UHPA To Challenge “ERS” Pension Calculation
Under the current State of Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System, faculty members who receive compensation for teaching classes for summer session or the extension program (Outreach College) and from grants or special projects conducted during “non-duty period” times do not have those salaries used in the calculation of the defined benefit pension. We believe that those salary payments should be included in determining a faculty member’s “high three” salaries for the purpose of the retirement pension calculation.
UHPA will begin by petitioning the ERS to have corrections made in the calculation of individual retirement benefits that did not include summer, extension, or grant compensation. We are seeking faculty members who would fall in the following groups.
a) UHPA unit members recently retired (with retirement already computed), and unit members about to retire (with an active interest in how much retirement is available),
b) current unit members who did earn or are earning salaries during the summer or other off duty periods, from either Summer Sessions, extension teaching, or grants and special projects that created additional income beyond base salary.
As to both groups a) and b), we seek, 1) those who remained in the original ERS contributory plan and 2) those who moved or were hired into the non-contributory plan.
The petitioners, of course, would need to be able to show salary earnings during the summer or non-duty over a number of years. This can be done with the UH Personnel form, the annual PNF, and personal tax records including W-2s.
The facts of an individual’s case would have to demonstrate that including these “overload” salaries would make a difference in the calculation of their ERS pension.
Persons who have been incorrectly denied ERS payments may collect interest on amounts not correctly finalized 6 months after retirement. HRS 88-74.5.
If you are willing to be a named participant in the petition, please contact UHPA’s attorney, T. Anthony Gill, at the Gill & Zukeran firm. Their general email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.