State Of Ct Comptroller Retirement Division

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Pensions Retirement Plans And Divorces Oh My

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Whether belonging to a member of the growing group of baby boomers filing for divorce or to someone who is part of a younger generation, retirement accounts and pensions are often a major consideration when determining how to split marital property.

Retirement accounts are often a major portion of the total assets accumulated throughout a marriage. Common retirement vehicles include pensions and 401 plans. A 401 plan is a tax-friendly account built through employee contributions made from each paycheck and sometimes matched in part by the employer, while a pension is employer funded and pays monthly benefits to a retiree in an amount based on the years he or she worked with a company and the salary earned.

Most people rely on their retirement assets to provide financial security during their golden years. Because of the importance they can play in funding basic needs in retirement, retirement assets can be major points of contention in a divorce negotiation when the parties decide how these assets will be split in the divorce.

If the parties cannot come to a negotiated agreement about how these assets will be split, that decision will be left to the judge.

State Employee Retirement Q& a

online

The Retirement Services Division with the Office of the State Comptroller will host a live online Q& A for you to ask your retirement questions.

**This is available for all state employees pending retirement prior to July 1, 2022.

Even if you made your retirement elections you are eligible to change them up until you retire. This Q& A session will help those who have yet to make their retirement elections or those who have done so already and are seeking additional guidance.

Brown’s Statements To The Auditors

On July 16, 2013, the Auditors reached out to Brown to interview Brown as part of a routine audit of the Division. See 561 Stmnt., Doc. No. 189-2, at ¶ 19 Whistleblower Compl., Ex. 6 to Defs. Mem. in Supp. Mot. for Summ. J. , Doc. No. 189-9, at ¶ 8 Brown Depo. Tr., Ex. 3 to Defs. Mem. in Supp. Mot. for Summ. J., Doc. No. 189-6, at 189:815. Before July 16, 2013, Brown had never spoken to the Auditors. See Brown Decl., Doc. No. 195-5, at ¶ 70. Assisting the Auditors was not included in Brown’s formal job description. See, e.g. , Defs. Reply, Doc. No. 198, at 4 . Indeed, Halpin was surprised that the Auditors would want to speak with Browneven during the Division’s routine auditbecause by July 2013, Brown had been working at the Division for only about ten months. See Halpin Depo. Tr., Ex. B to Pl.s Opp’n to Mot. for Summ. J., Doc. No. 195-3, at 87:2288:5.

Parent also met with other OSC employees that day. See 561 Stmnt., Doc. No. 189-2, at ¶ 23.

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Supervisory Reaction To Brown’s Complaints

The Defendants explain that MEB hearings were put on hold after October 11 not for improper political reasons, but rather because Connecticut’s Office of Labor Relations and the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition the parties to the relevant collective bargaining agreementinformed the OSC that “the interpretation of a disability statute was a matter for collective bargaining.” See Lembo Letter, Doc. No. 195-10, at 3 Lembo Depo. Tr., Ex. C. to Pl.s Opp’n to Mot. for Summ. J., Doc. No. 195-4, at 115:1619 Yelmini Aff., Doc. No. 189-7, at ¶ 18. Indeed, in August 2015, the State of Connecticut and SEBAC entered into a memorandum of understanding that articulates the correct standard for “suitable and comparable” as “a job paying a rate that is substantially equivalent to the salary range of the position the individual held at the time the individual’s disability occurred and which is of a similar type to the job performed or work for which s/he is qualified in keeping with the individual’s prior work experience, education or training received by the retiree while in state employment.” Mem. of Understanding, Ex. 8 to Defs. Mem. in Supp. Mot. for Summ. J., Doc. No. 189-11, at 2. Thus, the Defendants argue that their hesitations were legitimate.

Although there is an unfortunate lack of precision regarding this date, logically it must have been after Brown presented her “unpopular” views to the Commission.

State Retirees To See Pension Bump As Inflation Jumps 6 Percent

Connecticut Office of the State Comptroller

Retired Connecticut state employees will see a substantial bump to their pension payments as a result of increasing economic inflation.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Workers and Clerical Workers known as the CPI-W increased 6 percent between July of 2020 and July of 2021, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the price of nearly everything increasing substantially in recent months. Note: the above image is a chart for the CPI-U, not the CPI-W.

Retired state employees receive a cost-of-living adjustment every year in either January or July depending on the employees retirement date based on the CPI-W for the previous 12 months.

Because of the high rate of inflation, the July COLAs are calculated based on 60 percent of CPI-W, which translates to a bump of 3.6 percent as of July 2021.

State retirees receive minimum 2 percent COLAs per year regardless of the inflation rate and a maximum of 6 percent or 7.5 percent, depending on their retirement tier. The minimum 2 percent COLA also means that during years in which inflation was low, they still got a boost over the inflation rate.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2015 and 2020 there was only one year 2018 during which the CPI-W for July was above 2 percent. For retirees who receive their COLAs in January, the trend was more in their favor with three years of inflation increases topping 2 percent.

**Ken Girardin contributed to this article**

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Basics Of Splitting Retirement Assets

Entering these conversations with the following in mind can help streamline the process:

  • Usually retirement accounts accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property to be split in divorce even if only one of the spouses earned them.
  • A qualified domestic relations order may be needed to split some retirement plans, usually pensions.

A QDRO is a court order that provides instructions to the retirement-account administrator on how to pay benefits to the nonemployee spouse after a divorce. The order is important because it allows the separation and withdrawal of retirement funds without steep tax penalties.

Comptroller’s Retirement Services Division Forms

For the PDF files included in this index:

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Most of these forms have been designed to allow you to complete the form online and then print the form for any necessary signatures. You may also print a blank copy of any of these forms to be completed manually.

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Exercising Rights Protected By First Amendment Or Connecticut Constitution

The Connecticut Constitution protects more speech than does the First Amendment. SeeTrusz v. UBS Realty Investors, LLC , 319 Conn. 175, 19293, 123 A.3d 1212 Ozols , 2012 WL 3595130, at *4. Under the Connecticut Constitution, a public employee’s speech is protected if the employee “speaks on a matter of unusual importance and satisfies high standards of responsibility in the way he does it.” Trusz , 319 Conn. at 204, 123 A.3d 1212. Thus, even when an employee speaks pursuant to her official duties, the employee’s speech will be protected so long as it is a “comment on official dishonesty, deliberately unconstitutional action, other serious wrongdoing, or threats to health and safety ….” Id. at 211, 123 A.3d 1212 ). “hether speech concerns official dishonesty or serious wrongdoing is a question of law,” but it depends on “a fact-intensive inquiry.” Trusz v. UBS Realty , 2016 WL 1559563, at *9 ). “Where there are substantial disputed facts that are essential to a legal conclusion, summary judgment would be improper.” Id.

Final Report On Connecticut State Retirement Systems: Sers And Trs

New York State Comptroller DiNapoli on Reform vs. Divestment

The reports key findings are:

  • Connecticuts pension systems for state employees and teachers face large unfunded liabilities, despite recent efforts by the State to fund.
  • A significant source of the problem is the legacy debt built up before the State began pre-funding its pensions in the 1970s.
  • Since pre-funding began, inadequate contributions from the State and low investment returns have added to the problem.
  • One way to address the problem is through a two-step approach:
  • fund ongoing benefits using a level-dollar amortization method over a reasonable rolling period and reduce the long-term assumed return.

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Office Of The State Comptroller

Office of the State Comptroller

The Office of the State Comptroller serves as the states chief fiscal guardian, and is one of six statewide elected positions. The state comptroller has a broad array of responsibilities that include providing accounting and financial services, to administer employee and retiree benefits, to develop accounting policy and exercise accounting oversight, and to prepare financial reports for state, federal and municipal governments and the public.

The office provides a statewide transparency platform, OpenConnecticut, that allows the public to have immediate access to key state financial data, including checkbook-level data, payroll and pension information. The state comptroller, in overseeing state employee and retiree benefits, serves as administrator of the state employee and retiree health plan, which provides coverage to approximately 250,000 state and municipal employees, retirees and their dependents.

The state plan has achieved significant success in improving member outcomes and stabilizing health care costs by emphasizing value-based health care that drives members to those services and providers with the best health care outcomes, and by implementing initiatives that emphasize preventive care and wellness.

Measuring Quality

Connecticut State Employee Disability Retirement

About twice per month the retirement services division will hold hearings to determine eligibility for disability retirement. A typical decision will grant or deny a Connecticut worker disability benefits.

The Connecticut state retirement summary plan description and C.G.S. §§ 5-169, 5-192p provide the definition of disability.

Definition of Disability

At first, disabled means you are permanently unable to perform the duties of your job. After you have received disability benefits for 24 months, you are considered disabled only if you are totally unable to work at any suitable and comparable job. Your disability may be service-connected or non-service connected.

The retirement services division can review your claim at any time after you have been granted and hold a continuing disability review. Your income from outside work, current medical records and ALL social media may be brought before the medical examining board for review.

Time Periods Filing Your Claim

The time period for filing an application for disability retirement benefits or petition for service-connected disability retirement shall begin on the day after the applicants last day of paid employment by the State of Connecticut and shall end at close of business on the date that is twenty-four months after the applicants last day of paid employment. Regs. Conn. State Agencies § 5-155a-2.

Waiver of Overpayment

Sec. 5-156c. Erroneous payments adjustment waiver of repayment regulations.

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State Employees Retirement System

Connecticuts State Employees Retirement System , the States largest retirement system, is a defined benefit plan administered by the State Employees Retirement Commission. A defined benefit plan means, upon retirement, an eligible member participating in the SERS will receive a fixed pension benefit that is determined by among other factors the number of years the individual worked for the State of Connecticut and the individuals final average salary. The SERS is funded with contributions from the State and employees, plus any investment returns generated by the systems assets.

Although the SERS began providing retirement benefits to its members in 1939, the State adopted a pay-as-you-go approach to the system for much of the SERS history and inadequately saved for retirement benefits promised to state employees. Instead of pre-funding, or contributing to an employees pension benefits from the beginning and entirety of his/her employment, the State of Connecticut paid pension benefits to retired SERS members as they came due through annual appropriations.

As a result of this practice, and several other critical factors, the SERS has accumulated nearly $22.3 billion in unfunded liabilities and currently has one of the lowest funded ratios of any state pension system in the nation. The funded ratio refers to the SERS total assets in proportion to its liabilities for future pension benefits to retirees and current state workers.

Brown’s Initial Complaints About Sers And Cmers

Comptroller Braswell Launches MyCTSavings, a Private

Brown believed that a similar problem existed with respect to CMERS. See 562 Stmnt., Doc. No. 195-1, at ¶¶ 7780 Brown Decl., Doc. No. 195-5, at ¶¶ 5059. In particular, until 2013, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 7-432 allowed retirement benefits to municipal employees who had completed at least ten years of continuous service and became “permanently and totally disabled from engaging in any gainful employment in the service of the municipality.” See Attorney General’s Letter, Ex. 10 to Defs. Mem. in Supp. Mot. for Summ. J. , Doc. No. 189-13, at 2 as it then existed ). From the 1990s to about 2011, the MEB had interpreted “any gainful employment” to incorporate an “own occupation” standard. Seeid. at 34. But in May 2011, the MEB altered its interpretation and began employing an “any occupation” standard, which Brown thought was the correct legal interpretation. See Brown Decl., Doc. No. 195-5, at ¶ 52 AG’s Letter, Doc. No. 189-13, at 1, 5. In early 2013, Brown prepared some legal materials simply to clarify the standard already in place. But Carlson directed Brown to alter her materials so that they supported the old, incorrect, “own occupation” standard Brown resisted that pressure. See Brown Decl., Doc. No. 195-5, at ¶¶ 5354.

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Refusal To Make False Statement To The Irs

Brown also believes that her supervisors compelled her to make false statements regarding information required for various IRS filings if Brown had made those false statements, Brown claims that she might have been subject to criminal penalty. Brown worked with Ice Miller, outside counsel to the Commission until September 2013, on tax issues related to retirement plans. See 561 Stmnt., Doc. No. 189-2, at ¶ 17. Through her job, Brown had discovered that the OSC was allowing “certain retirees, including politically connected retirees, to be re-employed by the State.” See Brown Decl., Doc. No. 195-5, at ¶ 62. Brown believed that that fact was a retirement plan failure that required reporting to Ice Miller. However, Halpin told Brown not to disclose to Ice Miller the existence of such re-hired retirees. Seeid. Brown refused Halpin’s pressure and, instead, told Ice Miller of her findings Ice Miller agreed with Brown that that plan failure “required disclosure.” Seeid. at ¶ 63. Brown knew that lying to Ice Miller might result in the filing of false documents with the IRS, which would be perjurious. Seeid. at ¶ 64.

See Brown Depo. Tr., Ex. 3 to Defs. Mem. in Supp. Mot. for Summ. J., Doc. No. 189-6, at 207:520.

What Are The Signs Of An Eating Disorder

Eating disorders involve extreme and dangerous eating habits, including binge eating, purging, and drastic reductions in food intake. Sometimes, eating disorders are severe enough to require emergency care and hospitalization. It can be difficult for family members to detect the signs of an eating disorder because it isnt unusual for patients to try to hide these behaviors.

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State Of Texas Retirement For Active Employees

The State of Texas Retirement program is a defined benefit retirement plan for eligible employees of State of Texas agencies, with mandatory participation.

Note: ERS does not administer retirement benefits for employees of higher education institutions, the Community Supervision and Corrections Department, or Windham School District. If you work for one of these entities, please see the Teacher Retirement System of Texas/Optional Retirement Program page for information about your retirement benefits. Please see the Insurance Benefits in Retirement page for information about your insurance benefits as a retiree.

Brown’s Affirmative Speech Complaints To The Auditors

New York State and Local Retirement Systems Update

A public employee receives the full protections of the First Amendment if she speaks as a citizen on a matter of public concern.SeeGarcetti , 547 U.S. at 417, 126 S.Ct. 1951. The Court has explained that “when public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens” and thus are not protected by the First Amendment. Id. at 421, 126 S.Ct. 1951 see alsoLane v. Franks , 573 U.S. 228, 234, 134 S.Ct. 2369, 189 L.Ed.2d 312 . In analyzing whether an employee makes affirmative speech as a citizen or an employee, the Second Circuit has focused on two questions: ” did the speech fall outside of the employee’s official responsibilities, and does a civilian analogue exist?” Matthews v. City of New York , 779 F.3d 167, 173 .

Speech is considered “on a matter of public concern” if it relates to “any matter of political, social, or other concern to the community.” Jackler , 658 F.3d at 236. The Defendants do not argue that Brown’s speech was not on a matter of public concern, and, in any event, it clearly was. See, e.g. , Pl.s Mem. of Law in Opp’n to Defs. Mot. for Summ. J., Doc. No. 195, at 9 n.9.

a. The Law on Official Duties

In the Second Circuit, the determination whether a public employee speaks pursuant to her official duties is “not susceptible to a bright-line rule”:

b. The Law on Civilian Analogue

c. The Parties Arguments

d. Discussion regarding Official Duties

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