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Current COVID-19 info here

OSERS pension info here

LB 31 report on transfer of OSERS to NPERS here

OEA-R position on LB 31 here

 

Welcome to the OEA-Retired website where you will find info regarding the organization as well as the ability to stay in touch with fellow members.


To ensure you receive important messages from this web site, as well as messages sent directly to you from other members, it's important you whitelist the email address (noreply@classcreator.net)  (that's a .net, not a .com) as well as (noreply@oearetired.org).

What is whitelisting?  Whitelisting simply means you are telling your email program to accept all emails coming from this web site and NOT to reject them or put them in the spam/trash folder.  The technique for whitelisting varies by email program, but generally you will see the term "whitelist", "Approved Senders List", "Safe List" or "Safe Sender's List".  This is where you want to be sure you have added the email addresses (noreply@classcreator.net) and (noreply@oearetired.org).

Whitelisting (noreply@classcreator.net) and (noreply@oearetired.org) is the single most important thing you can do to ensure that you don't miss anything.


 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Action Needed Now!

LB 147 (Omnibus Bill) has moved from Select File to Final Reading as of May 12, 2021.  The legislature will not be in session Friday, May 14th and Monday, May 17th.

There is an emergency clause attached to the bill meaning it will require 33 votes to invoke the emergency clause and the bill to take effect immediately on being signed by the governor.  We need you to contact your state senator (contact info here) and ask him or her to vote NO on final reading for LB 147, or vote "present".

It passes with 25 votes and goes to the Governor to veto or sign.  33 votes are needed to override the Governor and take effect immediately if it is vetoed.  We don't want it to take effect immediately.  We want the current OSERS board to have enough time to help in the transition if it gets signed.

 

Possible Talking Points

* OSERS is in the process of having a compliance audit done and the compliance audit will not be completed until November 2021 at the earliest.  Delaying the transition process will allow time to complete the audit and make any necessary adjustments to the plan.

* A second audit of OSERS is called for once the compliance audit is finished, one to be done by the State Auditor.  Again, that will take time, and delaying the transition process will allow time for that audit to be completed before any transition is completed.

* LB 147 calls for a brand-new set of trustees to be appointed July 1, 2021 by the OPS School Board during the transition period.  It makes no sense to have brand new trustees govern the retirement system for three years, and then dissolve that board completely.  The new trustees will never have time to fully understand the retirement system before they are "out of a job!"  It would be wiser to have the current OSERS trustees manage any transition, if such a transition is in fact going to occur.

* The transition of management to the state retirement systems calls for up to eight new employees for the state system -- we currently have just four employees for OSERS.  The additional personnel expenses will be charged to the OSERS trust fund.  It is more economical to keep our current staff running what is one of the most efficient operations in the nation!

* When the transition is complete (assuming the bill passes) there will no longer be an Omaha office for our retirees to visit and get retirement counseling.  Our members have experienced an exceedingly high level of customer service, service that will end if the management is transferred to Lincoln.  Ask for an Omaha office for the state retirement system so that all school districts in this part of the state will have access to the same high level of customer service that OSERS members now receive.

* It is not clear that there will be anyone on the state retirement staff who will completely understand the unique benefit structure of OSERS during the transition, or after the transition is complete.  That creates problems in terms of both retirement counseling and benefit management.  It would be wise to have some assurance that the current OSERS staff members at least have guarantees of jobs if the transition is to occur.  While there are ways to accomplish staff retention, there are none in the bill.  Ask for provisions that will give incentives for current OSERS staff to remain with the plan if a transition is to occur.

* All these things take time!  We need to delay passage of LB 147 until a more complete transition plan that addresses these concerns can be developed!

 

We need your support now to STOP LB 147 with the emergency clause!

Ask your Senator to vote "NO" on LB 147, or vote "present, but not voting" on final reading for LB 147.  State Senator contact info here.

 

Walta Sue Dodd, OEA-r President


 

Blue Cross Class Action Lawsuit information

May 14, 2021

OEA-Retired recently became aware that a notice had been sent to members regarding a class-action settlement with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.  The notice has been sent to anyone who was insured by a Blue Cross plan by any of the 36 member companies of Blue Cross across the country during the claim period, which began February 1, 2008.  The communication may have been by email or US mail.

 

A summary of the class-action settlement details can be found at this link:

April 6, 2021 H&W Compliance Quarterly.

 

Additional resources and contact information can be found at these links:

• FAQs can be found on the settlement website:  www.BCBSsettlement.com

• The Claim Administrator’s email address is:   info@BCBSsettlement.com

 

The $2.7 billion settlement must be approved by the various Blue Cross member companies and the courts.  The settlement will be a prolonged process.  OEA-Retired members are encouraged to consult the websites for complete information and details on how to be included in the settlement.


 

LB 64 UPDATE

Senator Brett Lindstrom of Omaha introduced LB 64, which would eliminate the state taxation of Social Security benefits over a five-year time period.  The bill advanced to the full legislature for consideration with a Revenue Committee amendment that extends the phase-out period to ten years.  On April 26, LB 64 was advanced to Select File (second reading) by a vote of 47-0. 

Several senators expressed concern at the ultimate loss of revenue that LB 64 would produce, and asked that the bill be pared back a bit to further reduce the impact on state revenues.  In consideration of that concern, the time frame to eliminate state taxation of Social Security was extended from five years to ten by the Revenue Committee amendment.  The Fiscal Note for LB 64 showed a projected loss in revenue of $138 million over ten years, or roughly $14 million per year.  Senator Lindstrom indicated that he was open to amending the bill to further lessen the fiscal impact when the bill is considered for second reading.  The state tax forecasting board will have a new projection of future revenue soon.  It will take a few days to estimate the impact of any further modifications of LB 64.

OEA-Retired members are encouraged to contact Sen. Lindstrom and their home district senator expressing their feelings on taxation of Social Security.  It is useful to note that Social Security benefits are almost entirely spent in the communities where the recipients live, and that a lower tax rate on the benefit means more disposable income for the retiree – hence more spending (and higher sales tax revenues) as well as more economic impact on the community.

Senators can be emailed by using their first initial followed by their last name, and the extension, @leg.ne.gov

For example, Sen. Brett Lindstrom’s email address is blindstrom@leg.ne.gov

 

Roger Rea

 

P.S. State Senator info here


 

Do you want to keep an Omaha office for OSERS?

It’s time for action!

Dear OEA-Retired members:

Retirees know the value of having an office nearby that offers retirement counseling year-round.  If legislation being considered by the legislature is passed into law, that will change dramatically!

LB 147 will make several significant changes in the way that the Omaha School Employees’ Retirement System, OSERS, functions.  The Legislative Retirement Committee had hearings on four bills that would impact OSERS, and amended all of them into LB 147. LB 147 advanced to the full Legislature on April 12.

LB 147 has these provisions that impact OSERS:

• Requires that OSERS have an IRS compliance audit conducted by an outside firm

• Clarifies that new retirees may only substitute teach for a maximum of 8 days per month during their first 180 days of retirement

• Closes the Omaha OSERS office and transfers the management and governance of OSERS to the state retirement systems in Lincoln by 2024

• Dissolves the current OSERS board on July 1, 2021, and replaces it with a new board to be appointed entirely by the OPS Board of Education

If LB 147 is passed, the Omaha OSERS office will be closed by 2024 and all retirement administration will be transferred to Lincoln.  When OSERS is fully transferred to the state retirement systems, OSERS members will have one trustee representative on the Public Employee Retirement Board (which governs all of the retirement systems administered by the state) who will be appointed by the Governor.

OEA-Retired has learned that the Speaker of the Legislature has scheduled floor debate on LB 147 for Friday, April 23.  OEA-Retired members are encouraged to contact their state senator to express support for maintaining an Omaha office for our retirement system.  The senators and their legislative districts for Douglas and Sarpy counties are:  Robert Clements (2); Carol Blood (3); Robert Hilkemann (4); Mike McDonnell (5); Machaela Cavanaugh (6); Tony Vargas (7); Megan Hunt (8); John Cavanaugh (9); Wendy DeBoer (10); Terrell McKinney (11); Steve Lathrop (12); Justin Wayne (13); John Arch (14); Brett Lindstrom (18); John McCollister (20); Rich Pahls (31); Lou Ann Linehan (39); Rita Sanders (45); and Jen Day (49).  To contact your senator by email, use the first initial of their first name followed by their last name, and the extension @leg.ne.gov.  For example, the email address for Sen. Hilkemann is rhilkemann@leg.ne.gov.

Thank you for your support for our retirement system.

 

Sincerely,

Walta Sue Dodd, OEA-Retired President

 

P.S. State Senator info here