VRIP Question and Answer (Q&A)

What are the current 2017 retiree health insurance monthly premium costs?

The 2017 current retiree health insurance monthly premium costs can be accessed at: http://www.semo.edu/pdf/HR-BenefitsAtRetirement.pdf

Does the financial incentive apply to the CPS/CAP or the MOS certification pay?

No. The VRIP financial incentive only applies to base salary in effect as of the application window period.

How will the financial incentive be disbursed?

VRIP participants will have the opportunity to choose between two payment disbursement options. One option will be a lump sum payment at retirement, with the other option being two installment payments with the first payment at retirement date and the other in January of the following year. All financial incentive payments will be subject to applicable tax withholdings.

Who is eligible to participate in the VRIP program?

To be eligible for the VRIP, faculty and staff must meet the eligibility requirements for both retiree health insurance coverage under the Business Policy and Procedures 03-21 Benefits, sub section Retirement Benefits, and normal retirement provisions under the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS) and the College and Universities Retirement Plan (CURP) as of October 1, 2017.

I am not sure if I am eligible to participate in the VRIP.  How can I verify?

VRIP eligibility requirements can be viewed here.  Eligible participants will receive an informational packet in their home mailing the first week of August.  Questions can also be directed to Alissa Vandeven, Director of Human Resources, at avandeven@semo.edu or (573) 651-2855.

What is the process for applying to draw from VRIP?

Eligible employees who want to participate in the VRIP will be required to deliver a completed Application to Participate, included in the packet mailed to their home address, to Human Resources.  To access the appropriate application to participate please visit the main VRIP website.

When is the deadline date for submitting my application to retire under the VRIP?

October 13, 2017 by 5:00 p.m. to the Office of Human Resources.

To whom do I submit my voluntary application to retire under the VRIP?

Eligible employees who want to participate in the VRIP will be required to deliver a signed Application to Participate form to the Office of Human Resources, Academic Hall Room 012 by 5:00 p.m. on or before October 13, 2017. 

If I complete and submit a VRIP application, can I later rescind my application?

An employee may revoke an application to the VRIP prior to the end of the application window period.  Requests to rescind an application must be made in writing and hand-delivered to the Office of Human Resources.

Does my supervisor need to approve my VRIP application form?

No.  However, employees are encouraged to inform their supervisor of their intent to apply for the VRIP.  

I have already notified my supervisor and Human Resources of my intent to retire in writing. Am I eligible to participate in the VRIP?

The VRIP is not available to faculty and staff who have previously retired under the MOSERS or CURP retirement systems or who have already committed in writing to Human Resources their intent to retire from the University prior to December 31, 2017, the first eligible retirement date under the VRIP. 

If I retire under the VRIP, am I eligible for rehire at Southeast Missouri State University?

An employee who is accepted to the VRIP will not be eligible for benefit eligible reemployment with the University.  An exception, including part-time or temporary employment, will be subject to the approval of the University President or designee.

Who determines whether I am accepted into the VRIP program?

The University president will serve as the VRIP plan administrator and will retain sole and absolute discretion to make all final decisions related to the implementation, administration and participation in the VRIP program.

How will I be notified of my acceptance into the VRIP?

Employees will be notified of acceptance/denial into the VRIP via email to the employee’s Southeast email account.  All applications will be evaluated after the end of the application window period.

If the University accepts my VRIP application and I sign the Separation Agreement and General Release, can I later rescind my release?

Employees will have a period of seven (7) calendar days after execution to revoke the Separation Agreement and General Release in writing to the Office of Human Resources.

Will I immediately be able to draw the VRIP incentive upon my retirement date?

VRIP participants will have the opportunity to choose between two payment disbursement options. One option will be a lump sum payment at retirement, with the other option being two installment payments with the first payment at retirement date and the other in January of the following year. All financial incentive payments will be subject to applicable tax withholdings.

I am a faculty member who defers my academic year salary over 12 months.  If I choose to retire under the VRIP in May 2018, how do I obtain my deferred pay amount?

Faculty who defer pay over 12 months and leave employment receive their deferred pay amount with their May payroll check. 

Will the VRIP incentive payment be direct deposited into my bank account?

Yes.  The VRIP incentive payment will be direct deposited into the retiree’s bank account on file with Southeast. VRIP participants will have the opportunity to choose between two payment disbursement options. One option will be a lump sum payment at retirement, with the other option being two installment payments with the first payment at retirement date and the other in January of the following year. All financial incentive payments will be subject to applicable tax withholdings.

Does my time worked as a temporary employee, student employee or graduate assistant at Southeast count toward my total years of service?

Credited service under MOSERS is generally defined as service in a benefit-eligible, regular position at a MOSERS participating entity.  However, temporary, part-time employment assignments worked simultaneous to a full-time, benefit-eligible assignment will be eligible for MOSERS service credit. The status of benefit-eligible is determined by the employer using criteria provided by MOSERS and statute.

Credited service under CURP is generally defined as service in a regular, benefit-eligible assignment in which participants are considered “educational employees,” such as teaching personnel, instructors, assistant professors, associate professors, professors, and academic administrators who hold academic rank.  CURP participating employees must have no other service credit under another plan administered by MOSERS. After 6 years of participation in CURP an employee may elect to transfer to MOSERS, however, their past service with CURP will not be creditable with MOSERS.    

I am vested in the MOSERS plan but not yet eligible to draw retirement.  Can I participate?

In order for employees to be eligible for the VRIP, employees must be fully vested and eligible to draw their MOSERS retirement under normal retirement provisions of the MOSERS plan by October 1, 2017.

I am vested in the MOSERS plan and only eligible to draw retirement under the MOSERS early retirement provisions.  Can I participate?

In order for employees to be eligible for the VRIP, employees must be fully vested and eligible to draw their MOSERS retirement under normal retirement provisions of the MOSERS plan by October 1, 2017.

How much money will I receive from my MOSERS retirement benefits?

To obtain a MOSERS benefit estimate, employees can contact MOSERS at 1-800-827-1063 and speak with a MOSERS benefits specialist.  Employees may also access their benefit estimates online via their member sign in access to the MOSERS website at http://www.mosers.org.  Employees may also contact Holly Bauwens, Assistant Director of Human Resources, at hbauwens@semo.edu or (573) 651-5098 for additional assistance.

What is the process for applying to draw from my CURP retirement benefits?

To complete an application to draw from CURP retirement benefits, employees can contact TIAA-CREF by calling 1-800-842-2252 or online at https://www.tiaa.org/public/tcm/curp.  Employees may also contact Holly Bauwens, Assistant Director of Human Resources, at hbauwens@semo.edu or (573) 651-5098 for additional assistance. 

Can I continue my health insurance as a retiree if I take the VRIP?

Yes.  Pre-65 retirees will have the option to purchase both the University’s Base Plan and Accelerated Plan coverages.  Post-65 retirees will have the option to purchase a UnitedHealthcare AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan for both medical and prescription drug coverage. 

Can I continue my dental and vision insurance as a retiree if I take the VRIP?

Retirees may continue their dental and vision insurance coverage at retirement under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).  Coverage may be continued for up to 18 months immediately following the retirement date.

What happens to my health savings account money if I retire?

Retirees retain their health savings account and can use account dollars for future qualified medical expenses.  Retirees should keep in mind that the Optum Bank account status will change from a group-sponsored account to an individual account holder status and consequently the account will begin to incur monthly service charges when retired.  Retirees are encouraged to either roll the funds into a separate account with a different banking institution to avoid these fees or simply close the Optum account prior to retirement.  Questions concerning the account can be directed to UnitedHealthcare at 1-800-791-9361 or by visiting http://www.myuhc.com

What happens to my medical reimbursement and dependent care assistance spending accounts if I retire?

Account dollars elected for the given benefit calendar year may still be reimbursed to the retiree.  However, qualified medical expenses must be incurred while still actively employed.  Medical reimbursement account participants will also have the ability to continue coverage for the remainder of the benefit calendar year under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which would allow qualified expenses to be incurred during the COBRA coverage period. 

What happens to my unused sick leave when I retire?

Under MOSERS, if you are vested when you leave state employment, you will receive one month

of credited service for every 168 hours (21 days) of unused sick leave reported to MOSERS by the University. Unused sick leave cannot be used to determine your eligibility for a retirement benefit, but can be used in calculating the amount of your retirement benefit.  There is not credited service benefit for CURP participants or payout of unused sick leave for either MOSERS or CURP participants. 

What happens to my paid time off (PTO) accrued time when I retire?

A maximum of 240 hours of accrued and unused paid time-off (PTO) will be paid out when the employee leaves employment. 

What happens to my dependents’ coverages for health, dental and visions insurances when I retire?

Dependents (qualified spouse and children) may continue coverage under the retiree health insurance plans if they were insured by Southeast’s health insurance plans immediately prior to the VRIP retirement date.  Specific to post-65 Medicare-eligible retirees, both the covered spouse and children must be Medicare-eligible in order to continue coverage under the post-65 retiree’s health insurance plan through Southeast.  Covered dependents on dental and vision insurances will have coverage rights under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) for up to eighteen months following the employee’s VRIP retirement date.  

Am I eligible for unemployment insurance?

Although Southeast does not make determinations on unemployment benefit claims, employees who voluntarily separate from employment, both resignations and retirements, are generally not eligible to draw unemployment benefits.

I have previously invested money in a Southeast-provided 403(b) tax sheltered annuity account.  Can I also draw money from this account if retiring under the VRIP?

403(b) account dollars may be drawn if the retiree meets the age distribution requirements under IRS provisions. 

How can I minimize the tax implication on the VRIP incentive payment?

Employees are encouraged to consult with a tax advisor to obtain guidance.

How can I find out about my social security retirement benefits?

Contact the local Social Security Administration office by calling 1-866-931-7077 or in person at 2445 Cape Centre Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO  63703

What other retiree benefits are available from Southeast?

Other retiree benefits, such as University bookstore and recreation center discounts, can be viewed here

How are social security retirement earnings affected by my MOSERS pension?

MOSERS pension is not considered earned income when it comes to determining the amount a person can receive from their social security retirement benefit.  The amount a MOSERS retiree receives from their MOSERS pension has no effect on the social security retirement amount.

Does the Windfall Elimination Protection provision impact my MOSERS pension?

This provision applies to state of Missouri teachers who are eligible for the Missouri teachers pension plan and did not have social security taxes withheld by their employer.  The MOSERS retirement system is different from the Missouri teachers pension plan, and the University is required to withhold social security taxes from employee payroll.  Therefore, this provision does not apply MOSERS plan participants.

Contact

573.651.2206
Fax: 573.651.2108
humanresources@semo.edu
Academic Hall Room 012
Office of Human Resources
One University Plaza, MS 3150
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701