are no specific legal challenges to the variable match change. So, the PERS Coalition is looking for suitable plaintiffs. If you retired on or after July 1, 2004, had a variable account, and have substantial evidence that you were financially harmed by this revised approach to the variable match, you should contact the PERS Coalition through its attorney, Greg Hartman.

The Lipscomb methodology deprives retirees of the employer match to actual earnings in the variable account. Instead, the revised method considers employer match only as if the money had been in the regular account for the total length of time the retiree was in variable. There are two calculations done: var@var (the old method which provides a dollar for dollar match to variable account balances) and the var@regular (which matches only what the variable dollars would have earned if the money had been in the regular account). There have been claims of massive harm, but to date the claim has not been backed up with a sufficient number of documentable cases to file suit. If you are in the category of having experienced harm (i.e. lost money that you thought you should have been entitled but for the change in methodology), get in touch quickly. Both the time and motivation for filing suit is getting shorter each day.

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