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KRS- F.Y.I.

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, helpful topics, and other timely information. Stay informed about COVID-19 impacts to KRS services, organizational announcements and upcoming events that are important to you.

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KRS recently sent a GovDelivery email to members who have not recently verified the email address associated with their retirement account. ​As we continue to offer more online services, we are asking our Members to provide KRS with an email address. Please verify or update your email using our Self Service website at MYRETIREMENT.KY.GOV.

Why Your Email is Important

There are several advantages to having an email address for your retirement account. We've highlighted a few below. In addition to providing information to you quickly, you can also help us spend less on printing and postage.

  • Personal Identification Number (PIN): All members receive a KRS-issued PIN when they begin participating. With a valid email address, we can immediately send yo ua new PIN when you need it. Your PIN is required to discuss account information by phone and to take advantage of some Self Service features, such as applying for retirement and submitting your insurance application online during Open Enrollment.
  • Account Correspondence: Rathre than waiting for mail delivery, we can send account information to you by email.
  • Vote Online: Cast your vote online during upcoming elections for your representative on the KRS Board of Trustees.
  • KRS Updates: Receive KRS newsletters, important announcements, and retiree insurance reminders.

GovDelivery is a Granicus email service used by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and other government entities. KRS uses GovDelivery to email member newsletters and announcements.

Following Governor Beshear’s Healthy at Work guidelines, the majority of our staff will continue to telework for now, as KRS is able to serve our members without interruption in essential services. As a result, KRS will not resume in-person services when government offices reopen on May 18th. In place of in-person office appointments, KRS is offering appointments for retirement counseling by telephone. Members are strongly encouraged to register for Member Self Service prior to scheduling an appointment. Members can also apply for retirement online using Member Self Service. Read more about Member Self Service

Telephone appointments are being offered to:
  • Members within two years of retirement eligibility, and
  • Members who are eligible to purchase service credit. 
Members can access their retirement accounts online at myretirement.ky.gov or call 1-800-928-4646. Documents can be submitted to our office by using the upload feature in self service, by mail or by fax at 502-696-8822.

Our office will continue to operate in accordance with our internal Continuity of Operations Plan and any directives from Governor Beshear. Thank you for your understanding as we work to protect the safety of our members and employees.

​KRS offers Medicare and non-Medicare plans. Non-Medicare plans are available through the Kentucky Employees' Health Plan (KEHP) until retirees become eligible for Medicare. Learn more about transitioning to Medicare in this video. More information about current Medicare and non-Medicare insurance plans can be found on KRS' Insurance Overview page.

Due to public health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, all KRS Chapter 13B administrative hearings are being held on a virtual videoconferencing platform.

​Thinking about taking another job with a participating agency after you retire?  Make sure you know the laws and paperwork needed for a successful and legal transition to a new job. 

On March 31, 2020, Governor Beshear issued Executive Order 2020-265 suspending statutes and regulations restricting participating employers from reemploying retired members in the specific positions identified in the order. On April 2, 2020, Governor Beshear issued Executive Order 2020-266, expanding the scope of positions covered to include all positions under city, county, and state government that are necessary to address the State of Emergency. 

If you are reemploying in a position that is not in response to the Covid-19 State of Emergency, you and your potential employer must continue to adhere to current laws and regulations.  Learn more about the process by visiting our Reemployment After Retirement page.

Things to know:

  • Prior to Retirement the member must certify on the Form 6000, Notification of Retirement that no prearranged agreement exists prior to retirement.
  • If a retired member seeks employment with a participating employer within 12 months of their effective retirement date, both the member and participating employer must notify KRS by submitting the necessary forms.

Note: After 12 months of retirement neither a member nor a participating employer are required to notify, seek a final determination, or submit forms to KRS related to any employment, or work as an independent contractor, leased employee, or volunteer, accepted 12 months after the member's effective retirement date.

Separation from Service:

There must be a Bona Fide Separation from Service (no prearranged agreement, written or verbal, to return to work to their participating employer)

  • Non-Hazardous must observe a 3 calendar month break in service from their effective retirement date, before returning to work with a participating employer
  • Hazardous must observe a 1 calendar month break in service from their effective retirement date, before returning to work in a regular, full-time hazardous position with a participating employer.

Submit your paperwork to our KRS Legal Department:

Failure to comply with Kentucky Revised Statute 61.637 upon reemployment with a participating agency will void the member's retirement and will require repayment of all benefits. 

​KRS is excited to announce that our members may now apply for retirement online! Our self service website is easy to use from your computer, smartphone or tablet.

  1. Go to myretirement.ky.gov and log in to your Member Self Service account. 
  2. Click “Apply for Retirement” under Services.
  3. Complete each step of the retirement module.

Note: A four digit, Personal Identification Number (PIN) is required to submit the retirement application online.

​Upload your required documents online by signing in to Member Self Service. Follow these steps to submit birth certificates, driver’s licenses, marriage certificates, and other retirement documents: 

  1. Go to myretirement.ky.gov and log in to your Member Self Service account. 
  2. Click Upload Documents under Services.
  3. Click Upload Document.

​Question: If I meet the qualifications under the CARES Act, may I take an early distribution or a loan from my retirement account with KRS if the distribution or loan is for a coronavirus-related situation? 

Answer: No. The statutory provisions of KRS, which have been approved by the IRS, do not authorize any distributions to members prior to the member’s termination of employment. Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 61.575(1) states, “Prior to the member's retirement, death, or refund in accordance with KRS 61.625, no funds shall be made available from the member account.” The CARES Act only authorized such distributions (without early distribution penalties) or loans (at a larger amount than previously authorized by the IRS) for retirement plans that already had provisions for distributions or loans.

​Question: May employee or employer contributions to KRS be modified (reduced) or suspended under the CARES Act? 
Answer: No. Only plan sponsors of 401(k) plans and 403(b) plans may permit active participants to modify or terminate an election to make elective deferrals to the plan at any time. This applies to voluntary elective deferrals only, not to mandatory employee contributions which are required as a condition of employment or pursuant to law. KRS is a qualified 401(a) governmental plan (not a 401(k) or 403(b) plan), and employer and employee contributions are required by law, thus, cannot be modified (reduced) or suspended during this state of emergency.

​On April 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor and IRS announced a temporary extension of certain deadlines for sending notifications, electing, and paying for COBRA continuation coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak. Under this temporary extension, you have extra time to send certain notifications about COBRA coverage, to elect COBRA coverage, and to make premium payments. These changes are retroactive to any deadline occurring from March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the COVID-19 National Emergency is declared over. 


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?

There are two ways to obtain a new PIN. 

Snail Mail:

If members or beneficiaries need a new PIN, they can call our office toll free at 1-800-928-4646 to request a new one, which will be sent to them via the U.S. Mail. Receiving a PIN through the mail may cause a delay for the member in accessing the needed information while they wait for the PIN to arrive but this option is great for those not in a hurry.   

Same Day via Email:

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

Many members want to speak directly to benefits counselors concerning their retirement options. Call Back Assist can help make your life easier by simply reducing your wait time on hold.  A counselor will call you back and you won't lose your spot in line. 

HOW ARE CALLS ANSWERED?

On any given day, approximately 23 highly-trained KRS retirement counselors answer calls from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time in our call center.  With over 386,000 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.   

A General Information Guide designed to answer Employer, and Employee, questions about KERS Nonhazardous Quasi Agency cessation is now available.  House Bill 1 (2019 Special Session) Frequently Asked Questions

View our House Bill 1 Presentation.

The Public Pension Oversight Board (PPOB) was established by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2013 to assist with their “…review, analysis, and oversight of the administration, benefits, investments, funding, laws and administrative regulations, and legislation pertaining to the Kentucky Retirement Systems.”  Per KRS 7A.220, Board membership consists of elected officials from both the House and Senate; the State Budget Director, Auditor of Public Accounts, and Attorney General or their designees; and citizens with financial expertise appointed by the Governor.

KRS staff routinely attend the monthly PPOB meetings to provide information about the Systems.  We are actively engaged with the Oversight Board and continue to work cooperatively with policymakers to find solutions to pressing issues. 

Below is a brief list of what KRS has presented at prior PPOB meetings:

  • Updated the PPOB on our cash flows and the importance of developing and maintaining positive cash flows

  • Understanding KRS Governance

  • Operating under SB 2

  • Recommendations for legislation in the 2019 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly

  • KRS Board Trustee election process and recommended changes

  • Investment performance and compliance updates

  • Trends in investment return assumptions for public plans

  • Importance of funding and investment compounding

  • Investment consultant Request for Proposal (RFP) process

  • Actuarial valuations

For more information, we encourage you to view our KRS Public Pension Oversight Board Materials page located on our website.

​We have recently received several questions about actuarial assumptions and the Quasi-Governmental Employers issue. A brief summary of the matter, as well as the process the Board of Trustees follows in making changes to the assumptions, should be helpful background information for our members to know.     

In 2017 the Board of Trustees retained Milliman, a nationally known actuarial consulting firm, to conduct an economic assumptions audit of KRS' five pension and five insurance plans.  Their main task was to determine if the economic assumptions in place at the time (e.g. inflation, investment return, and payroll growth) were accurately reflecting the actual experience and future expectations of the plans. Accuracy is important because these assumptions are used to determine the annual employer contribution rates used to fund current and future retiree benefits.

This analysis led the Board to conclude that the economic assumptions used for many years had been too optimistic, which in turn resulted in understating the plan's unfunded liabilities and required employer contributions. Further, adding to the problem was the General Assembly's failure to pay even these "optimistic" actuarially determined contributions for 15 years over a 22-year period to the KERS and SPRS plans.

During its May and July 2017 meetings the Board carefully considered the Systems' prior assumptions which contributed to the inadequate funded status of the plans. As a result, the Board voted to adopt more conservative assumptions largely in line with Milliman's recommendations. The Board believes these assumptions are vital to restoring the Systems to sound financial condition.         

Please know that the Trustees did not make this decision in haste or without thorough discussion and debate. The Board has a fiduciary duty, per state law, to act solely in the interest of the members and beneficiaries of the Systems. Their actions, while fiscally painful, were absolutely critical in order to protect the current and future retirement benefits legally promised to more than 386,000 Kentuckians.

For additional information on this subject, you may want to read the Summer 2017 Pensions Insight newsletter article written by then-Board Chair John Farris titled, "KRS Board Takes Action on Economic Assumptions" found on the KRS website: https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/KYRS/2019/05/03/file_attachments/1204797/8-23-17%20Pension%20Insights%20Summer%202017.pdf

​The last retirement benefit raise, or Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), provided to KRS retirees took effect in July 2011 and continued through the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year. Although the COLA paid to retirees of Kentucky Retirement Systems comes from trust fund dollars and not the General Fund, the Kentucky General Assembly (and not the KRS Board of Trustees or the Governor) actually holds the authority to grant COLAs under Kentucky Revised Statute 61.691

In 2013 the General Assembly created a new law to govern how COLAs will be granted. Language included in Senate Bill 2 during the 2013 Regular Session says COLAs will only be granted in the future if the KRS Board determines that assets of the system are greater than 100% of the actuarial liabilities and legislation authorizes the use of surplus funds for the COLA; or the General Assembly fully prefunds the COLA or directs the payment of funds in the year the COLA is provided.  

This change is consistent with a resolution adopted by the KRS Board of Trustees on November 18, 2010, which "…urged the Governor and the General Assembly to make certain that any amount of cost of living adjustment given pursuant to KRS 61.691 is fully funded, in addition to the amounts provided pursuant to KRS 61.565 (actuarially recommended employer contributions)." House Bill 352, the State Executive Branch budget bill that was passed during the 2020 Regular Session of the General Assembly and takes effect in July 2020, did not include a COLA for retirees.   

After careful consideration of the funding status of the Systems, the Board adopted this resolution in 2010 because COLAs for KRS retirees are paid from trust funds on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning that the expense is recognized as it occurs and is not pre-funded. The costs for each annual COLA are recognized in the employer contribution rate after the COLA is granted. From 2008 through 2012, unfunded COLAs added $1.45 billion in unfunded liability to the Systems. 

Click here for a History of Benefit Increases to Retirees from July 1, 1960 to Present.  

Experience studies are performed by the Systems' independent actuary at least every five years to compare each plan's actual experience to what had been expected (the assumptions). The most recent study was  completed in April 2019. Based on that study, actuarial factors were adjusted effective January 1, 2020.

To calculate your benefits using the current actuarial factors, log in to Member Self Service at MYRETIREMENT.KY.GOV or click the LOGIN button above.

​These are challenging times for a variety of reasons, and KRS members and retirees may be working remotely or performing tasks online that they previously would have done in person. Unfortunately, scammers will attempt to profit from a difficult situation, even using Coronavirus scams to trick victims into purchasing fake cures, donating to fake causes, etc.

Protect yourself by being aware of their tactics. Scammers pretend to be someone you trust. Be aware that scammers will use a variety of social engineering techniques to misrepresent themselves or to trick you into divulging sensitive data such as bank account, credit card, other financial information, employment or retirement information, or protected health care information. The Kentucky Attorney General's website gives tips to avoid scams and also lists scams which are currently targeting Kentuckians.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, even government agencies have been targets of imposter scams where the scammer impersonates government agents to trick victims into paying for free services, insinuating that the victim owes back taxes or license fees, etc., and tricking them into making payments at fake websites. The FTC website has some good resources on how to identify scam activity.

Protect your KRS account information.

  • Never give out your account credentials or PIN number to others.
  • Don't access your online account from public computers such as in libraries or hotels.

Please note that KRS does not contract with or approve any third parties to provide pension benefit guidance or advice about your KRS retirement. KRS communications will not come from free email accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail. If you have any concerns about contacts regarding your KRS account, please contact KRS directly to confirm they are who they present themselves to be.

Facebook Live Mini.jpgDID YOU KNOW?  

KRS livestreams Board and Committee Meetings on our Facebook page. We invite you to join us for future meetings by going to the KRS Facebook page on the date and time of the meeting. You can also watch videos of prior meetings. Click here to view the meeting schedule.

Retirements Year to Date.jpg

 

​Submit Your Questions:

To submit a question to us, please complete the contact information below.  If we post your question to KRS -  F.Y.I. we will not use your name, email address or other personally-identifiable information.  

Example: 555-555-5555

Example: example@kentucky.gov


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