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News from RPEA

SB 850

9/1/22 – RPEA Bill carried by State Senator John Laird and sponsored by the Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA), SB 850 was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom this week.  This bill enhances the special death benefits payable to the surviving spouse and children of certain member categories, among them peace officer and safety member categories, whose deaths are determined to be industrial.  This bill, which has now been signed into law, requires that payment be made to the person having custody of the member’s child or children, if the member does not have a surviving spouse but otherwise meets the specified requirements, or if the spouse dies before each child of the member has died, married, or reached 22 years of age. 

Senator John Laird

PRESS RELEASE - SB 850

SB 1168

9/1/22 – RPEA Bill carried by Senator Cortese and sponsored by the Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA), SB 1168 raises the minimum statutory CalPERS postretirement benefit for local public agency employees from $500 to $2,000 to establish benefit parity and to address the substantial erosion in the value of the CalPERS postretirement lump sum death benefit which the state originally intended to help pay for the retiree’s funeral costs.

The legislature enacted the original $300 lump sum postretirement death benefit for all CalPERS annuitants in 1945. That amount adjusted for inflation would be $4,699 in 2022. Under current law, the benefit is set from $500 to $5,000 depending on the member’s classification and employer.

“The reality is that the current CalPERS postretirement death benefit amount for most public employees is far below the actual cost of a funeral, putting survivors in difficult positions upon the death of a loved ones,” says Senator Cortese. “SB 1168 will provide survivors with a little extra help during a hard time.”

Senator Dave Cortese

 PRESS RELEASE - SB 1168

Governor Signs RPEA Bill

9/1/22 – RPEA Bill carried by Senator Cortese and sponsored by the Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA), SB 1168 raises the minimum statutory CalPERS postretirement benefit for local public agency employees from $500 to $2,000 to establish benefit parity and to address the substantial erosion in the value of the CalPERS postretirement lump sum death benefit which the state originally intended to help pay for the retiree’s funeral costs.

The legislature enacted the original $300 lump sum postretirement death benefit for all CalPERS annuitants in 1945. That amount adjusted for inflation would be $4,699 in 2022. Under current law, the benefit is set from $500 to $5,000 depending on the member’s classification and employer.

“The reality is that the current CalPERS postretirement death benefit amount for most public employees is far below the actual cost of a funeral, putting survivors in difficult positions upon the death of a loved ones,” says Senator Cortese. “SB 1168 will provide survivors with a little extra help during a hard time.”

Senator Dave Cortese

News from CalPERS

CalPERS Long-Term Care Update

For the benefit of our members following is a link to the CalPERS website that will provide you with
an update on the CalPERS Long-Term Care Class Action Case. Additional information may be
obtained from that website at:
https://www.calpersltcclassaction.com/ or by calling (866) 217-
8056.

CalPERS Long-Term Care Class Action Settlement

Wedding, et al. v. California Public Employees Retirement System, et al.,
Case No. BC517444

“The attorneys for this matter have held a series of webinars to present information and answer
questions for Settlement Class Members. A link to the recordings of the webinars are available on the
CalPERS website.

Thank you to Chapter 004 (Sacramento Chapter) for the excellent three paragraph synopsis below.

The Settlement resolves a class action lawsuit for a subgroup of Class Members that included claims
that CalPERS breached the insurance contract between Plaintiffs and other individuals who
purchased a Long-Term Care Policy (either LTC1 or LTC2) who had automatic inflation protection
benefits by raising premiums 85% for these Class Members. This increase was announced by CalPERS
in 2013 and implemented in 2015 and 2016. CalPERS denies all liability to Settlement Class Members,
and asserts that it did not breach the terms of the contract of insurance and has entered into the
Settlement solely for purposes of resolving this dispute.

The Settlement provides different benefits to Settlement Class Members depending on whether they
are current policyholders who are not On Claim, current policyholders who are On Claim, or prior
policy holders who allowed their CalPERS Long-Term Care (“LTC”) Policy to lapse, exhausted their
benefits, or passed away. The various Settlement categories and benefits provided by the Settlement
for each category are outlined in the Class Notice and on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the
website.

Please note that Individual Settlement Award Forms were sent via mail and email (where available)
to all Settlement Class Members, and those forms identified the Initial Settlement Category into
which you fall and the amount of benefit that you may be entitled to receive from the Settlement. If
you did not get notice and believe you are part of this Settlement, please contact the Settlement
Administrator at 1-866-217-8056 (Toll-Free).”

Click on the link below to go directly to the CalPERS Long Term Care website.

https://www.calpersltcclassaction.com/
.

Update to CalPERS Long Term Care (LTC) Rate Increase:

We are now informed that offer letters continue to be sent out based on members’ premium payment schedule.  If members with this insurance have not received an offer letter yet, they can call 888 877-4934 to determine if their letter is yet to come.  All members with CalPERS LTC insurance should complete the coverage options by the due date in their letter.  ALL MEMBERS MUST CONTINUE TO PAY PREMIUMS TO STAY INSURED.  

Those members with an option to potentially receive a lumpsum settlement and terminate their CalPERS LTC insurance, should also complete and return the offer letter for their current LTC policy - the lumpsum option is not a certainty yet and members may not want to choose it when/if it becomes final.  ALL MEMBERS WITH CalPERS LTC INSURANCE MUST CONTINUE TO PAY PREMIUMS.  If the lumpsum settlement becomes a valid option and you accept a lumpsum settlement, that would terminate a member’s CalPERS LTC coverage.

Again, those members of the class action lawsuit who have been informed of the potential lumpsum settlement option, must express interest (to the class action attorneys) in this method of resolving their LTC coverage by September 22, 2021.  December 13, 2021 is the final date to elect the lumpsum option.  The lumpsum settlement option is not final until the Court declares it is a valid settlement which is expected in December, 2021.  The Class Action attorney’s website is: info@CalPERSClassAction.com - phone number is:  866 217-8056

Again, the phone number for CalPERS LTC insurance information is:  888 877-4934

Al Darby, Vice President

CalPERS Secret Lending Bill Fails Under Scrutiny by Senators

CalPERS Secret Lending Bill Fails Under Scrutiny by Senators

CalPERS Funded Status

Recent stock market gains have improved the funded status of CalPERS pension assets to approximately 78%.  This is a welcome improvement after several years of weaker funded levels.  Rating firms (Moodys, S&P and Fitch) consider public pensions healthy at 80% funded status.  Striving for 100% funding remains the goal of any pension fund.  

Al Darby, VP

CalPERS Long Term Care

Click here for updates on CalPERS Long Term Care Class Action.

Click here for information on CalPERS Long Term Care.

Pension Protection Resources

New Report on the Value of Public Pensions.  As we know, defined benefit pensions not only provide a secure retirement for our members; they also contribute to economic vitality though the stable income that seniors spend in our communities. Just out this week, NCPERS released a research paper, 2020 Unintended Consequences, that shows that public funds helped power the U.S. economy, generating $179.4 billion more in state and local government tax revenues than plan sponsors contributed to their plans.  This report built upon a 2018 report that documented state and national tax revenue generated by public pensions.  This is a great update and complement to the often-cited Pensionomics 2018 report, released by NIRS, which found that retirees’ spending of pension benefits in 2016 generated $1.2 trillion in total economic output, supporting some 7.5 million jobs across the U.S.

Our Pensions Are Not the Problem.  Not only are our pensions economic drivers, using progressive tax and revenue policy, states have tools to fund them. To highlight the connection between tax policy and pension funding, Good Jobs First released the second installment of its 13-state report, "Putting State Pension Costs in Context." This report found that Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, and Vermont together spend more than $17 billion per year in corporate development subsidies and tax breaks, which is about five times those states' yearly pension obligations. The first report, released in January 2020, looked at Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Wyoming and found that huge tax breaks and other subsidies to corporations also exceeded pension obligations in those states.

A Pension Defense Toolkit.  With concerns about pension defense on the rise, we want to share the Public Pension Defense Toolkit from NCPERS, attached, which includes legislative action checklists, state case studies and guidance for media work. Another helpful resource is a 2019 NIRS report, showing that shifting new employees from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution or cash balance plans actually resulted in increased taxpayer costs without any major improvements in funding. The report, Enduring Challenges: Examining the Experiences of States that Closed Pension Plans, draws from case studies in four states that closed their pension plans in favor of alternative plan designs: Alaska, Kentucky, Michigan, and West Virginia.

Additionally, the National Public Pension Coalition, which supports state level pension defense coalitions, has a wealth of pro-pension resources at the ready for states, including videos on pensions and pension opponents, and pension one-pagers and reports.

Resources

This page is designed to provide information to members regarding resources that are available in the community.  We will share programs that we learn about and hope that you will share with us, as well. If you are aware of a program that serves our members and would like to highlight it, please send the information into Headquarters.

The program RPEA has chosen for this inaugural column is the 211 Program. This is a nationwide program that our members can access no matter where they live. The best part is that the program is free.

 

211 Program


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 211 as the 3-digit number for information and referrals to social services and other assistance in 2000. The 211 service is provided by more than 200 local organizations that are committed to serving their communities. Many different kinds of organizations operate the 211 service, including United Ways, Goodwill, Community Action Partnerships, and local crisis centers. 

"211 provides unmatched, critical services — 211 is a vital service leveraged by millions of people across North America. Every day, clients contact 211 to access free and confidential crisis and emergency counseling, disaster assistance, food, health care and insurance assistance, stable housing and utilities payment assistance, employment services, veteran services and childcare and family services. 

"211 meets real needs in real time — In 2021, 211s in the US responded to more than 21 million requests for help and made more than 23 million connections to life-changing support and resources. There is no other network in the country that has a similar pulse on America’s needs.  211 tackles underlying root causes – 211 does more than “patch people through” to agencies. Instead, 211 specialists are trained to identify and address root causes of a client’s problem – and connect them with a wide range of available resources that meet all the underlying needs, not just the one that prompted the call, text or email. " Available across 96% of the US, 211 provides expert, caring help 24/7 in more than 180 languages — No matter the situation, the specialists at 211 listen, identify underlying problems, and connect people in need with resources and services in their community that improve their lives."

To get connected and get help, simply call 211 or search 211.org. 

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