Advancements in Member Service
Online retirement is available to many VRS members. This major milestone in member service has benefited from employer perspectives and ideas shared through roundtables and focus groups as well as usability testing with members.
VRS invites retiring members to log in to their myVRS accounts and explore the Retirement Planning section. Members eligible to retire using the online system will see the Apply Now button when they select Apply for Retirement in the Manage My Benefits drop-down menu. If they do not see the button, they will see a message that VRS cannot accept their online application at this time and they can submit a paper application directly to VRS. Employers should continue to provide the normal level of counseling to employees as they prepare to retire, especially regarding individual employer benefits and policies related to retirement.
Not Open to All Members
Online retirement is not currently available to all members. Exceptions include but are not limited to those retiring with:
- Hazardous duty service.
- Judicial service.
- Long-term disability in their record or retiring on disability.
- Approved Domestic Relations Orders (ADRO) on file.
- Ongoing purchase of prior service agreements.
These members are welcome to explore the Retirement Planning section of myVRS. However, they will see a message letting them know VRS cannot accept their online application at this time. They should submit a paper application directly to VRS.
Paper Forms Available
The Application for Service Retirement (VRS-5) remains available on the VRS website for members who need it. Those retiring on disability should continue to use the Application for Disability Retirement (VRS-6) and associated forms.
Employers certify all retirements through myVRS Navigator. Go to the Organization menu option and select Retirement Certification. You should certify all pending retirements as you receive them, even if the retirement is dated for a future month.
Pending and VRS-approved Retirements
A screen in myVRS Navigator displays all retirements awaiting employer certification. A bulk certification feature speeds the process if you have multiple retirements.
Watch for secure messages about certifying retirements throughout the month (notices automatically generate when VRS receives the member's application). VRS will send the same secure message to the Person Account Processor, Employment Processor and Security Administrator. Any of these roles can certify the retirement.
Purchases of Service or Sick Leave and Disability Credit Conversion
If the member requests to purchase service or to convert sick leave or disability credits to service credit , a secure message will alert you to counsel the member on the next steps to complete the purchase or convert credits. VRS must receive payment for service purchases on or before the last day a member works. Do not separate the employee until VRS receives payment. Likewise, if you have an employer policy in place to pay for unused sick leave or disability credits, you should convert the leave or credits into service credit before the employee’s last day.
Note If your organization does not offer sick leave or disability credit conversion, make employees aware that this benefit does not apply.
Unless the member is purchasing service or adding service credit by converting sick leave or disability credits (if applicable), you should separate the member and certify the retirement as soon as you receive a secure message from VRS indicating the retirement application has been entered. Do not enter a future separation date for those purchasing service.
You must certify all pending retirements before confirming the monthly snapshot (contribution confirmation). If a pending retirement notice arrives after you’ve confirmed your snapshot (a July 1 retirement after the June snapshot has been confirmed, for example), be sure to certify the retirement and separate the member by month-end.
Reports and Data
Within myVRS Navigator's Report Repository, search for the Employer Retirement Report, which will show upcoming retirements and indicate which are certified and which require certification.
- By entering a date range, you can also view retirements up to 12 months in the past.
- Retirement details will be viewable on the member's consolidated view page. However, once you separate the employee and confirm the snapshot, you no longer can access the retiree’s record in myVRS Navigator.
- The employer does not have a view into the member's online application. The member can print the application before submitting it; however, once submitted the online application cannot be printed.
Online Retirement Features
Members who retire online in myVRS will find pre-retirement counseling information, including videos and step-by-step guidance at key decision points. The online application experience is designed to be intuitive and self-service. The member also may contact VRS for assistance at any point.
Online Submission Process
- Members eligible to retire may apply online up to 120 days before their retirement date. VRS encourages early submissions to allow for processing time. Applying within fewer than 60 days of the retirement date may delay the first benefit payment. In such cases, the benefit would be paid retroactively to the retirement date.
- Before starting the online application, members should review the pre-retirement counseling pages and gather information they will need (e.g., bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit; health insurance premiums paid if applying for the health insurance credit; survivor information if choosing the Survivor Option and identification information for life insurance beneficiaries). The health insurance credit can be claimed after retirement if the member does not have the necessary information at hand. However, members must certify that they are postponing applying for the health insurance credit.
- Members who are in an ongoing purchase of service agreement cannot apply for retirement online. If the member plans to make a lump-sum purchase of service, payment must arrive at VRS on or before the last day the member works.At any point before submission, the member can stop, save, print or cancel the online application.
- Once the application is submitted electronically, no changes can be made online nor can the application be printed at that point. Any changes will require contacting VRS.
- Upon submission, the member will receive a confirmation email and can follow the status of the submitted application via the Pending Transactions page in myVRS.
Pro tip Retiring members should update their myVRS user profile with a home email address and ensure other contact information is current. Their myVRS member account will transition to a retiree account after first benefit payment is issued. The retiree can use their myVRS account to change tax withholding and print income verification and tax documents, among other features.
Member Features in myVRS
Members and retirees have access to several self-service features in myVRS. By registering and then logging in to myVRS, they can readily review account information and easily maintain certain information including:
Members and retirees can update beneficiaries online for their VRS defined benefit member account and group life insurance benefits. Hybrid retirement plan members and other members with defined contribution accounts update beneficiaries directly through their defined contribution account record keeper.
Payment Destination Maintenance
Retirees can log in to myVRS to set up direct deposit or notify VRS when they change financial institutions or bank accounts and need to redirect their monthly benefit payment.
Health Insurance Credit Maintenance
Instead of filling out and mailing a paper form, retirees eligible for the health insurance credit can go online to claim the credit, report insurance premium changes or make other adjustments.
Members or retirees who are receiving survivor benefits based on another VRS member's account have access to view their survivor benefits using their personal myVRS account.
Optional Group Life Insurance
If you offer this benefit, eligible members can access and maintain optional group life insurance coverage with Securian Financial, the insurer for the VRS Group Life Insurance Program. To get started, the member will log in to myVRS, select Life Insurance under the My History tab and select the Visit Securian button. Members can purchase coverage for themselves as well as for a spouse and dependent children. Once enrolled, they can increase, decrease or cancel coverage online through myVRS.