Frequently Asked Questions - FVRIP

Q1: What is the Faculty Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program?          

The university is offering a Faculty Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program to retirement-eligible faculty. This program provides faculty the option to retire now and receive enhanced pay and benefits for a defined time after retiring from the university.  Please refer to Q10 for more detail on who is eligible.

 The features of the program are as follows:

  • Plan Payment: A payment equal to 4% of his/her Base Pay per full years of Wright State service up to a maximum of 25 years, as of May 31, 2020, payable in three substantially equal installments; capped at $85,000.
  • Healthcare benefit: Receive a Retiree Health Reimbursement Account (RHRA) contribution from the university of $5,000 per year for three years to use toward eligible health expenses, such as healthcare premiums (after-tax) and paying for deductible, copayment and coinsurance for medical services, prescription drugs, dental and vision.
  • Maximum offer: The total amount of the offer (severance payment and healthcare benefit) is capped at $100,000.

The program will not affect any other benefits currently offered to retirees of the university.  For those who have an interest in continuing to receive healthcare coverage for themselves and/or eligible dependents under one of the Wright State plan offerings (PPO 80/20 Plan, HDHP Plan, Dental and/or Vision)[1], the university will provide a special subsidized COBRA rate that will cover 50% of the COBRA rate. The maximum allowable period is 36 months.

As is standard practice and pursuant to the university’s policy or collective bargaining agreements, employees will be paid for any unused, accrued sick time (with 10 years of state service), and/or accrued vacation time after their employment with the university ends. Details are explained in the Wright Path to Retirement brochure available by visiting www.wright.edu/hr.

Separation dates must be effective on either:

  • June 30, 2020, or
  • July 31, 2020, in rare instances due to critical summer teaching as approved by the Provost.  Refer to Q16.

Q2: When and how will my plan payments from the Faculty Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program begin?

Payments will be issued through University Payroll using the following installment schedule:

    • The first annual installment shall be payable no earlier than the January 1, 2021, and no later than January 31, 2021. 
    • The second annual installment shall be payable no later than the December 31, 2021.   
    • The third annual installment shall be payable no later than the December 31, 2022. 

Q3: Will taxes be taken from my plan payments?

Yes, applicable taxes will be withheld.

Q4: Will W-2s be prepared on my behalf by the university?

Yes.

Q5: What is a Retiree Health Reimbursement Account and what can it be used for?

A Retiree Health Reimbursement Account (RHRA) is a tax-advantaged account the university will establish for you. It will be administered by Business Plans, our flexible spending account administrator. Access to one third of your RHRA funds will be provided no later than the end of the first month immediately following the Eligible Retiree’s retirement from service.

You can use the money in the account to pay for eligible expenses you and your eligible dependents incur, such as healthcare premiums (after-tax) and paying for deductible, copayment and coinsurance for healthcare services, prescription drugs, dental and vision.

Any amount remaining in your RHRA at the end of each year will roll over and can be used in future years. At the end of the three-year period, you will have an additional three months to submit all reimbursements. RHRA funds remaining after three years and three months will be forfeited.

Eligible expenses are those incurred for healthcare (as defined in Code Section 213(d)) during a period of coverage by you or your eligible spouse or dependents.

For more information about the account, please contact HR.

Q6: Why did the university choose to provide $5,000 per year in the form of RHRA contributions rather than in cash?

Contributions made by the university to the RHRA are not included in your gross income; therefore, they are not taxable. This enables you to utilize the entire amount. Cash would be considered gross income and, therefore, reduced for taxes.

Q7: When I use funds in the RHRA, are they taxed?

Since you may only use the funds to pay for eligible expenses you and your eligible spouse or dependents incur for healthcare (as defined in Code Section 213(d)), they are not taxed.      

Q8: Are there fees associated with the RHRA?

Yes. There is a monthly administrative fee of $3.50 that will be deducted from your account balance at the beginning of each year.

Q10: Who is eligible for the program?

Faculty Members eligible to take their retirement benefit, reduced or unreduced, by June 30, 2020, are qualified for the Faculty Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program.

Retirement eligible is defined by the system or plan in which employee participates as follows:

  • The State Teachers Retirement System, or STRS, defines retirement eligible:
    • In the Defined Benefit Plan or the Combined Plan:  At any age with 33 years of service or age 65 with five years of service for an unreduced retirement benefit, and at any age with 30 years of service, age 55 with 28 years of service or age 60 with five years of service for a reduced retirement benefit.
    •  In the Defined Contribution Plan:  At age 50 with any service requirement.
  • The Alternative Retirement Plan, or ARP, defines retirement eligible as age 59½ with any service requirement.

Those not eligible include faculty who previously retired from the university; those who provided written retirement notice prior to January 27, 2020; adjunct faculty; STEM school faculty; and special contract faculty.

Eligibility for the program is open to the first 60 faculty who submit their application materials. Anyone thereafter will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis based upon evaluation of other faculty losses stemming from this endeavor and student enrollment in college departments.  

Q11: How many employees are eligible for the program?

According to the university’s records as of March 2, 2020, approximately 195 eligible faculty will be retirement eligible by the program separation date (June 30, 2020). However, the university does not have access to employees’ STRS or ARP records. If you think you are retirement eligible, please contact the STRS or ARP, respectively, and provide HR with documentation of your qualifying age and years of service.

Q12: How will I know if I’m eligible?

If you are eligible according to the university’s records, you will receive an announcement letter and a decision packet. If you do not receive a decision packet, then you are not eligible based on your age and service requirements on file with the university. If you do not receive a decision packet and think you are retirement eligible, please contact STRS or ARP, respectively, and provide HR with documentation of your qualifying age and years of service.

Those faculty not eligible include those who previously retired from the university; those who provided written retirement notice prior to January 27, 2020; adjunct faculty; STEM school faculty; and special contract faculty.  Faculty employees who are not retirement eligible as of June 30, 2020, are not eligible to elect to participate in the program.

Q13: How did the university determine the program offering?

The program design and eligibility were determined based upon a thoughtful process led by members of the President’s Cabinet, including the President, Provost/CAO, COO, General Counsel, and Associate Vice President & Chief HR Officer. In addition, the university received guidance from an external consulting firm, Mercer, with expertise in designing and assessing retirement programs and benefits.

Q14: Is the program voluntary?

Yes, the program is voluntary.

Q15: Will I be subject to involuntary reduction if I do not elect to participate in this program?

The process for determining employees eligible for the program is very different from the process for identifying those who may receive an involuntary reduction.  Employment status will not be affected because you choose not to participate in this program.

Q16: What are the key dates and deadlines for the program?

  • Campus announcement: By February 28 (prior to Spring Break)
  • Website available: By March 13
  • Decision packets mailed to eligible employees: By March 13
  • Election window opens: 8:00 a.m., March 16, 2020
  • Education sessions delivered virtually (details of the sessions will be communicated and available on HR website once finalized)
  • Election window closes: 4:30 p.m., April 29, 2020  2:00 p.m., May 27, 2020
  • Separation date for faculty employees*: June 30, 2020

* In some instances, an alternative separation date to what’s listed above may be permitted due to critical summer teaching needs. You may consult with your Chair/Dean of your college about a possible alternative separation date of July 31, 2020. Approval for or rejection of a proposed alternative separation date will be made by the Provost.

Q17: I may be interested in this program. Is there a deadline for making a decision?

The election window will be from Monday, March 16, 2020, through 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 May 27, 2020. Eligible faculty must submit their application materials electronically via File Locker (share with Monica Mack or Sylvia Brockman), in person or by registered mail to HR; HR must receive the materials no later than April 29, 2020, at 4:30 p.m May 27, 2020, at 2:00  p.m. Hours of operation for the Human Resources team are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office is located at 2455 Presidential Drive, Suite 221 across Colonel Glenn Hwy for in person deliveryFor registered mail, address to Wright State University, Human Resources, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Dayton, OH 45435.

Please note the first 60 faculty applications received will be accepted. Anyone thereafter will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis based upon evaluation of other faculty losses stemming from this endeavor and student enrollment in college departments.

Q18: Should I elect the program?

This is a personal decision that is up to each eligible faculty member. By law, the university can only provide factual information and cannot give any advice. Faculty are encouraged to seek the advice of their financial, tax, and/or legal advisors before making a final decision.

Q19: What if I elect to participate in the program then change my mind?

Before you submit your application materials, be certain of your decision. You have nine days from the end of the election period, April 30, 2020 through May 8, 2020 May 28, 2020 through June 5, 2020, to revoke your application.  If you wish to do so, a Request to Rescind Election Form is in your decision packet and available on the HR website and must be delivered electronically via File Locker (share with Monica Mack or Sylvia Brockman), in person, or by registered mail to HR.  Application materials must be received by HR no later than 4:30 p.m., May 8, 2020 2:00 p.m., June 5, 2020.

Q20: Will another similar program be offered in the future?

This is a one-time voluntary program designed to meet the university’s needs. There are no plans to offer another program at this time.

Q21: Once I retire from the university, what benefits and programs am I eligible for?

For more information about the university’s retiree programs, refer to the Wright Path to Retirement brochure available by visiting www.wright.edu/hr. In addition, visit the Wright State University Retirees’ Association website at http://www.wright.edu/retirees-association.

Q22: Am I still able to defer my sick leave payout and/or vacation payout, if applicable, into a Supplemental Retirement Account?

Yes. You can elect to defer any portion of your sick leave and/or vacation if applicable, to one of our Supplemental Retirement Accounts, 403(b) or 457(b), up to the annual IRS limits. However, to do so, you will need to set up your account with an approved provider from the list available on the HR website, and submit your payroll contribution amount using the Retirement Manager website located at https://www.myretirementmanager.com/myrm/login/login.aspx?wsu.

For instructions, please visit Retirement Manager Quick Reference Guide (page 6) located at  http://www.wright.edu/sites/www.wright.edu/files/page/attachments/rmrefg....

In addition, please be aware of the IRS-driven timeline for both the account setup and email:

  • For 457(b), per IRS, you must take action at least one month prior to your retirement date.
  • For 403(b), you have until the 8th day in the month of your retirement.

Q23: Am I permitted to return to work for the university if I elect to participate in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program?

No. You are not eligible to work for the university if you elect to participate in the program, including adjunct teaching.  Should adjunct teaching be of interest, please see the Retirement Incentive Program, Appendix J as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the AAUP-WSU if you are eligible for that program.

Q24: If I elect to participate in the program, can I collect unemployment?

Because election of this program is voluntary, participants are ineligible to apply or collect unemployment compensation benefits.

Q25: What do I need to do to elect my participation and declare my retirement?

We suggest these steps to elect your participation and prepare for your separation from the university:

  • Read the materials in your decision packet.
  • Review the 2020 Retiree Health Reimbursement Plan document located on the HR website.
  • Participate in virtual education session(s) to learn more and get your questions answered. Details of the sessions will be available on the HR website.
  • Contact STRS, OPERS, or ARP representatives for pertinent and relevant details on your retirement.
  • Consider seeking the advice of your financial, tax, and/or legal advisors before making a final decision. In addition, you may wish to contact the Social Security Administration to be fully aware of your Social Security retirement and Medicare benefits and when benefits begin.
  • Contact HR if you have any questions about the program.
  • Sign and return your hardcopy application materials electronically via File Locker (share with Monica Mack or Sylvia Brockman), in person, or by registered mail to HR. Application must be received by HR no later than the end of the election window, which is 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.
  • Finalize your retirement in a timely manner with STRS or ARP. The respective retirement system will notify HR.
  • Inform your Chair/Dean and work with your department to transition your responsibilities to another faculty member in advance of your separation date.

Q26: What do I need to do to decline my participation in the program?

Please notify HR of your decision in a timely manner prior to the end of the election window. If you do not provide HR with a response by the end of the election window, the university will assume you have elected to not participate in the program.

Q27: What is COBRA?

COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) allows you and/or a dependent covered under medical, dental, vision, and/or healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts benefits to continue coverage when it is lost due to selected qualifying status changes such as retiring under this Faculty Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program offering.

Coverage may be purchased for any or all persons on your policy at the time of termination.

If you elect to participate in the Faculty Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program, your eligibility for these COBRA benefits will not be affected.  The university will provide a special subsidized COBRA rate that will cover 50% of the COBRA rates. The maximum allowable period is 36 months.

Chard Snyder, WSU’s COBRA administrator will send enrollment information to you and/or your eligible dependents within 14 days after your retirement.

You and/or your dependents have 60 days after your retirement date or the date COBRA enrollment form was sent, whichever is later, to elect COBRA coverage and return the enrollment form to Chard Snyder.  You and/or your dependents have 45 days after making your election to send your premium payment to Chard Snyder.  Coverage will be reinstated to the first of the month following your retirement.

The earlier you make your COBRA payment, the faster your healthcare will be reinstated.

Chard Snyder is available to answer questions at (888)-993-4646, or feel free to direct questions to hr-benefits@wright.edu.

Q28: If I have questions, whom do I contact?

Wright State University HR

2455 Presidential Drive, Suite 221

 

Phone: (937) 775-2120

Email: HR-Benefits@wright.edu

Website: www.wright.edu/hr (click “Benefits” then “FVRIP”)

Wright State Retirees’ Association

Website: www.wright/edu/retirees-association

State Teachers Retirement System (STRS)

Phone: (888) 227-7877

Website: www.strsoh.org

Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS)

Phone: (800) 222-7377

Website: www.opers.org

Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP)

Website: www.wright.edu/human-resources/benefits/retirement/alternative-retiremen...

BusinessPlans (RHRA administrator)

Website:  https://www.mycafeteriaplan.com/

 

ChardSnyder (COBRA Administrator)

Phone: (888) 993-4646

Email: Cobra@chard-snyder.com

Website: https://www.chard-snyder.com/benefits/cobra-billing/

 

 


[1] Healthcare plans and COBRA premiums are subject to change annually and you will have the opportunity to change your election during open enrollment within applicable plans.