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Friday, January 27, 2012

You Win Again

After several email exchanges with the good people at PERS, I now have an answer to the question posed in my previous post "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye".  Unfortunately for all the people retiring, the answer isn't the one they had hoped for, and I'm afraid that PERS is well-covered for what they do.  I won't bother with the first of the messages since it is largely unnecessary relative to the followup email.  From David Crosley, PERS' Communication Director:

"The IAP retirement application states: "IAP accounts are subject to earnings or losses. Your IAP disbursement is based on the account balance at the time PERS processes the payment, not the date you select to retire."

Tier One/Tier Two statute (Chapter 238) differs from IAP statute (Chapter 238A) regarding crediting.

For Tier One and Tier Two, Oregon Revised Statutes 238.300 states in part that interest is "credited at the time of retirement."

For the IAP, Oregon Revised Statutes 238A.350 states in part that "adjustments...shall continue until the account is distributed to the member or forfeited." "

Thus, the behavior PERS exhibits with regard to the distribution of the IAP account (however and to whom it is distributed) is entirely in conformance with the statute covering the IAP, written by the Legislature in 2003 and modified slightly in 2005.  If people are unhappy with the way PERS does things, it will require legislative action to change.  Like everything involved with the Legislature it is always wise to be careful what you wish for.  Moreover, PERS cannot be charged with failing to tell people as the application itself contains the key sentence (above) that describes exactly what happens at the time the account is distributed.



Unknown said...

Interesting contrasting this reality with the newly minted PERS Mission Statement:

Our Mission:
We serve the people of Oregon by administering public employee benefit trusts to pay the right person the right benefit at the right time.

Our Core Values:
- Integrity: Inspiring trust through transparency and accountability
- Innovation: Empowering change through collaborative teamwork
- Simplicity: Reducing barriers through clear communication and streamlined processes

Our Core Operating Principles:
- Member Service: Enabling our diverse membership to make informed decisions
- Data Integrity: Partnering with employers and members to ensure timely and reliable information
- Information Security: Constantly vigilant to safeguard confidential information
Like so much of life, there can be a big gap between theory and reality.


Unknown said...

Marc have you "crunched" the numbers to see what the relationship between the two methods of payment would be. For example if you invested the "lump sum" due @ 5% annualized return would your return exceed the PERS lifetime actuarial reduction? I wonder if someone might be able to do that based upon current age, life-expectancy etc. Then one would be making a decision based upon solid numbers of comparison....Similar to the Social Security decision to retire at 62 for a 'reduced' benefit vs 66 for full benefit.