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KRS-FYI

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.

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​Updated 9/19/17

We've heard them periodically over the years… it's not unusual for rumors about possible retirement benefit changes to spread as we approach the beginning of any legislative session.

But this year, with the presentation of The PFM Group's third report on August 28, a Special Called Session of the Kentucky General Assembly on the near horizon, and the 60-day Regular Session beginning in January 2018, the rumors are becoming even more prominent.

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.  According to the latest available figures, we received a total of 30,834 calls in July 2017 alone, compared to 23,485 total calls received in July 2016.

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.  However, a number of recent developments, such as questions surrounding The PFM Group's ongoing study of all state-administered retirement systems and the anticipated Kentucky General Assembly Special Session to be held sometime this fall, have caused a spike in calls to KRS, resulting in lengthy wait times.  With Insurance Open Enrollment just around the corner in October 2017, we expect this trend to continue for the next several 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

​KRS has received a number of inquiries concerning retirement trends. Attached is our most recent information. KRS Retirement Trends

On Monday, August 28th, the PFM Group released a report with pension reform recommendations to the Public Pension Oversight Board. By Tuesday, our benefits team was inundated with requests for appointments. We understand that our members would like to come to Frankfort to meet with a retirement benefits counselor face to face. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing discussion about potential pension changes, 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.  


“Will any of the proposed changes to the KRS impact the benefits including current pension amount and health insurance benefits for people who are retired from the state and currently receive a monthly pension and have health insurance paid as part of their retirement benefits?”

The answer is yes, if the PFM recommendations as presented to the Public Pension Oversight Board are enacted, it would have an impact on our active members, retirees, and future membership.  Because we do not yet know which of the Recommendations may be written into legislation we are unable to determine the specific impact the changes may have on our members.

KRS will use our website and social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to keep our members informed about the status of any potential legislative changes.  In the meantime, you might want to read more about the PFM Group's Recommendations here:  https://kyret.ky.gov/About/Board-of-Trustees/Pages/Public-Pension-Oversight-Board-Materials.aspx


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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