Employer News | October 2018

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In This Issue

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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Employer Services


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OCTOBER 2018 | VOLUME #157

EmCon 2018 Recap


The 2018 Employer Conference, “Better Together,” was a great experience for all who attended. The Division received valuable input from employer representatives on how to provide better tools, communication, and services. As a result, we are currently:

  • Scheduled for our first monthly Employer Meeting on Friday, November 9th at 10:30 a.m. If you have discussion topics that may take research on our part, please send them in advance to Roberto Aceveda at roberto.aceveda@alaska.gov. Otherwise, we will use this opportunity to provide updates on employer onboarding to Employer Services, reporting, or other issues that come up. Both Benefit and Payroll specialists will be in attendance.

  • Working to gather the resources we have into a central location to provide a “toolkit” for employers that will include onboarding new employees, Division contacts, Empower contacts, and reporting resources.

  • Continuing efforts to improve the Employer Resources page on our new website currently in development. We will ask for volunteers to view it and provide feedback in the next several weeks.

  • Listening to employer feedback in order to improve our partnership.

The call-in number for the teleconferenced monthly Employer Meeting will be provided on a date closer to the event. 

Our thanks to all the employers who traveled to Juneau for this important event. We appreciate your time and effort to improve our services to our participants and members. We are truly “Better Together.”

Financial Wellness Update

Stacked Quarters

As promised at the recent Employer Conference, starting this month we will feature an article in each Employer News newsletter to assist employers on promoting financial wellness among their employees. These articles are designed to be short and direct so they can be used in email, payroll stuffers, or other communication methods used by the employer to easily communicate to employees. The first message follows:

Take Control of Your Personal Finances

Did you know that 23% of employees have no savings set aside for unexpected expenses? Many employees find it difficult to save. We have free, easy-to-use tools to help you get started on creating a simple budget. A budget can help you see where your money is going, make decisions on how to maximize your efforts in paying off debt, and find money to save for unexpected expenses.

As a member of the State retirement systems, you have an account established with Empower Retirement Services. In addition to reporting the details of your contributions and earnings/losses, this account provides you with valuable financial education via your account online. Visit Empower at akdrb.empower-retirement.com and click the "Me & My Money" tab when you log in to your account to access videos, interactive tools, calculators, and financial wellness articles. Or click on the Empower button on the Division of Retirement and Benefits website at Alaska.gov/drb.  Don’t know how to log in to your account?  Contact Empower Customer Services representatives at (800) 232-0859.

Social Security Announces 2.8% Benefit Increase for 2019

The Social Security Administration announced on October 11, 2018 that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8% in 2019.

The 2.8% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 62 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2019. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2018. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits). The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $132,900 from $128,400.

Employer Services—Update

The Division has been working hard transitioning employers onto the new employer reporting tool, “Employer Services.” Starting in October and over the next few months, the Division will be working with our smaller employers to get them transitioned to the new system. There will be a test environment available to employers during this transition. With this new system, we continue to receive positive feedback.