PFRS Boost & NJ Active Update – December, 2020

Excerpt:

This is a good time to review who will be impacted as state pension data on active participants in the retirement system has just been updated through December, 2020. There are no dates of birth so it is impossible to get an accurate count as some of those members who have between 18 and 25 years of service may already be age 55 but here is my cost estimate anyway.

All PFRS members: 40,532 with average salary of $96,364

Already with 25 years of service: 3,252 with average salary of $143,156

18 to 25 years of service: 10,543 with average salary of $118,750

If half of those eligible decide to retiree on their 50% pension for an extra 3.5 years that would come to an extra billion dollars coming out of the retirement system which is about double what the OLS estimated as the maximum.

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 2 March 2021

Publication Site: Burypensions

Pension Relief Plan in COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

Excerpt:

How much of a single lump sum? Would this be a forgiven loan? Would it be a reward for the worst funders? Could NFL players share in the bailout if they rejigger some assumptions?

Only clues I could find were form the Congressional Research Service (with my emphasis):

Section 9704 would establish a fund within the PBGC and appropriate amounts as necessary to provide special financial assistance to certain multiemployer DB plans. The special financial assistance would not have to be repaid.

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 1 March 2021

Publication Site: Burypensions

NJ To Make “Full” Pension Payment

Excerpt:

That $6.4 billion is what the actuaries hired by New Jersey for the specific purpose of providing absurdly low contribution amounts came out with for the 7/1/21 to 6/30/22 plan year. It includes a massive amortization portion to make up for decades of absurdly low contribution amounts (some of which were not even deposited). 

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 22 February 2021

Publication Site: Burypensions

EPPRA Bailout Bill Advances

Excerpt:

According to an email blast from the Road Carriers 707 Pension Fund on Thursday..

the House Ways and Means Committee reported out (passed) the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act with only technical amendments. The Bill now moves onto the Budget Committee and the Rules Committee. It is expected to move through these Committees without incident and onto a vote on the House floor. As we reported yesterday this Bill is part of a larger Covid Relief Bill expected to be voted on in mid March in the Senate after House passage.

There was a lot of discussion about workers deserving a bailout as they did nothing wrong (trusting politicians, actuaries, and union heads notwithstanding) but what struck me was the perspicacity of Congressman Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska):

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 13 February 2021

Publication Site: Burypensions

Mulitemployer Bailout Eligibility

Excerpt:

It was reported that The Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021, to be included in some covid-relief bill, would create a special financial assistance program under which cash payments would be made by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to financially troubled multiemployer pension plans so they could continue paying retirees’ benefits. The money would be provided to PBGC through a general Treasury transfer. Multiemployer pension plans eligible for the program would include plans in critical and declining status, and plans with significant underfunding that have more retirees than active workers in any plan year beginning in 2020 through 2022. Additionally, plans that have suspended benefits and certain plans that have already become insolvent would also be eligible.

So how many plans would that be? Based on the last full year of data (2018) from the DOL website here is how it breaks down.

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 11 February 2021

Publication Site: Burypensions

NJ Retirees – Politicians

Excerpt:

Public servants often spend multiples of what their salaries will be in the jobs they seek in order to get those jobs since they have other incentives. One of those is likely the pension, even for part time employment, that comes with the job.

Though job-hopping makes it impossible to finger all the mayors or council people who game the system, here are some whose last employer was the Office of the Governor, Senate, or General Assembly who, based on data on retirees in the New Jersey Retirement System taken from the the state pension website are getting over $50,000 annually – along with some other familiar names.

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Publication Site: Burypensions

Bipartisan Agreement AKA Multiemployer Pension Bailout

Excerpt:

Two years ago retired coal miners traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby lawmakers to put in place a federal safety net in case the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) pension fund fails. Coal plant closures and company bankruptcies have sent the pension fund to the edge of collapse. In October, 2019 Murray Energy, the last major company propping up the dwindling fund, also went bankrupt and the prediction was insolvency in FY23.

From their 5500 form for the year ended 6/30/19 confirming the timeline.

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 2 February 2021

Publication Site: Burypensions

NJ Pensions Funding WC Insurers

Excerpt:

The New Jersey State Comptroller released a report examining a practice within the state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) that allows state, school and local government employees injured on the job to seek weekly benefits, a lump sum settlement or continuing medical coverage, in addition to an accidental disability pension.

As deleterious as this practice may be for the state pension fund, eliminating it will only cost taxpayers more when the bigger picture is considered.

The DWC’s policies encourage workers’ compensation petitioners to settle claims that undermine New Jersey’s pension funds, provide windfalls to workers’ compensation insurance providers, including joint insurance funds and private insurance companies, and provide medical monitoring and coverage to employees without evaluating whether these benefits are justified by the nature of the injury. 

Author: John Bury

Publication Date: 4 February 2021

Publication Site: Burypensions

NJ Retirees – Politicians

Excerpt:

Public servants often spend multiples of what their salaries will be in the jobs they seek in order to get those jobs since they have other incentives. One of those is likely the pension, even for part time employment, that comes with the job.

Though job-hopping makes it impossible to finger all the mayors or council people who game the system, here are some whose last employer was the Office of the Governor, Senate, or General Assembly who, based on data on retirees in the New Jersey Retirement System taken from the the state pension website are getting over $50,000 annually – along with some other familiar names.

Author: John Bury

Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Publication Site: burypensions