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Pensions and Benefits
CERTIFYING OFFICER LETTERS 2014

Also available: Archived E-Messages to Certifying Officers and EPIC Users

SUBJECT DATE
Compliance with US Internal Revenue Code — Bona Fide Severance of Employment — Post-Retirement Employment Restrictions for Individuals Covered by any New Jersey State-administered Retirement System - Certifying Officers of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), State Police Retirement System (SPRS), and Judicial Retirement System (JRS)  August 22, 2014
Behavioral Health Claim Reimbursements Reconsidered - All Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefit Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees' Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) July 22, 2014
Compliance with Internal Revenue Code — Maximum Pension Loan Balances - Certifying Officers, All State-administered Retirement Systems July 21, 2014
Pension Contribution Rate Change for PERS and TPAF - Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) July 21, 2014
Affordable Care Act — Classification of Full-time Employees - State College and University Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) July 8, 2014
Fiscal 2015 Alternate Benefit Program Default Designated Service Provider - Certifying Officers of State Colleges and Universities July 1, 2014
ABP Annual Report of Covered Lives - 2014 - Certifying Officers, Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) June 30, 2014
Health Benefit Contribution Percentage Change - State Employees - State Biweekly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Certifying Officers June 18, 2014
Survey ONLY for SHBP and SEHBP Participating Locations that Offer a Private Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) - Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program May 29, 2014

Online Authorization of Scheduled Deductions Only for Purchase of Service Credit - Certifying Officers (PERS, TPAF, and PFRS)

May 27, 2014
Alternate Benefit Program Membership Numbers Now Seven Digits - Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities April 7, 2014

CERTIFYING OFFICER LETTERS FROM OTHER YEARS

2014 CO Letters 2013 CO Letters 2012 CO Letters 2011 CO Letters 2010 CO Letters
2009 CO Letters 2008 CO Letters 2007 CO Letters 2006 CO Letters 2005 CO Letters
2004 CO Letters 2003 CO Letters 2002 CO Letters 2001 CO Letters 2000 CO Letters
1999 CO Letters 1998 CO Letters 1997 CO Letters    

Also available Archived E-Messages to Certifying Officers and EPIC Users.


August 22, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), State Police Retirement System (SPRS), and Judicial Retirement System (JRS) 
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Compliance with US Internal Revenue Code — Bona Fide Severance of Employment — Post-Retirement Employment Restrictions for Individuals Covered by any New Jersey State-administered Retirement System

New Jersey State-administered retirement systems do not permit the payment of retirement benefits without a severance from public employment. This memorandum addresses restrictions pertaining to the re-employment of retired members from any of New Jersey’s State-administered retirement systems.  It also discusses a new form for all employers called the Notification of Employment after Retirement.  This form must be completed whenever you, the employer, engage the services of any retired New Jersey public employee.  This requirement pertains to your former employees as well as those who retired from another New Jersey public employer. 

INTERNAL REVENUE CODE

The PERS, TPAF, PFRS, SPRS, and JRS are established as qualified governmental defined benefit plans in accordance with Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Sections 401(a) and 414(d).  In order to preserve the qualified status of these plans and to protect retirees from a 10% excise tax penalty on their monthly retirement payments, the Division of Pensions and Benefits was required to adopt and to enforce regulations to ensure compliance with the IRC requirements.

“Compliance with Internal Revenue Code” was adopted as a special new rule, effective March 9, 2012, under Title 17, Chapter 1, Subchapter 17, of the New Jersey Administrative Code.  The provisions of N.J.A.C. 17:1-17.14, were needed to clarify criteria regarding retiree re-employment. 

N.J.A.C. 17:1-17.14.2(a) states:

"‘Bona fide severance from employment’ means a complete termination of the employee's employment relationship with the employer for a period of at least 180 days.1  The following does not constitute a complete termination of the employee's relationship with the employer:

  1. Employment or re-employment in a part-time position;
  2. Employment or re-employment in a position that is not covered by the Defined Benefit Plan;
  3. A change in title;
  4. Employment or re-employment as a contract employee, a leased employee,2 or an independent contractor; or
  5. Termination of employment with a pre-arranged agreement for re-employment.
Federal Internal Revenue Service factors shall be used as guidance in determining whether an employment relationship exists.  A mandatory retirement shall be treated as a ‘bona fide severance from employment.’”

The above 180-day requirement does not apply to individuals who were required to retire under the mandatory retirement provisions of the PFRS, SPRS, or JRS. 

Re-employment by a different unit of the same public entity, whether in a position covered by the same retirement system or a different retirement system, is considered to be employment by the same employer.

  • Example 1 – a State employee who retires from one State agency and returns to work as a full- or part-time employee or independent contractor at the same or any other State agency, including a State university, within 180 days following retirement is considered to be returning to work for the same employer.  A bona fide severance from employment has not occurred and the individual does not qualify for the receipt of retirement benefits.
  • Example 2 – a TPAF member who retires from a school district and returns as a part-time teacher in the same district within 180 days following retirement is considered to be returning to work for the same employer.  A bona fide severance from employment has not occurred and the individual does not qualify for the receipt of retirement benefits.

Further, if an employee holds more than one position with the employer, he or she must separate from all employment in order to retire, even if the positions are covered by different retirement systems, or the second position is not subject to pension contributions.

  • Example 3 – A municipal fireman, enrolled in PFRS, also works in a PERS position for the same municipality.   In order to retire from the PFRS, the member must terminate from both positions in order to qualify for retirement benefits from the PFRS.   Further, the individual must be terminated from each position for at least 180 days prior to any consideration of return to employment in the non-PFRS position.
  • Example 4 – A State employee in the executive branch is also an adjunct faculty member at a State college.  The executive branch position is covered by the PERS; the adjunct faculty position is covered by the Alternate Benefits Program (a defined contribution plan).  In order to retire from the executive branch position and collect PERS benefits the individual must also separate from the second State position, even though the position is covered by a different retirement system. Further, the individual must be terminated from each position for at least 180 days prior to any consideration of return to employment in the non-PERS position.

Consequences of Invalid Re-employment

If an individual returns to public employment with the former employer prior to satisfying the requirements of a bona fide severance from employment, the employee will be required to repay all retirement benefits received from the date of retirement and may be required to re-enroll in the same or a different retirement system.  For example, a former employee of a county returns to county employment 135 days after retirement in a position that is not covered by his former retirement system.  The former employee has not met the requirement for a bona fide severance from employment and will be required to repay all retirement benefits and be enrolled in the appropriate retirement system. All employee/employer pension remittances related to the new enrollment will be retroactive to the date of re-employment.  This individual will also not qualify for the receipt of retirement benefits from his former retirement system until he separates from all county employment. 

The IRS does not consider a pre-arranged return to public employment to be a bona fide severance from employment no matter how long the break in employment. If the employer and employee make an arrangement prior to the employee’s retirement to return to the same employer in any capacity, including as a volunteer — at any future time, regardless whether the position is covered by the former retirement system — the employer/employee relationship is not completely severed and the retirement will be invalid.  Should this occur, the employee will be required to repay all retirement benefits received from the date of retirement and may be required to re-enroll in the same or a different retirement system. All employee/employer pension remittances related to the new enrollment will be retroactive to the date of the employment. This would apply even if he or she waited 180 days before returning to the public employment.

Education Employees - Special Provisions for Critical Need Employees

N.J.S.A. 43:15A-57.2(c) and 18A:66-53.2(b) provide an exemption from pension re-enrollment for certain retirees of the PERS or TPAF who are certificated superintendents or certificated administrators and who are hired in a position of critical need.  Termination of employment for 120 days with a pre-arranged agreement to return to that employer will not be considered a bona fide severance from employment.  While New Jersey law permits these retirees to return to employment with the same employer after 120 days without re-enrollment into the retirement system, the 180-day requirement still applies for tax purposes when considering the pension as an early distribution.  A retiree who is under the age of 59½ and returns to employment with the same employer prior to a 180-day break in service may therefore be responsible for excise tax penalties under IRS regulations. (The retiree must report the early distribution tax on IRS Form 5329).  The Division of Pensions is required to report the premature distribution on the retiree’s Form 1099-R.  

Education Employees - Special Provisions for Coaches

Chapter 21, P.L. 2014, enacted July 30, 2014, permits a former member of the TPAF, who has been granted a retirement allowance for any cause other than disability, to become employed again with the former employer as a coach of an athletics activity if the following conditions are met: (1) the re-employment commences after the retirement allowance becomes due and payable3; (2) the former member had attained normal retirement age as of the date of retirement4; and (3) the compensation for the employment is less than $10,000 per year. 

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

If you retain the services of any individual who is retired from one of the New Jersey State-administered retirement systems, you are required to complete the Notification of Employment after Retirement form and submit it to the Division of Pensions and Benefits within 15 calendar days of the date of hire.  The notification form will be reviewed by the Division to determine if the returning retiree can continue to receive retirement benefits while re-employed, or if the retirement must be canceled and the employee enrolled in the same or another retirement system.  The employer must also notify the Division when the employee’s services to the employer have been terminated.  Completed notification forms should be submitted to: External Audit Unit, Division of Pensions and Benefits, P.O. Box 295, Trenton, NJ, 08625-0295.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Additional information regarding the taxability of pension benefits can be found in Fact Sheet #12, Taxation of Retirement Benefits.  For specific questions regarding the tax implications of returning to employment after retirement, current or former employees should consult with a professional tax advisor or contact the IRS at 1-800-TAX-1040.

If you have general questions regarding any of the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division at: https://www.state.nj.us/treas/pensions/pensionmail.shtml

Enclosure
Employer Form: Notification of Employment after Retirement Adobe PDF (26K)

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (67K)

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1 Employees who work a 10-month school year and retire on July 1 or August 1, must count the 180-day     severance of employment from the start of the following normal school year in September.

2 This includes services provided to all employers who are party to a shared service agreement with your former employer.

3 Either more than 30 days after the date of retirement, or more than 30 days after the retirement has been approved by the Board of Trustees of the TPAF, whichever date is the later of the two.

4 Normal retirement age for members of the TPAF means age 60 for persons who became members before November 2, 2008 (Tiers 1 and 2); age 62 for persons who became members on or after November 2, 2008 (Tiers 3 and 4); age 65 for persons who became member on or after June 28, 2011 (Tier 5).

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July 22, 2014

TO: All Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees' Health Benefits Program (SEHBP)
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Behavioral Health Claim Reimbursements Reconsidered

The State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees’ Health Benefit Program (SEHBP) Commissions have directed Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) to reconsider certain out-of-network claims for professional behavioral health services, reimbursed between May 4, 2009 and March 23, 2014.

FILING A CLAIM RECONSIDERATION

Employees who received reimbursement for behavioral health claims for services provided by an out-of-network provider between May 4, 2009 and March 23, 2014, may be entitled to a reconsideration of their claims. Employees that want to pursue adjustments of these claims must provide proof that they paid the difference between Horizon BCBSNJ reimbursement and the provider’s full charge.

To file a claim reconsideration, employees must complete and submit the enclosed Request for Adjustment of Out-of-Network Behavioral Health Claims Reimbursement along with supporting documentation to:

Horizon BCBSNJ
PO Box 10190
Newark, NJ 07101-3190

The form also provides specific instructions about the requirements for requesting additional reimbursement along with mailing instructions. The form is also available on the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/pdf/hb/horizon-adjustment-form.pdf

For questions related to this process, please call Horizon BCBSNJ at 1-844-296-1421.

NOTE: Requests for reconsideration must be received by December 31, 2014. Requests received after that date will not be considered.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

Please make this information available to your location’s employees and forward this letter
and attachment to your human resources staff, benefit administrators, and any other staff
members responsible for the administration of health benefits for your location’s employees.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Additional information is available on the Division of Pensions and Benefit’s Web site at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/bhs-claim-reconsideration.shtml Employees can also contact Horizon BCBSNJ at 1-844-296-1421 or visit Horizon BCBSNJ’s Web site at:
shbp.horizonblue.com

Enclosure
Request for Adjustment of Out-of-Network Behavioral Health Claims Reimbursement

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (47K)

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July 21, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers, All State-administered Retirement Systems
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Compliance with Internal Revenue Code — Maximum Pension Loan Balances

Eligible employees of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), Teacher’s Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), and State Police Retirement System (SPRS) can borrow up to one-half of all pension contributions posted to their account provided that the total outstanding loan balance will not exceed a maximum of $50,000; however, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations require that for employees who have subsequent pension loans, any new loan amount when added to the highest balance due for all previous loans during the prior 12-month period cannot exceed $50,000.  This means the “maximum amount” also includes loans from employer-provided plans that are not a State-administered retirement plan (PERS, TPAF, PFRS, or SPRS).

IRS REQUIREMENT

The IRS requires a new loan amount, when added to the highest balance due (without interest) during the prior 12-month period for all loans from all employer-provided retirement plans cannot exceed $50,000. This includes retirement plans that an employee may have an interest in due to his or her employment relationship with New Jersey and/or any other governmental plans sponsored or administered by a public sector employer in New Jersey. Amounts received in excess of the maximum permitted by the IRS shall be declared a deemed distribution and subject to additional tax.

In order to comply with IRS regulations, the maximum loan balance is determined using the following factors:

  • the amount of the new loan the employee is currently requesting; plus        
  • the highest outstanding loan balance from the PERS, TPAF, PFRS and/or SPRS in the prior 12 months (without interest — for all existing loans that the employee has due to public employment); plus
  • the highest outstanding loan balance from any other governmental plans sponsored or administered by a public sector employer during the prior 12-month period.

As of July 21, 2014, when an employee submits a new loan request online using the Member Benefits Online System (MBOS) or via the Automated Information System at (609) 292-7524, they will be required to indicate any outstanding loans obtained from a retirement plan other than PERS, TPAF, PFRS or SPRS and subsequently provide documentation to the Division of Pensions and Benefits with the highest loan balance (without interest) in the prior 12 month period for any loans that they obtained from the other plan(s) offered by a public employer.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

Please make this information available to your location’s employees and forward this letter to your human resources staff, benefit administrators, and any other staff members responsible for the administration of pension benefits for your location’s employees. Employees should be advised to maintain documentation for their records for pension loans taken from other plans offered by your location in the event of an audit. Any amounts received in excess of the maximum may be declared a deemed distribution and the employee may be subject to additional tax by the IRS.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Additional information regarding pension loans can be found in Fact Sheet #81, Loans. If you have general questions regarding any of the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or via the Division’s Web site at: https://www.state.nj.us/treas/pensions/pensionmail.shtml

For specific questions regarding the tax implications, employees should consult with a professional tax advisor or contact the IRS at 1-800-TAX-1040.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (45K)

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July 21, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund
FROM: New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Pension Contribution Rate Change for PERS and TPAF

As outlined in a May 2013 certifying officer letter, pursuant to Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, Pension and Health Benefit Reform, PERS and TPAF employee pension contribution rates should have increased from 6.78% to 6.92% of salary with the first paycheck on or after July 1, 2014. 

  • State employees paid through the Centralized Payroll Unit received check messages as notification of the contribution change which began as of the July 3, 2014 paycheck. Copies of the check messages are attached for reference (see printable version).
  • For all other employees, the increase to 6.92% was  to be effective with the first paycheck paid on or after July 1, 2014 (which is reported to the Division of Pensions and Benefits as compensation during the 3rd calendar quarter of 2014).

The change in the employee’s contribution rate will also increase the minimum repayment amount for new pension loans or the cost for a purchase of service credit if certified after the increased contribution rate becomes effective.

Note: There is no additional increase for PERS Prosecutors Part members whose contribution rate increased to 10% in October 2011.

FUTURE INCREASES

July 2014 marks the fourth rate increase under the provisions of Chapter 78, which calls for PERS and TPAF employee pension contribution rates to increase over 7 years until the total pension contribution rate is 7.5% of salary as of July 2018.  The fifth contribution rate increase to 7.06% will be effective July 2015.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you have questions regarding the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division at: https://www.state.nj.us/treas/pensions/pensionmail.shtml

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (49K)

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July 8, 2014

TO: State College and University Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP)
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Affordable Care Act — Classification of Full-time Employees

State Colleges and Universities should not refer to the information provided in the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Certifying Officer letter dated June 24, 2013 for the purposes of classifying full-time employees.

The purpose of this letter is to provide employers with updated information regarding the Affordable Care Act and the classification of full-time employees.  The “Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions” contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act require certain employers to offer health coverage to their full-time employees or pay a penalty — the enactment of this provision was delayed from 2014 to 2015.  Information on the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions can be found at the following Web site:

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Questions-and-Answers-on-Employer-Shared-Responsibility-Provisions-Under-the-Affordable-Care-Act

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For more information regarding the determination of a full-time employee and employer responsibilities, see IRS Bulletin 2012-41:
http://www.irs.gov/irb/2012-41_IRB/ar07.html#d0e322

Employers with questions regarding any of the information provided in this letter can contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (45K)

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July 1, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers of State Colleges and Universities
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Fiscal 2015 Alternate Benefit Program Default Designated Service Provider

The Division has named ING Financial Advisers (VOYA) as the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) default provider for the upcoming fiscal year — July 1, 2014 thru June 30, 2015.

Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) enrollees who do not choose a designated service provider for their program contributions within 45 days of participation are enrolled with the approved default designated service provider.

The default designated service provider is authorized to accept employer and employee mandatory contributions, and to invest the contributions in their approved default option. Contributions continue to be sent to the default provider and invested in the approved default option, until the ABP member designates a different provider or completes an application with the default service provider. The employer is then notified of the change.

Members in both active and delayed vested status enrolled through the default process are allowed to choose an alternate designated service provider and transfer the contributions deposited to that alternate provider.

The Division of Pensions and Benefits considers the concerns of members, human resource administrators, and the designated service providers for the ABP and periodically selects a designated service provider to serve as the default provider. The Division of Pensions and

Benefits will provide notification of any change to the default provider each fiscal year.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (48K)

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June 30, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers, Alternate Benefit Program (ABP)
FROM: Danielle Mason, Assistant ABP Manager, NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: ABP Annual Report of Covered Lives - 2014

The time has come upon us again when the Division of Pensions and Benefits asks the public Colleges and Universities to provide updated salary information for active members of the New Jersey Alternate Benefit Program (ABP). 

Access to the ABP EPIC application is again accessible to you under the Division of Pensions and Benefit’s EPIC program you are currently using.  The EPIC program is the preferred method of providing annual salaries and employment status updates for the Alternate Benefit Program members’ enrolled at your institution as of June 30, 2014.  A window period extending through August 15, 2014 has been established for updating information to this application. The individual employee annual salary information can be updated to the application daily. However, all information should be completed no later than August 8, 2014.  As the security officer for the EPIC application, you may request authorization for one of your staff members so that they may update this information, in addition to yourself.

The Division of Pensions and Benefits will stand firm on their policy that prevents any future employer reimbursements when required information is not received in a timely manner remains in effect.  Therefore, you have until August 15, 2014 to provide the required salary and employment status information for your employees.  Failure to provide updated information by that date will result in the withholding of all reimbursement of employer ABP matching contributions until your institution complies with the reporting requirement.

Detailed instructions for using the EPIC online application are attached.  If you are not able to provide the information via the EPIC web-based program, a rewritable CD or DVD is the next preferred method, however a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet is acceptable and can be emailed to: danielle.mason@treas.nj.gov  Please include the following:  ABP number (7 digits), Members’ last name and first name, contractual base salary, and vesting status.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.  Please contact our office if you have any questions.  You may reach me at (609) 777-0887.

Step 1 – Access to EPIC

If you currently do not have access to the application, please contact your security officer (identified in our cover memo) who will be able to request access to the application by the assistant plan administrator, Danielle Mason.  Once connected, continue to step 2.

Step 2 – Access your ABP application

“Select a location from the dropdown menu” box, choose the employer identification “000nnnABP – name of employer” (the “nnn” and “name of employer” will be specific to your location).  This will activate a button labeled “Alternate Benefit Program”.  Select this button to access the application and proceed to step 3.

Step 3 – You have now accessed the application. 

You will be presented with no more than 5 ABP members per screen.  Individuals are listed in order by ABP member number.  You can advance through the list by using the buttons located at the bottom of the page.  You may leave the application by using the buttons at the top of the page labeled “Home” and “Logout”.

WARNING – When you decide to leave the application you will be presented with a question, “Are you finished updating the ABP?” ONLY answer “YES” if you have completed all entries and wish to submit your entire report for processing.  Selecting “NO” will save your entries but permit you to return later to continue or review your work before final submission.  Answering “YES” to this question will prohibit any further updates to the Annual Salary data field.

For each active member please indicate the member’s contractual base salary as of June 30, 2014, and modify vesting status if necessary. Salaries must be included for any member who terminated employment on or after June 30, 2014.  Salaries are to be reported in whole dollars only and corrections may be made on-line until August 15, 2014, or until you choose to submit the report as noted above and explained again later.

For members absent from the on-line listing, but employed at your institution prior to June 30, 2014, please provide an Enrollment form or Application for Transfer/Rehire form indicating the individual’s hire date.  If this information has previously been submitted to the Division, please contact the Defined Contribution Plans Unit at (609) 777-0887 to resolve the matter. 

No salary information should be entered for members ceasing employment prior to June 30, 2014.  However, leave or termination information must be submitted and may be done so through this on-line application as described in step 4.  In addition to updating the on-line application, all leaves of absence, returns from absence and terminations of employment occurring at any time throughout the year must be submitted in writing to the Defined Contribution Plans Unit of the Division of Pensions and Benefits.  A completed Leave or Termination memo must be submitted indicating the date(s) when an employee begins and terminates a leave of absence.   This form must also be submitted indicating the date and reason, when the participant terminates employment.  An Application for Retirement must be completed by you and the employee when the termination is the result of retirement.  This EPIC application does not replace the documentation required for notification of employment leaves or terminations.

Step 4 – Reporting employment status changes

If a member has had a change in employment status and is no longer actively employed, while you should have reported that information to the Division in writing, you should also report this information by accessing the member specific update screen.  This is done by clicking on the individual you wish to report the change for with your mouse.  This will open a second window where you can select a leave or termination reason from a dropdown menu and insert the effective date for the leave (start date).  If the individual is returned from a leave, the return date may be inserted here as well (end date).

Once you have completed updating the individual member’s record, please select “Submit” from this screen and you will be returned to the previous screen where you may update information for the same member, another member, continue entering annual salary information, updating vesting status or end your session.

Step 5 – Ending your session

When you have completed a work session in this application, please use the buttons at the top of the page labeled “Home” and “Logout”.  When you click on either of these buttons with your mouse you will be presented with a question, “Are you finished updating the ABP?” If you wish to return at a later time to continue working with this application and enter member annual salary information as of June 30, 2014, select “NO”.

If you have completed entering all salary information and wish to submit it for processing to the Division, select “YES” and the application will be locked and no one from your staff will be permitted to modify the information you have entered.

Step 6 – Give us your feedback!

Please submit any feedback on the use of this application to danielle.mason@treas.nj.gov

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (90K)

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June 18, 2014

TO: State Biweekly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Certifying Officers
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Health Benefit Contribution Percentage Change - State Employees

Under the provisions of Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, employees are required to pay an increased contribution toward the cost of health benefits coverage based on a specified percentage1 of the medical and prescription drug plan premiums. 

For State employees who were hired on or before June 28, 2011, the contribution increase is being phased in over four years with these employees paying ¼, ½, ¾ and the full amount of the contribution rate during the phase-in years.

For most State employees the health benefit contribution rate change is to be effective with the first paycheck on or after July 1, 2014. 

1The amount of the contribution is calculated using the level of coverage selected and a scale of percentages that increase with the employee’s annual salary.  Single coverage and Family coverage have separate scales of percentages. Member & Spouse/Partner and Parent & Child coverage use the same scale of percentages.  The appropriate percentage is multiplied by the premium cost of the medical and/or prescription drug plans selected. The total contribution cannot be less than 1.5% of annual salary.

CONTRIBUTION PERCENTAGE CHANGES

Percentage rate increase levels and effective dates for specific employee groups are as follows:

State Biweekly Employees (Paid Through State Centralized Payroll)

Effective with State Biweekly Pay Period #14 (the July 3, 2014 paycheck), Executive, Legislative, and non-represented Judiciary employees hired on or before June 28, 2011 will pay at the Year Four percentage* (the full percentage) for medical and prescription drug plan premiums.

Employees in these categories who were hired after June 28, 2011 currently pay the Year Four full percentage* amount.

*Or 1.5% of salary, whichever is greater.

State Monthly Employees

Effective with the first paycheck to be paid on or after July 1, 2014 (reported to the Division of Pensions and Benefits as compensation during the 3rd calendar quarter of 2014), State Monthly employees hired on or before June 28, 2011 will pay at the Year Four percentage* (the full percentage) for medical and prescription drug plan premiums.

State Monthly employees who were hired after June 28, 2011 pay the Year Four full percentage* amount and should not see an increase in their health benefit contribution as of July 2014.

*Or 1.5% of salary, whichever is greater.

CONTRIBUTION EXAMPLE

As an example: An employee with an annual salary of $50,000 has a gross biweekly pay of $1,915.71 and 1.5% of that salary equals $28.73 per pay period.  The employee has Family coverage through NJ DIRECT15 and the Employee Prescription Drug Plan with a biweekly premium of $870.92 for Plan Year 2014. 

The current Year Three contribution is 9% of the premium, with a biweekly cost for medical and prescription drug coverage equal to $78.38.  The employee pays the percentage of premium contribution amount of $78.38 per biweekly pay period, because it is greater than 1.5% of salary ($28.73).

For the Year Four contribution the percentage increases to 12% of the premium or $114.74 per biweekly pay period, effective July 2014.

CALCULATING HEALTH BENEFIT CONTRIBUTIONS

For employees who wish to estimate their expected health benefit contributions amounts, rate charts, salary-based percentage scales, worksheets, and Percentage of Premium Calculators are available on the SHBP Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml

Separate worksheets and calculators are provided for both State biweekly employees and State monthly employees.

Note: For the Premium Calculators, Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers are recommended. Safari or Chrome users may receive error messages.

NOTIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES

State Executive, Legislative, and non-represented Judiciary employees paid biweekly through the State Centralized Payroll Unit will receive check messages with Pay Periods #13 (June 20, 2014) and #14 (July 3, 2014) to announce the health benefit contribution increase. Copies of the check messages are attached for reference. State biweekly employers are encouraged to provide their employees with additional reminders of the coming contribution increase.

State monthly employers are asked to provide payroll messages or other notifications to inform their employees of the coming contribution increase.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you have questions regarding the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division at:  https://www.state.nj.us/treas/pensions/pensionmail.shtml

Enclosure
Centralized Payroll Check Messages — Health Benefit Contribution Changes Adobe PDF (7K)

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (50K)

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May 29, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Survey ONLY for SHBP and SEHBP Participating Locations that Offer a Private Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM)

Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires certain health plans to comply with cost-sharing limits with respect to their coverage of essential health benefits. The cost-sharing limits include (1) a maximum allowed deductible; and (2) an overall annual cost-sharing limit, also called an out-of-pocket (OOP) maximum. Cost-sharing includes any expenditure required by or on behalf of an enrollee with respect to essential health benefits, such as deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance and similar charges. It excludes premiums and spending for non-covered services. For 2014, the OOP maximum cannot exceed $6,350 for self-only coverage and $12,700 for family coverage. In 2015, the cost-sharing limits will include prescription drug coverage.

Your location has chosen to participate in the SHBP/SEHBP, but has chosen to use a private Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) to administer your prescription drug program. Therefore, please complete the attached survey, and return it to the Division by July 1, 2014. This information is needed so that the SHBP/SEHBP can remain compliant with the requirements of the ACA and determine the best course of action as it relates to adhering to the combined health and prescription drug OOP maximums in 2015.

In addition, while the participating employers may elect to have a private prescription drug plan, N.J.A.C. 17:9-8.1 states that the private plan must be comparable in design to the SHBP/SEHBP prescription drug plans. N.J.S.A. 40A:10-25 and N.J.S.A.18A:16-21 stipulate that any employer entering into a private contract is required to provide the State with a copy of the terms of the contract. Therefore, if your location hasn’t done so already, please provide the Division with a copy of your prescription drug contract along with the completed survey.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (105K)

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May 27, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers, (PERS, TPAF, and PFRS)
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Online Authorization of Scheduled Deductions Only for Purchase of Service Credit

The Division of Pensions and Benefits is implementing significant changes to the authorization of scheduled payroll deductions for the purchase of service credit for members of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), and Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS).

ONLINE PURCHASE AUTHORIZATION FOR SCHEDULING PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS

Once a member applies for a purchase online through their personal account with the Member Benefits Online System (MBOS) and the Division of Pensions and Benefits determines that service credit is eligible for purchase, a letter quoting the cost to purchase service is mailed to the member.  In order to complete the purchase the member must authorize the purchase and indicate the payment method before the date specified on the cost quotation letter — the member is allowed 90 days from the date of the purchase quote to authorize the purchase. Effective May 2014, members who wish to authorize payroll deductions will now have the option to return the paper Purchase Authorization form or use the ‘Purchase Authorization’ online application accessible online through MBOS.  Additionally, if the member wants to increase the amount of payroll deductions towards the purchase of service credit, or decrease the amount of service credit they wish to purchase, they may also complete the ‘Purchase Authorization’ online via MBOS. 

Members wishing to submit a personal check or a rollover as payment for the purchase of service credit cannot use the online application via MBOS at this time and must submit a paper Purchase Authorization along with the payment.  If a member does not want to authorize the purchase of service credit, no response is required.

MBOS ACCESS

The Member Benefits Online System (MBOS) is a set of Internet applications that allow registered retirement system members access to their pension account information. 

MBOS provides members with the fastest, most efficient method for requesting a purchase.  Confirmation of receipt of an application is provided to the member on screen and by e-mail.

Employees who are new to MBOS can access MBOS after they register with both the MyNewJersey Web site and MBOS.  Registration is free; however, the registration process requires several steps and new users should carefully follow the MBOS Registration Instructions.

If, after following the MBOS Registration Instructions, an employee still needs assistance registering for or using MBOS, they should call the MBOS Help Desk at (609) 292-7524 or send an e-mail with the subject line "MBOS E-mail".

Exceptions to Online Purchase Authorization
A limited number of members will not be able to use the MBOS to purchase service credit or utilize the ‘Purchase Authorization’ online application.  These member groups are: 

  • Members applying for the purchase of Military Service after Enrollment under the provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA).  To purchase this service the employer must submit the Request for USERRA Eligible Service form within the time frames required under the law.  See Fact Sheet #36, Military Service after Enrollment and USERRA, for additional information.
  • PFRS members applying for the purchase of Layoff.  Additional information can be found in Fact Sheet #1, Purchasing Service Credit (PERS, TPAF & PFRS).
  • Members of the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) should follow the purchase instructions outlined in the SPRS Member Handbook.
  • Members of the Judicial Retirement System (JRS) should follow the purchase instructions outlined in the JRS Member Handbook.

Note: For members who were previously on a leave of absence and return to active employment, the pension account must be updated to reflect the return to employment in order to schedule deductions via the MBOS ‘Purchase Authorization’ application.  If the member’s account has not yet been updated to reflect that the member has returned to employment a lump sum payment will be required to purchase service credit.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For additional information about the purchase of service credit, see:
    Fact Sheet #1, Purchasing Service Credit (PERS, TPAF & PFRS)
    Fact Sheet #2, Estimating the Cost of Purchasing Service Credit (PERS & TPAF)
    Fact Sheet #3, Estimating the Cost of Purchasing Service Credit (PFRS)

Fact sheets and handbooks are available for viewing or printing on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions

For assistance registering with or using MBOS, contact the MBOS Help Desk at (609) 292-7524 or send an e-mail with the subject line "MBOS E-mail".

If you have questions regarding any of the other information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (119K)
MBOS Registration Instructions

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April 7, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities
FROM: Nancy Ronaghan, Defined Contribution Plans Manager, Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Alternate Benefit Program Membership Numbers Now Seven Digits

The Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) currently provides a six-digit membership number to identify its participants, for example: “9-00000”.  The Division of Pensions and Benefits has recently determined that ABP membership numbers are nearing the end of the sequence for the six-digit format and an additional digit will be required for future membership numbers; therefore, the current format will be modified from a six-digit number to a seven-digit number.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITY

Beginning on April 9, 2014, all past and future member numbers for ABP will use the new seven-digit format.  Current ABP membership numbers will have a “0” placed after the leading “9-“ in order to create a seven-digit number.

Upon implementation, all future communications from ABP participating employers with the Division of Pensions and Benefits must include the seven-digit membership number.  This includes the Covered Lives Report that is forwarded to the Division of Pensions and Benefits in June that details all ABP participants that are covered by Group Life Insurance.

Note: The ABP Enrollment and Inquiry applications via the Employer Pensions and Benefit Information Connection (EPIC) system will be unavailable to employers on Tuesday, April 8, while the system is undergoing maintenance and should be available on Wednesday, April 9.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For additional information, please contact the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524 or by e-mail.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (41K)

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