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Member News Archives | February 2014 A Publication for VRS Members

The Hybrid Plan Opt-In Period – What You Need to Know

Hybrid Retirement Plan Opt-In Period Continues
Through April 30

Are you a Plan 1 or Plan 2 member? If so, you have the opportunity to elect the Hybrid Retirement Plan during an opt-in window that began January 1 and runs through April 30, 2014.

What is it?

hybrid plan

The VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan combines the features of a defined benefit plan, which pays a monthly retirement benefit based on age, total service credit and average final compensation, and a defined contribution plan, which provides a retirement benefit based on contributions and the investment performance of those contributions. This means that you contribute to both plans while working and receive a benefit from both when you retire. In the defined contribution component, you select investments that best fit your needs from a variety of options, increasing or decreasing your voluntary contributions quarterly as desired.

Am I Eligible to Opt Into the Hybrid Retirement Plan?

Eligible Members

  • State employees
  • School division employees
  • Political subdivision employees

Ineligible Members

  • State Police Officers’ Retirement System (SPORS) members
  • Virginia Law Officers’ Retirement System (VaLORS) members
  • Political subdivision members who are covered by enhanced benefits for hazardous duty employees
  • Judicial Retirement System (JRS) members
  • Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) participants

If you decide to opt in, the decision is irrevocable, which means you cannot change your decision after April 30, when the opt-in period ends.

How Do I Decide if I Want to Opt In?

Newsletters, presentations, webinars, a handbook, a comparison guide and a calculator are available to help you make your decision:

  • Special Edition of Member News

    The special issue of Member News provides details of the hybrid plan and the opt-in process.

  • Plan Comparison Guide

    Many of the benefits under the Hybrid Retirement Plan are the same as under Plan 1 and Plan 2, but some are different. The Plan Comparison Guide lists the features of the three plans, side-by-side so you can compare the differences.

  • Hybrid Retirement Plan Handbook for Members

    This handbook gives you the details of the hybrid plan and its features during employment and after retirement.

  • Hybrid Plan Presentation for Members

    These presentations, given throughout the state, explain the opt-in process and provide an overview of investment options available for the defined contribution component of the hybrid plan. Find a location near you and register for a session.

  • Webinars

    The VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan Opt-in Process webinar provides information about the opt-in process and reviews hybrid plan features.
    The Hybrid Retirement Plan Overview, a recorded webinar available throughout the opt-in period, explores plan features and provides information to consider as you decide whether to opt into the plan.

  • Website

    The Hybrid Retirement Plan website is the go-to site for plan details, publications and other resources about the new plan.

  • Calculator

    The Hybrid Plan Calculator in myVRS allows you to compare a future benefit in your current plan with a future benefit in the Hybrid Retirement Plan.

  • Questions

    Contact the Hybrid Retirement Plan Support Team at 1-855-291-2285, or email vrshybridsupport@varetire.org.

How Do I Opt Into the Hybrid Plan?

Go to the Hybrid Plan Calculator in myVRS to compare estimated retirement benefit amounts. You need to have created a myVRS account to use the calculator. The calculator uses your member record to compare estimated retirement benefit amounts under the Hybrid Retirement Plan to estimated benefits under your current plan. If, after comparing the two estimates, you decide to opt into the hybrid plan, select Yes, Get the Form, on the Decision page in the calculator and complete the Election of VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan (VRS-120). The VRS-120 is available only through the Hybrid Plan Calculator and is pre-filled with your estimate information from the calculator. Submit the VRS-120 to VRS, postmarked no later than April 30. If you do not have Internet access, contact your employer or VRS.

Your membership in the hybrid plan becomes effective and your contributions into the plan begin July 1, 2014.

What if I Review All This Information and Decide I Don’t Want to Be a Hybrid Plan Member?

If you are a current Plan 1 or Plan 2 member, you remain in your current plan unless you opt into the hybrid plan by submitting the Election of VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan (VRS-120) to VRS. No action is required to remain in your current plan.

Hybrid Retirement Plan Now Effective For Most New VRS Members

The Hybrid Retirement Plan is now effective for most new members with a membership date on or after January 1.
Eligible new members:

  • State employees
  • School division employees
  • Political subdivision employees
  • Judges appointed or elected to an original term on or after January 1, 2014
  • New members who are eligible for an optional retirement plan (ORP) must elect an ORP or the Hybrid Retirement Plan.

Some new members are not eligible for the Hybrid Retirement Plan:

  • State Police Officers’ Retirement System (SPORS) members
  • Virginia Law Officers’ Retirement System (VaLORS) members
  • Political subdivision members who are covered by enhanced benefits for hazardous duty employees

See the Hybrid Retirement Plan Handbook and the Hybrid website for the details of the Hybrid Retirement Plan.

Expecting to Add to Your Family? Think About Optional Life Insurance Protection

couple

Having a baby? Congratulations! Getting married? Best wishes! Now you may need additional life insurance protection.

If you participate in the VRS Group Life Insurance Program, you can purchase additional coverage for yourself, your spouse and dependent children through the Optional Group Life Insurance Program. Optional group life insurance provides benefits for natural and accidental death or dismemberment.

Select coverage options for yourself (up to a maximum of $700,000); for your spouse (up to half the maximum amount of the coverage for yourself, not to exceed $350,000); and coverage for each dependent child (for $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000). You pay the premiums through payroll deduction. Find out more.

How to Update Your Beneficiary Designation

You can designate or change your beneficiary at any time and name any living person or entity, such as an eligible trust or charity, as your beneficiary. To update the beneficiary for your member account contributions and VRS Basic and Optional Group Life Insurance coverage, submit a Designation of Beneficiary (VRS-2) to VRS at P.O. Box 2500, Richmond, Virginia, 23218-2500. Keep a copy of the form for your records.

The Designation of Beneficiary (VRS-2) applies only to your life insurance and your defined benefit plan member contribution account, not to any defined contribution accounts.

If you are a member of the Hybrid Retirement Plan or participate in the Commonwealth of Virginia 457 Deferred Compensation Plan and Virginia Cash Match Plan, you may use the Beneficiary Designation Form, or contact the plan provider toll free at 1-VRS-DC-PLAN1 (1-877-327-5261) to designate or change your beneficiary for your defined contribution plan accounts.

Resetting Your myVRS Password Online

Too many passwords? It’s frustrating to be locked out of your myVRS account when you forget your password. The fastest way to get back into your account if you can’t recall your password is through the Forgot User Name/Password feature on the myVRS access page. In most cases, by following the three-step process of this feature, you quickly regain access to your account while keeping your account information secure.

2013 Annual Financial Report Available Online

The VRS 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is now available. The annual report summarizes VRS investment performance during the most recent fiscal year and includes information on investment returns, benefits and distributions. It also features statistics on employers, members and retirees.

Virginia General Assembly 2014 Session Underway

The 2014 General Assembly convened January 8 and is considering legislation that could affect VRS. Follow the progress of bills and look for a summary of VRS-related legislation in the April issue of Member News.

Focus on Finances During America Saves Week

america saves week

Now that the spending season is over, let’s turn our attention to saving. America Saves Week, February 24 – March 1, is a reminder to focus on saving, reducing debt and increasing resources for a secure retirement. Check out these tools VRS has available to help you reach your goals:

myVRS

Estimate retirement income and expenses through the Retirement Planner.

Money Matters for Virginians

Need to review the basics of finances and saving? Take one of the Money Matters for Virginians courses.

Retirement Education Seminars and Webinars

There are a number of courses and webinars offered for planning at different career stages, see Member Education and Counseling for details and registration information.

One-on-One Counseling

Have a specific concern? One-on-one counseling sessions are available to VRS members at 1111 East Main Street in downtown Richmond, from 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Sessions are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Limited scheduled appointments also are available; call VRS toll free at 1-888-VARETIR (1-888-827-3847).

457 Deferred Compensation Plan Regional Education Meetings

If your employer participates in the plan, sign up for a Commonwealth of Virginia 457 Deferred Compensation Plan individual appointment or seminar. Topics include long-term planning for financial security, managing plan accounts and distribution strategies.

Handbooks, Guides and the Website

VRS handbooks, guides and other resources are a reference for specific topics or questions.

Featured FAQ

Q: I am a Plan 1 or Plan 2 member. I may want to opt into the Hybrid Retirement Plan. What steps should I take to decide?

A: First, become familiar with the hybrid plan:

Then, review your current benefits and compare to what your benefits would be under the Hybrid Retirement Plan:

Finally, see the actual numbers based on your member account: