Former employees to receive pension cash out figures

BRAINTREE — About 2,000 former local Church employees will be receiving a letter in the coming week notifying them of the amount they can receive if they cash out of the archdiocese’s Lay Pension Plan.

The cash out option was offered as part of the plan to revitalize the fund which was severely impacted by the economic downturn that began in 2008.

Carol Gustavson, the archdiocese’s executive director for human resources, benefits and administration, said her office is currently sending information outlining the options to eligible former employees of various Catholic entities of the Archdiocese of Boston including the chancery, parishes and schools with vested benefits.

Active employees over 55, who will also have the option of cashing out their pension, are expected to receive their personalized information this fall.

Options include immediately cashing out of the archdiocese’s pension fund by taking accrued benefits in one lump sum, an early annuity paid monthly or simply waiting until retirement age to collect benefits.

The archdiocese announced changes to its retirement benefit system last year, but the plan is just now able to provide each eligible former employee with his or her specific financial information.

Those former employees will have until April 30 to make this one-time, optional decision.

The lump sum would equal the amount the employee has now accrued reduced according to the pension plan’s 2010 funded status, and the monthly annuity plan for former employees under age 55 would reflect early payout reductions and funded status.

Vested former employees age 55 or over will keep their option for monthly annuity payments reduced for early payout before age 65. However, these payments will not be reduced by the plan’s funded status.

While nothing will happen to the existing accrued benefit for former employees who remain in the pension fund, trustees cannot guarantee full-value payments for one’s entire life expectancy.

However, Gustavson said, “I think we are committed to meet our obligations. That’s a firm commitment.”

Fund trustees opted to freeze the plan last year because they deemed employer contributions and market performance could not guarantee to bridge the funding gap in future years.

Recent economic forecasts have projected further market volatility and “modest investment returns,” for the plan Gustavson said.

“Any time you’re in a defined benefit plan you need to have some or all of your assets in investment markets,” Gustavson said.

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Firms face “crippling” death in service liabilities as A-Day expires

Businesses are risking “huge” uninsured liabilities by failing to put in place limits on the amount of death in service benefit they will pay, before old rules governing this expire in April, according to GRiD.
The group risk trade body’s survey of 500 employers shows that a third are “undecided” about what action to take when pre A-Day rules are removed on 6th April this year and 48% plan to take no action.

Under the old rules, employers paid a lump sum death benefit of four times the employee’s salary, with an earnings cap of ?123,600 used to set a further limit on the salary that could be used to calculate benefits. However, A-Day rules, introduced in 2006, removed the earnings cap and set a lifetime allowance of ?1.8m on the maximum lump sum payable. Employers have enjoyed a five year period in which to transition to the new rules but this is set to expire.

Just 9.8% of the employers surveyed by GRiD will put a salary cap back into their scheme from this April, while 9.2% plan to remove the earnings cap. Within companies that plan to take no action, the percentage gets smaller with larger companies.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “It’s crucial for the relevant decision makers within companies to take action before the cut off date. The potential uninsured liabilities for dependants’ death in service pensions are even greater as they fall outside of the lifetime allowance and thus will be completely unconstrained unless action is taken. Group risk specialists can advise on the best action to take in time for the deadline.”
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Legal Lump Sum Debt Repayment – What New Laws Mean For the Debt Settlement Industry

If you have the perception that debt settlement consultants are wizards who can erase your dues magically, you need to change it and think in a realistic manner. Most loan takers are facing a common problem. It is very hard to predict the legitimacy of a settlement firm. How do you ensure that you are not interacting with a counterfeiter? The new settlement principles will provide some adequate assistance.

What is legal lump sum debt repayment and what are its beneficial points. Legal lump sum debt repayment has both pros and cons. For instance, you have to tolerate pending payables for a shorter time period. Thinking about unpaid liabilities gives shivers. Loan takers get highly frustrated when collection agents visit them at odd hours without permission. You can get rid of your dues quickly by making a legal lump sum debt repayment.

As I mentioned before, the debt settlement industry has both positive and negative points. However, the recent rules have minimized the negative effect to a certain extent. How is that possible? You can look at the following factors for a better understanding.

How are these new rules different from the old ones? How are they more beneficial for the disturbed American debtors? Now, a company cannot demand any advance payments. You don’t even have to pay a single dollar before the firm produces desirable results. Someone illegal firms are still trying to extract upfront money from the customers. Most of them are counterfeiters. However, some of these firms are new and have not established themselves completely. As a credit card holder who wants to improve his monetary conditions, you should think intelligently and ignore these firms.
You will notice that a lot of relief firms are leaving the market. This is due to updated settlement principles. Now, a company needs to have sufficient monetary resources to survive. Initially, a lot of amateur firms were selling relief services. These services were cheap but did not have a very high level of quality. In addition to that, new companies do not have enough financial resources. Hence, they demand money from the customer before they start working on his case. This option does not exist now. A relief firm cannot demand upfront payments from a debtor. Presently, you will only find experienced organizations.

For successful legal lump sum debt repayment, hire a firm which has a good track chart. You can go online and look at some of the firms. You don’t need to spend so much time because the best firms work with settlement networks. Hence, go online and search for the nearest liability reduction network. This is easiest way to make a successful legal lump sum debt repayment.

Getting out of debt through a debt settlement process is currently very popular but you need to know where to locate the best performing programs in order to get the best deals.

Debt settlement is a legitimate alternative to filing bankruptcy. If a consumer has over $10k in unsecured debt and is currently experiencing a financial hardship then debt settlement can make financial sense. To find legitimate debt settlement companies in your state that have proven track records of settling consumer debts then check out the following link:

Free Debt Advice( )Or Call – 877-853-6466

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Chandler police, fire seek retirement following pension problems

The possible loss of a popular pension plan has prompted 34 Chandler public safety officers to inquire about early retirement since Jan. 1, and nine have already opted to retire, officials said Thursday.

As the Arizona Legislature considers eliminating the program for public safety officers, many Chandler and Tempe police and fire officials are wondering the same thing: Should they retire now before new pension legislation is approved and goes into effect?

“Anybody who has 20 years or more in the department is considering (it),” said Chandler Sgt. Joe Favazzo, a police spokesman. “It is definitely something I am looking at.”

In Chandler, 24 police officers and nine firefighters have looked into retiring, said Stacie Finkelstein, employee services supervisor. That is far more than usual, officials said.

Tempe hasn’t had a large bump in requests from public safety employees yet, but “we have heard that we may see an influx of employees who elect the DROP (deferred retirement option package),” said Jon O’Connor, Tempe’s human resources deputy director.

DROP allows officers with 20 or more years on the force to retire, then work for a maximum of five more years.

Instead of receiving a weekly pension check during that period, the pension dollars are invested and earn interest. The employee continues to receive regular paychecks.

When the employee leaves for good, he or she is awarded a sizeable lump sum of five-years’ worth of pension dollars. In addition, retirees draw pension checks until death. Average DROP annual pension benefits have risen to $44,025.

Arizona legislators are taking aim at pension reform following an investigation by The Arizona Republic. The probe into six public pension plans in Arizona revealed that over the past 10 years, total costs soared 448 percent, to $1.39 billion in 2009.

In 2007, DROP benefits totaled $151.9 million, a 566 percent increase from the previous year, when $22.8 million was paid. Many of the first participants in the program collected payouts in 2007 after participating for the maximum five years.

The public safety pension trust is poorly funded at only 65.8 percent. Union leaders blame faulty stock investments, the federal government’s refusal to bail out pension funds and mismanagement.

Others suggest the large lump sum payments gut the system. When an employee enters DROP, neither he nor the employer contribute any more to the pension fund.

The House bill discussed Thursday in committee would eliminate DROP, among

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Redeployment vs golden handshake

Air Malta will shed half its workforce to be able to operate profitably and the government is in discussions to absorb the redundant employees within the public service. What is best for the country? Matthew Xuereb gets expert views on whether redeployment or giving a lump sum payment to laid off workers is the way forward.

Redeploying redundant Air Malta employees within the public service does not make economic or financial sense because it will cost the country more than a simple golden handshake, economist Karm Farrugia believes.

This opinion is not shared by financial analyst John Cassar White who insists the country is better off with more active workers because that is more beneficial to the economy.

The differing opinions follow in the wake of government plans to slash the national airline’s 1,200-strong workforce by half in the hope Air Malta will become economically stable and operate profitably.

Although talks are still under way, the government’s intentions are clear and the unions involved in discussing the company’s restructuring programme have already been informed.

The national carrier experienced severe losses over the past two years and the prospects for this financial year, which ends in March, look bleak.

Late last year, the European Commission gave the government the go-ahead to pump ?52 million in emergency aid into the airline. Approval was given on condition the airline was restructured.

The restructuring plan is at “an advanced stage” and the government has embarked on one-to-one meetings with union representatives to discuss the airline’s future in more detail. Meetings were held with the General Workers’ Union and the unions representing cabin crew, pilots and engineers.

Mr Farrugia believes it “made more economic and financial sense” to give redundant workers a golden handshake and get on with the airline’s restructuring than “absorb them into a public service that does not need them”.

“Redeployment within the public sector takes place every year with workers moved from one government department to another. But here you will be transferring excess baggage from Air Malta to the government. I would much prefer a payout as these workers will pro­bably end up being unproductive and inefficient and cost taxpayers a lot of money,” he said.

Mr Farrugia said that, if redundant employees were redeployed as planned, they would simply be transferring “unutilised workers from one section to another”.

“If there was proof the public sector was yearning for more people, then I would understand it. But our public sector is bulging at the seams. Only hospitals have staff shortages, especially nurses. If redeployed, these people will cost the country more,” he said.

He referred to the payouts to former Malta Shipyards Limited employees when the company was being downsized to be more attractive to possible investors when it was being privatised.

In September 2008, the government had offered lump sum settlements to the shipyard’s 1,627-strong workforce at a cost to public coffers of ?58 million. At the time, the government had offered them a golden handshake or alternative employment with Industrial Projects and Services Ltd. IPSL is a public company that absorbed workers from the restructuring of Malta Drydocks and Malta Shipbuilding prior to EU membership. These workers perform services in the public sector, such as embellishment works for local councils.

“Redeployment is not good economics and not good financing. Economically speaking, it pays more to offer them a payout than a job for life with the public service which does not need them,” Mr Farrugia said.

But Mr Cassar White disag-reed saying redeployment was “definitely better” for the economy.

“Our economy needs more active workers. A good number of the people who will be redundant are in their 40s or early 50s, so it’s going to be practically impossible for them to find a job. Although it would mean a great strain on taxpayers’ money, it makes more sense to redeploy.”

He insisted his argument was purely of an economic nature, although the social aspect should also be taken into account.

Mr Cassar White argued for a skills matching exercise for the abilities of redundant workers to fit the needs of the different departments where they would be redeployed. “We have to maximise their output because the economy needs more people in employment.”

Moreover, he said the government should launch incentives for employers in the private sector to take on former Air Malta workers.

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