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Alameda Decision Implementation Update from Retirement Administrator, Linda Webb

Dear County Employees & VCERA Members,

On October 12, 2020, the VCERA Board of Retirement will be considering a matter of general interest and importance to VCERA members regarding the impact of the California Supreme Court Alameda decision on VCERA. You may have received an email containing two letters from the County on this topic.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
A Message from Retirement Administrator, Linda Webb

VCERA Members, Employers and the Public, 

We are all adjusting to the threat of COVID-19, and we understand you may have concerns on how VCERA is responding to the crisis.

First, the VCERA offices are closed to the public, and staff is working almost entirely remotely. However, we are working and performing our critical functions. VCERA is adhering to the Governor’s order and placing the health and safety of our members and staff – and their families – above all else.

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VCERA Mourns the Passing of Chairman Trustee, William Wilson

The Ventura County Employees’ Retirement Association (VCERA) is mourning the loss of Chairman Trustee, William Wilson, who passed away on July 11, 2020. Trustee Wilson was appointed to the VCERA Board by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on January 30, 1995.  

“Trustee Wilson was a man of integrity, and as a trustee he provided strong and steady leadership,” said Linda Webb, VCERA’s Retirement Administrator. “His expertise, financial acumen and common sense approach will be missed. His contribution to VCERA and the entire community can’t be overstated.”

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General Member Special Election Results

On July 10, 2020, VCERA received from the Ventura County Elections Division the certified results of the Board of Retirement’s General member special election held on July 6, 2020. The official canvass indicated that Cecilia Hernandez-Garcia, received a plurality of the 870 votes cast among five candidates on the ballot. VCERA congratulates Ms. Hernandez-Garcia on her appointment to the board of trustees. 

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Farewell to Trustee Winter

Trustee Craig Winter announced he will be resigning his seat on the Board of Retirement as of June 27, 2020. Mr. Winter served as a trustee of the Board being elected by General members in 2015 and served for over 5 years.

Mr. Winter will retire after working for the Ventura County Health Care Agency as a pharmacist for over 9 years. The Board of Retirement and VCERA staff thank Mr. Winter for his dedicated service and wish him a long and happy retirement.

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CARES Act

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27, 2020, to ease the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis. VCERA members receiving COVID-19 related distributions from retirement accounts from January 1, 2020, to December 30, 2020, may be eligible for tax relief upon filing their tax returns. Please consult a qualified tax advisor for questions relating to eligibility rules and applicable relief provisions.

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2020 Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

The 2020 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for eligible retirees, beneficiaries and other payees with a retirement date of April 1, 2020 or earlier will be reflected in retirement benefit payments on April 30, 2020:

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Form 1099-Rs Mailed by January 31

Form 1099-Rs reporting the 2019 retirement earnings of retirees and other VCERA payees were mailed by January 31, 2020. The 1099-Rs are also available in Member Portal accounts. Members are encouraged to consult a qualified tax preparer with questions about their 2019 taxable income.

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Changes in Retiree Health Insurance Impacts Net Benefit Payments

Due to the increased cost of County-sponsored health insurance plans, some VCERA retirees have noticed a change in their December 31, 2019 net benefit payment. Insurance plan premium changes took effect with the December payment in order to prepay the benefits available to enrollees in January 2020. Consequently, VCERA retirees enrolled in one of the County-sponsored plans will see a change in their net benefit payment from VCERA.

VCERA has no control over the cost of retiree health insurance. If you have questions about a County-sponsored plan, please contact Patty Vandewater at patty.vandewater@ventura.org or (805) 662-6791.

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Notice to Members: Marital or Domestic Partner Separation

Your VCERA retirement benefit is considered a community property asset. Therefore, if you had a marital or domestic partner separation during your membership, your former spouse or partner may be entitled to a portion of your benefit. Please notify VCERA well in advance of submitting your Retirement Application Packet. Division of this asset must be resolved before VCERA can pay a retirement benefit or refund your contributions.