Employer News | October 2015

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Upcoming Seminars



Audit Section
(907) 465-5707

Financial Education and Advice Services
(800) 232-0859

Member Services Counseling Services
(907) 465-4460

Member Services Contact Center
(907) 465-4460

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October | VOLUME #122

Change in Marital Status: A Reminder

Empty Chairs

A change in marital status serves as a qualifying status change for many benefits. Please remember to change your employee’s marital status in the event of divorce or death of a spouse. This will support the Division in providing excellent customer service.    

If marital status change is due to divorce, please direct your employee to the Division’s website for information on documents that must be submitted to the Division.

If marital status change is due to the death of a spouse, please direct your employee to the Division’s website for beneficiary change forms.

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Employees Not Covered by Social Security


2004 Social Security Administration legislation requires that employers provide a statement, the SSA-1945 form, to employees hired after January 1, 2005 in a job not covered by Social Security. The SSA-1945 form explains how a pension from that job could affect future Social Security benefits to which the employee may become entitled.

Employers must give the SSA-1945 form to the employee prior to the start of employment, get the employee’s signature on the form, and submit a copy of the signed form to the pension paying agency. For the State of Alaska, forms should be returned via email or hard copy to the State’s Social Security Administrator.

In the past we have filed these forms by date received, making them almost impossible to retrieve, but SSA-1945 forms will now be filed by employer and then by employee. Employers can help by please remembering to legibly fill out all information on the form.

The return address and the link to current SSA-1945 form are provided below. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your State Social Security Administrator, Melanie Helmick, at melanie.helmick@alaska.gov or (907) 465-5707.

Thank you in advance for your help. 

Current SSA-1945 Form

Return to:
Division of Retirement and Benefits
PO Box 110203
Juneau, AK 99811-0203

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Counselor Field Observations


As of August 2015, we have kicked off our travel season for the fiscal year 2015-16. We will be traveling to different areas of Alaska and will visit many different employers. We will provide individual counseling sessions and seminars as requested. Employers and employees: please consult with your regional counselor to express your questions, concerns and education requests in advance. Now would be a good time to inform your regional counselor if you have new employees that are in need of education on PERS IV or TRS III. We can partner with Empower Retirement (formerly Great-West) to provide a comprehensive educational opportunity.

As fellow Alaskans, you have faced the trials and tribulations of traveling throughout our great state and understand that sometimes it takes celestial alignments to make our connections and appointments. With our very limited time, one of our goals is to maximize our resources at every opportunity. To do so, I have compiled information from our field reports that will enable us to continue to strive for this goal:

I.  What has worked and what is working?
Employers are in charge of internal notifications of our annual visits and signup sheets for individual counseling, group meetings or seminars. This maximizes allotted time per visit and also indicates whether we need to allocate more or less resources with future visits.

II.  Where should employer or employee questions be directed?
Employee questions should always be directed toward the retirement counselors of the Division of Retirement and Benefits. The retirement counselors are the employer advocates in directing questions and concerns. They have access to subject matter experts, historical knowledge and the Participation Agreements. They also have the ability to elevate a question to the “Employer Response Team”, which is composed of supervisory, managerial and chief level personnel.

III.  Should employers answer questions about the PERS or the TRS?
In short: no. Answering questions about the PERS or the TRS could put you in a situation where you could be held liable. The best practice is to send the question(s) to the Division of Retirement and Benefits.

IV.  Should employers ask other employers about the PERS or the TRS?
This is not recommended. Every employer is different and answers may differ from one employer to the next. Participation Agreements will be a major consideration in employer responses. Again, the best practice is to send the question(s) to the Division of Retirement and Benefits.

I am always open to new or fresh ideas. If you have some best practices or observations that you would like to share, please convey these to your counselor or myself.

Roberto Aceveda
Counseling and Benefit Education Manager

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Simple Facts

Simple Facts

Did you know that members of the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan who have not attended a seminar are more apt to cash out their retirement account? This is a very spooky proposition when we dig in to the facts. These members are making a lifetime income decision without any education.

Today, 76% of members who have not attended a seminar cash out their retirement account. We do not know every reason for the high percentage of distributions, but we do know that 40% of the 76% who cash out received education and recommendations from their friends, who are often not the appropriate source for financial advice.

So what can we do? We as a team need to encourage our members and our employees to attend trainings and seminars when provided. Better yet, you as employers have the ability to make attendance mandatory.

Currently at the Division of Retirement and Benefits, we offer seminars, webinars and individual appointments. However, in light of employer and member demand, we are expanding our capabilities and will soon have New Employee Orientations available to all members. New Employee Orientations will be prerecorded and available 24/7 on our website.

Will this be the magic bullet? We don’t know. What we do know is that members will have access to the education and information.

Roberto Aceveda
Counseling and Benefit Education Manager

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Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is November 4-25, 2015.

This year, Optional Benefits are changing for all members. The State of Alaska will begin offering increased life insurance volumes and enhanced Short-Term Disability coverage.

If your employees are enrolled in Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D), Supplemental Life Insurance and/or Short-Term Disability Insurance, they MUST re-enroll in order to keep their coverage. Coverage WILL NOT roll over to the new benefit year.

All Optional Benefits members will receive a letter detailing the changes in these benefits and how to enroll. The Division will also send Open Enrollment emails to employers and ask that they be forwarded to all employees.

Go to Alaska.gov/drb/OpenEnrollment for more information about the changes in Optional Benefits for the 2016 benefit year.

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