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SB 897 and Retirement Data Verification: Frequently Asked Questions
Questions 5 and 6 have been updated due to adoption of OAR 459-005-0040 by the PERS Board on November 19, 2010. The update states a specific length of time for employer completion of retirement data verification, and the conditions for a one-time extension of that verification time frame.
 
Q1) What is verification of retirement data?
 
A1)  Proposed Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 459-005-0040 implements Senate Bill 897, which in part allows OPSRP and Tier One/Tier Two active and inactive members who are within two years of earliest service retirement age to request from PERS a verification of data used to compute PERS retirement benefits. The data includes creditable service or retirement credit, final average salary, unused sick leave hours (if the employer participates in the PERS sick leave program), and Tier One/Tier Two regular and variable member account balances. The period for verification of this data extends to the member’s original hire date hire with each of his/her PERS-participating employers.
 
Q2)  Can all OPSRP and Tier One/Tier Two members request retirement data verification?
 
A2)  No. Only those active or inactive members within two years of earliest service retirement age may request retirement data verification. Retired members, beneficiaries, and alternate payees may not request a verification.
 
Q3)  When can eligible members begin requesting verification of retirement data?
 
A3)  PERS will begin accepting eligible member requests no earlier than July 1, 2011.
 
Q4)  How does an eligible member request verification of retirement data?
 
A4)  Verifications may be requested by letter or by online application through the PERS member website. PERS will acknowledge receipt of a verification request, and strongly suggests the member review retirement data available through member self-service on the PERS member website and notify PERS of any discrepancies. Online member self-service will be available prior to July 1, 2011.
 
Q5)  How are employers notified of a member’s request for data verification?
 
A5)  PERS will notify all of the member’s past and present PERS employers by addition of a Verification Request to the employer’s Work List followed by an e-mail to the employer. However, before notice is issued to the employers, several things will happen. At the time the member makes a request the member will review their employment history, noting any information they think is incorrect. Upon receipt of the request, PERS will conduct a pre-notice review of the member’s data to reconcile, if possible, data issues identified by the member or PERS. PERS will then notify the employer of the request. Those employers will have 60 days beginning at the date of notification to modify or confirm employment data for the member, back to the date of hire with the employer. The data will be considered confirmed when the employer reports it as verified or when the verification time period ends, whichever is first.
 
Q6)  What happens if an employer fails to respond within the allowed verification time period?  Is an extension of the verification time period possible?
 
A6) If the employer fails to respond within the verification time period, PERS will continue with the verification process using the employment data in its records, as it exists at the expiration of the verification time period. Employers can request a one-time extension of the 60-day period to verify a specific member’s records. A written extension request must be  submitted to PERS, and must include justification for the extension, the length and end date of the extension. The request cannot be repeated for a specific member.  The extension request must be received by PERS no later than the 45th day after the verification notice is issued to the employer. 
 
Q7)  Can verified data be changed after the date the employer confirms and verifies the data, or after the verification time period expires if the employer fails to respond?
 
A7)  Except as directed by PERS, verified data cannot be changedafter the employer reports verification to PERS or the verification time period expires without employer response. However, PERS may direct adjustment of data by the employer to reconcile records for dates prior to the verification report date to comply with USERRA, to implement a judgment, administrative order, arbitration award, conciliation agreement or settlement agreement, and purchase by a Tier Two member of forfeited service which would restore the member to Tier One membership, or any other adjustment permitted by statute or rule.
 
However, employer adjustments to employment data for periods after the verification report date and before the member’s actual date of retirementare permitted.
 
Q8)  Will employers be expected to provide data to PERS for retirement data verification, or will employers be asked to verify data already reported to PERS?
 
A8)  Employers will be asked to verify data already reported to PERS. PERS will make member historical data available to employers through online forms and the Work List format. Employers may confirm data previously reported to PERS and listed on the online form. If data is incomplete or incorrect, employers will use the online Demographic Correction Request (DCR) and Salary Breakdown (SBD) forms to request corrections to existing historical data or to report additional data to complete a member’s history with the employer. Employers may modify or confirm data during the verification time period, or employers may do neither, and allow the data to be considered verified by the expiration of the time period. It is up to the employer to determine which course of action will be taken for each request. PERS does not require any action by the employer.
 
Q9)  Can the member dispute the accuracy of data in a verification?
 
A9)  Yes. The member has 60 days from the date the verification is issued by PERS to dispute in writing the accuracy of any reported data used in the verification. 
 
Please e-mail: pers-employer.info.services@state.or.us if you have further questions on this subject.