KRS - F.Y.I. is your direct connection to current, factual information about your KRS-administered benefits. This is where you can find our response to rumors, press coverage, interesting topics, and other information about the Systems. Be the first to learn of organizational announcements, and stay informed about upcoming events that are important to you.
Pre-Retirement Education Program Registration Now Open
Program registration is now available for our Tier 1 and Tier 2 members who are
within two years of retirement. These sessions are designed to help members
understand their KRS benefits so they can make important decisions about
the future. Pension reform, retirement eligibility, medical insurance benefits
and reemployment after retirement are some of the topics covered in the
program. Advance registration is required for each attendee. Register Today
Governor Signs Pension Reform Bill
Governor Bevin has signed Senate Bill 151, the pension reform bill. Staff is reviewing the bill. A summary of changes will be published when available. Remember, you can keep up with all retirement-related legislation on our Legislative Updates page.
KRS Executive Director David Eager spoke at the Kentucky Public Retirees 35th Annual Conference in Lexington, KY on June 13, 2018. View his presentation here.
KRS has received a number of inquiries concerning retirement trends. Attached is our most recent information, updated to reflect the total number of retirements effective June 1, 2018. KRS Retirement Trends
KRS staff have received several
questions from our members concerning how taxes will affect their benefit
payments. KRS does not withhold state income taxes from the benefit payments,
but the member is still responsible for state income taxes when filing their
returns each year. You can read more about Taxes
and Your Responsibilities on our website. House Bill 366 reduced the
current $41,110 tax exclusion for “…pension plans, annuity contracts,
profit-sharing plans, retirement plans, or employee savings plans…” to $31,110
for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2018. The change
appears in Section 55 of the bill, page 163, lines 2 through 6. Please
note that this exclusion applies to pension income earned on or after January
KRS is unable to provide tax
advice. Retirees should consult a qualified tax advisor to discuss how
this change may affect their tax returns.
Due to increased requests to meet with a retirement counselor, KRS has put in place the following specific requirements in order to schedule an appointment:
- Members must be within one (1) year of retirement eligibility either by age or service or eligible to purchase service credit.
- At the time your appointment is scheduled, you will be required to designate which retirement dates you wish to discuss during your appointment. All requests will be prepared in advance of the scheduled appointment time. Similarly, if you are eligible to make a purchase, valid verification, if required, must be on file prior to scheduling the appointment.
- If you choose to come to KRS to complete your retirement paperwork, our office must receive a valid "Form 6000, Notification of Retirement" and valid supporting documentation before an appointment will be scheduled. For further information on filing a Form 6000 please click here: Ready to Retire
For Calculation Requests:
At this time, requests for retirement estimates will only be taken for members who are within two (2) years of retirement eligibility or for those who wish to make a service purchase. For all others, we invite you to register for Member Self Service where you can calculate your own retirement estimates… and also take advantage of a variety of other features designed to help you manage your retirement account.
Please click here to get started: Member Self Service
We've heard them periodically over the years… it's not unusual for rumors about retirement benefit changes to spread. Please rely on KRS as your fact source for questions you have about your benefits.
While we don't know what the future holds, here are a few points to consider:
1. Rumors are just that: rumors, and not facts. If something affecting the funding or the benefits administered by Kentucky Retirement Systems is confirmed, we will inform you via this website and KRS social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter.
2. Retirement benefits administered by KRS are based on state and federal law. This means the Kentucky General Assembly has to introduce legislation and pass it before any changes to benefits can occur. To stay current with legislative happenings, or to read more information about the legislative process, please visit the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission website: http://lrc.ky.gov/
3. Shifting assets from one plan to another is specifically prohibited by federal and state statutes. To put it simply, it cannot legally be done.
4. Retirements have increased, but are not spiking. For the first three (3) months of Fiscal Year 2018, retirements are up 13.8%.
5. KRS staff is staying current on retirement member consulting. We are working overtime and not accepting non-critical consulting for the time being, but retiring members are being served.
6. Our counselors and other KRS employees are not authorized to discuss hypothetical, or "what if," situations. We are only able to explain benefit options as they are currently written in state law.
KRS is currently experiencing heavier-than-usual call volumes, as more members are wanting to speak directly to benefits counselors concerning their retirement options.
WHY THE INCREASE IN CALL VOLUME?
August and September are typically very busy times for KRS counselors, as many people choose to retire in these months.
HOW ARE CALLS ANSWERED?
On any given day, approximately 18 to 20 highly-trained KRS retirement counselors answer calls from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time in our call center. With over 372,000 active, inactive, and retired KRS members to serve, it doesn't take long for a backlog and lengthy wait time to develop.
WHAT CAN I DO TO REDUCE MY CALL WAIT TIME?
KRS experiences our heaviest call volume on Mondays. Placing your call on another day of the week, if possible, may result in your call being addressed more quickly. Also, KRS has implemented a "Call Back Assist" feature that allows you to leave your contact information on a recorded message, and a KRS counselor will call you back. Calls are returned in the order in which they are received, so you can continue with your day instead of waiting "on hold" to speak with a live counselor. We encourage members to select this option when offered. Members who have utilized this feature have told us they are very happy with the time-saving results.
Thank you for your continued patience as we work to serve our members as quickly and efficiently as possible.
KRS Members and Beneficiaries can now request a Personal Identification Number (PIN) via encrypted email.
WHAT IS A PIN AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?
KRS automatically generates a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for our members when they first have contributions posted to their accounts, and beneficiaries receive a PIN when they become a payee in the system.
Members need their PIN in order to discuss account information with us over the phone or to be able to access their account online. This added layer of security helps protect the confidentiality of your account.
HOW DO I OBTAIN A NEW PIN?
If members or beneficiaries need a new PIN, they had previously only been able to call our office toll free at 1-800-928-4646 to request a new one, which was then sent to them via the U.S. Mail. Unfortunately, receiving a PIN through the mail causes a delay for the member in accessing the needed information while they wait for the PIN to arrive.
Now, members and beneficiaries who have a valid email address on file with KRS can also request a new PIN to be sent to them via encrypted email, so they will receive the PIN the same day. A member or beneficiary may request a PIN via encrypted email in Step 2 of the registration process for the self-service portal, in the Contact Information module within the self-service portal, or by contacting KRS toll free at 1-800-928-4646. To request a new PIN through the self-service portal, click here to get started: https://kyret.ky.gov/Pages/Login.aspx
We understand that our members would like to come to Frankfort to meet with a retirement benefits counselor face to face. Unfortunately our appointment availability is extremely limited. Simply put, KRS does not have the staff to meet with every member requesting appointments at this time. Our benefits counselors not only meet with members, they also process monthly retirements, requests for benefit estimates and service purchase costs.
Don't forget, you can access your account information online. Members can obtain a benefit estimate and access their most recent Annual Statement using our Member Self-Service (MSS) website. Read more about how to register and use our self-service site. Please keep in mind that you will need to provide your KRS Personal Identification Number (PIN) when calling our office to discuss your account and to register for MSS. Your PIN can be found on an Annual Statement issued prior to 2012. If you can't find your PIN, please call our office to request a new one.
If you are retiring before the end of the year, we strongly urge you to submit your completed Form 6000, Notification of Retirement, and other required documents, by mail or fax as soon as possible. Read more about the documents you need to submit to file for retirement.
We are working hard to identify options for accommodating the volume of counseling requests and hope to offer some alternatives to one-on-one counseling in the near future. Please check our website for updates.
KRS administers the state, county and state police retirement systems strictly in accordance with applicable state and federal law and regulations, and is not able to take a position on the legal or practical implications of the "inviolable contract." However, we can direct you to the references in the Kentucky Revised Statutes to the "inviolable contract," which include: KRS 61.692 for KERS, 78.852 for CERS and 16.652 for SPRS. There is no other separate written contract defining the term.
To date, legislative changes to benefits have always been prospective and based on a member's participation date. The PFM Report presented to the Public Pension Oversight Board on August 28, 2017 does not address the "inviolable contract."
In 2007, the Governor's Blue-Ribbon Commission on Public Retirement Systems issued a report. Page 32 of the commission's report addressed the inviolable contract. With regard to medical benefits the report stated that "... Kentucky statutes provide that medical benefits are included as part of the "inviolable contract" of the Commonwealth with regard to KRS participants, with the exception that benefits "provided to a member whose participation begins on or after July 1, 2003, shall not be considered as benefits protected by the inviolable contract." See KRS 61.702(8)(e).
No. None of the KRS plan investments (KERS, CERS, and SPRS) are "commingled," or mixed together, to support the other systems or to pay benefits. This is prohibited by federal law. However, assets can be, and often are, aggregated for purposes of buying or selling holdings to achieve economies of scale, reduce transaction costs, and thereby save the Systems money.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Each fund (pension and insurance) consists of five plans (KERS Non-Hazardous, KERS Hazardous, CERS Non-Hazardous, CERS Hazardous, and SPRS), each having its own investment strategy based upon their individual liquidity needs. The different plan assets are maintained through separate financial accounts and are reported individually in audited financial statements (as noted in our Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports). Furthermore, the assets of each plan are always known (on a daily basis) due to the precise plan accounting and unitization process used by BNY Mellon, the Systems' custodian.
Like many of our pension peers, such as the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) and the Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS), KRS maintains "unitized funds." A unitized fund, similar to a mutual fund you might own for your personal investment portfolio, is a structure that allows the plans to benefit from economies of scale and gain diversification while retaining individual asset values for each plan.
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