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Online retirement becomes available to VRS members in 2021 through a gradual rollout by employer. 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. Employers should continue to provide the normal level of counseling to employees as they prepare to retire, especially regarding individual employer benefits.
Initially, online retirement will not be available to all members. Exceptions include but are not limited to those retiring with:
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.
The Application for Service Retirement (VRS-5)remains available on the VRS website during the transition to online retirement for members who need it. Those retiring on disability will continue to use the Application for Disability Retirement (VRS-6)and associated forms.
Employers continue to certify all retirements through myVRS Navigator, with no changes to this online process that began in 2019. To certify retirements, 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.
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.
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.
Unless the member is purchasing service or adding service credit by converting sick leave or disability credits, 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.
Employers must certify all pending retirements before confirming the Snapshot. If a pending retirement notice arrives after you've generated your monthly snapshot (a July 1 retirement after the June snapshot has been generated, for example), be sure to certify the retirement and separate the member by month-end.
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.
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.
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.
Members and retirees soon will have access to additional self-service features in myVRS.
VRS members and retirees will gain access to update beneficiaries online instead of submitting the Designation of Beneficiary (VRS-2)paper form. This function will include beneficiaries for the VRS defined benefit member account and group life insurance benefits. Members with defined contribution accounts will continue to update beneficiaries directly through their defined contribution account record keeper.
Retirees will have a simple new way to set up direct deposit or notify VRS when they change financial institutions or bank accounts and need to redirect their monthly benefit payment. The online process for payment destination will replace the Authorization for Direct Deposit of Monthly Benefit (VRS-57).
Instead of filling out and mailing the Request for Health Insurance Credit (VRS-45), retirees eligible for the health insurance credit will simply 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 will soon have access to view their survivor benefits using their personal myVRS account.