If you wish to help support the ongoing costs of running this blog and you haven't purchased anything through Amazon on this site, please consider a small donation to defray basic costs. It isn't free to me to keep this site current. I have to pay for bandwidth, costs of duplicating documents when they exist only in paper form, and keep printer ink around to read lengthy documents, and the time to do the research. Thank you. Marc Feldesman, site owner and publisher.
Oregon PERS Information is Copyright Marc R. Feldesman (c) 2003 - 2017 All Rights Reserved. Posts may not be reprinted without prior consent.


Please don't post your comments more than once. I moderate all comments and a delay between posting and appearing is part of the drill here. I get to all comments in due time. Please don't continually repost the same comment. Only one will be posted. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Handle With Care

As a result of many complaints to me and suggestions to PERS from me, the online PERS Retirement Benefit Estimate Calculator will have some updated verbiage to clarify what it does and doesn't do. Rather than paraphrase, I'm going to use David Crosley's response to me for the rest of this entry. David is PERS' official spokesman and is coordinating the PERS Retiree Focus Group, of which I am member. Here is David's description of the changes to be made to the Calculator verbiage:

"I reviewed the verbiage in the disclaimers and will have some changes made. Also, we corrected the "2005 ending balance" to 2006 for the variable portion.

The disclaimer at the beginning of the calculator will be changed to read: "The PERS Benefit Estimate Calculator calculates an estimated retirement benefit based on the data you provide. The calculator is not connected to your earnings record, PERS information file, or your employer's information file. As a result, near-term retirement dates tend to produce more accurate results. The accuracy of your estimate
will depend on how closely the information you provide matches the information used to calculate your benefit at the time you retire."

I will also have the updated disclaimer highlighted in bold. A member must agree to the statement before he/she can produce an online estimate.

I will also have information bolded regarding the calculator's limitations (what the calculator does not do):
· Estimates for judges, legislative members, and TIAA-CREF members.
· Costs and impacts associated with optional purchases. For information on purchases, please contact PERS Customer Service.
· Estimates if any part of an account balance has been or will be distributed to an alternate payee, or if a benefit will be adjusted as a result of a divorce decree.
· Disability retirement benefits.
· Estimates where any of your total service time includes time accrued under the Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan (OPSRP).

Our Benefits Calc section tells me that the calculator provides an estimate that is within pennies of a written estimate for Money Match.

If Money Match provides the highest benefit estimate for a member, the verbiage at the top of the estimate page states: "The information you have provided indicates you MAY BE affected by the City of Eugene vs. PERS settlement. The impact of the settlement is not included in the figures below. If you would like to estimate the impact of the settlement on your benefit, please click here."

The member is then directed to a page with a disclaimer that will be updated to read: "This calculator is not connected to your earnings record, PERS information file, or your employer's information file. As a result, near-term retirement dates tend to produce more accurate results. The accuracy of this estimate will depend on how closely the information you provide matches the information at your retirement."
This will be in bold text as well.

Our Benefits Calc section tells me that the calculator provides a "var at reg/var at var" estimate that is very close to a written estimate."


Hopefully, these clarifications and disclosures will make the benefit calculator more useful for members and will make transparent the areas where the calculator is apt to produce either too optimistic or too pessimistic estimates.

No comments: