Because of the COVID-19 emergency, the New York State Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) is distributing your summer member newsletter electronically.
As always, your newsletter is packed with useful information about your NYSLRS benefits. Find out about new Retirement Online features, including a pension calculator that uses your current account information, and the ability to file a retirement application online.
If you are in the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS), here is your newsletter. https://osc.state.ny.us/sites/default/files/retirement/documents/pdf/2020-07/sentinel-summer-2020.pdf
If you are in the Employees' Retirement System (ERS), here is your newsletter. https://osc.state.ny.us/sites/default/files/retirement/documents/pdf/2020-07/update-summer-2020.pdf
The campus community is invited to attend the New York State EAP webinar “Follow-Up to Solutions to Managing Stress: Be Here Now” on Friday, August 21, from noon to 12:30 p.m.
Being mindful and being here now is simple to say but difficult to do, especially when you are dealing with stressful situations at work and at home. During this seminar, Linda Carignan-Everts, NYS EAP wellness coordinator, will share simple exercises to be mindful and to discuss the importance of awareness, gratitude, and acknowledgment.
To join the training session
1. Visit the NY State Webex training website
2. Enter your name and e-mail address
3. Enter the session password: WellNYS2020
4. Click "Join Now"
5. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen
To join the session by phone only
To receive a call back, provide your phone number when you join the training session, or call the number below and enter the access code.
Local: (518) 549-0500
Access code: 161 460 3718
During this time, even though you are unable to meet in person, our campus representative is available to meet with you over the phone to help with anything related to your New York State Deferred Compensation Plan Account, including:
To schedule an appointment, you may do so online via the scheduling tool or call Mark Wallace at 716-903-7253 or 614-854-4397.
To participate in a NYS Deferred Comp online workshop of your choice, enroll here.
Due to social distancing restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, NYSTRS will not be holding group Pension & Retirement Education Program (PREP) seminars this summer or fall. However, members can now watch video versions of all PREP seminar modules online at their convenience at the Retirement Planning > Pension & Retirement Education Program.
Additionally, even though they are not holding in-person benefits consultations at this time, members can get all the important information they need in a phone consultation with one of the Retirement System representatives. Members can book an appointment through their MyNYSTRS account or by calling 1-800-348-7298.
Employees should direct any questions to WageWorks customer service at 1-800-358-7202 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Independent Health has created a special COVID-19 Coronavirus Update section on their website for their enrollees. They are encouraging enrolled employees to create their own Independent Health member accounts so that they can receive updates about COVID-19, review their benefits and have access to key details related to their plan. They have announced that all costs will now be covered without copay for COVID-19 testing, diagnosis and treatment.
More information can be found on their website or by calling customer service at 716-631-8701.
Employees can find contact information for retirement plan providers for account assistance during the COVID-19 isolation measures. Reference information includes; participant contact centers, SUNY custom websites, virtually based meetings with an advisor, educational webinars and resources specific to current financial market information during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Empire Plan is doing all they can to support its enrollees through this unprecedented time and has introduced a new telehealth benefit to help them access health care services remotely. LiveHealth Online lets enrollees stay home and have a video visit with a board-certified doctor or licensed therapist on their smartphone, tablet or personal computer.
If enrollees are concerned about leaving their homes to receive medical care or their ability to access care, The Empire Plan will cover telehealth visits at no cost. Additional information and step-by-step instructions to register are available. Enrollees who are already registered can login to www.empireblue.com/nys to get a coupon code to cover the full cost of their LiveHealth Online visit. For additional assistance, enrollees are encouraged to call The Empire Plan at 1-877-7-NYSHIP (1-877-769-7447) and select option 2 for the Hospital Program. Note: A postcard regarding this new benefit will also be mailed to enrollees in the coming week.
In addition, Empire Plan has coronavirus related benefits available for their members:
For additional information regarding any of these benefits, members can contact Empire Plan at 1-877-7-NYSHIP. You can also sign up for State Health Department coronavirus email updates.
SUNY released its 2020 Universal Availability Notice. SUNY provides employees with the opportunity to save for their retirement through the SUNY Voluntary 403(b) Savings Plan (the “Plan”). Participation in the SUNY Voluntary Savings Plan is a great way to build your retirement savings through pre-tax and/or post-tax payroll deduction contributions. Whether you want to enroll in the plan for the first time, or you are already enrolled but wish to change the amount of your deferral, you can do so through the SUNY online enrollment and management system at www.retirementatwork.org/suny. For more information, please contact the Benefits Office at 878-4821.
Effective September 4, 2018, a Roth option (after tax) will be added to the 403(b) Voluntary Savings Plan.
The new Roth option will give you the opportunity for a payroll deduction on an after-tax basis with the potential to withdraw earnings on a tax-free basis in retirement. More information is available on the SUNY Benefits website at www.SUNY.edu/Benefits or you can pick up an informational flyer in the Benefits Office, Cleveland Hall 410.
Highlights of the Roth 403(b):
To enroll or make changes to your current account go to www.retirementatwork.org/suny. If you would like to meet with a financial advisor, you can find our campus representatives at hr.buffalostate.edu/orp-one-one-consultations.
Employees enrolled in the SUNY Optional Retirement Program (ORP) and/or the SUNY 403(b) Voluntary Savings Program utilize a retirement and voluntary savings enrollment and management system called Retirement@Work. The easy-to-navigate online system is used to enroll in retirement for those who are not currently enrolled in a retirement plan and to enroll in the SUNY 403(b) Voluntary Savings Program, also called the Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA). Employees can manage their TDA contributions and designate investment providers for the TDA. Current participants in the SUNY ORP will be able to designate investment providers and have access to learn about plan benefits in a central place. For more information, visit hr.buffalostate.edu/tax-deferred-annuities-and-college-savings-program.
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