As the PCS, you are the liaison between GMEBS and the Plan participants. You are in charge of providing applicable data such as salary and service information to GMEBS. You are also responsible for retirement applications, beneficiary forms, and participant applications (if required for your city).
In addition, you are responsible for answering questions that employees may have about their benefits. If your retirees have questions about payments please instruct them to call the GMA Retiree Hotline, 678-686-6297.
Each employee participating in the plan should complete a Pre-Retirement Beneficiary Form. New employees should complete this form during the onboarding process. Participants may select one person as their primary beneficiary and one person as their secondary beneficiary. The Pre-Retirement Beneficiary Form must be signed by both the participant and the PCS. Please send completed pre-retirement beneficiary forms to GMA. The Pre-Retirement Beneficiary Form designates the individual who will receive a participant’s pre-retirement death benefit, if any, available under the plan if the participant dies before retirement. Please encourage your employees to update beneficiary forms regularly. This is particularly important after major life events (i.e., marriage, divorce, birth of a child, and death of previously named beneficiaries). Any new designation of a primary or secondary beneficiary invalidates, supersedes, and revokes any prior designation. The most recent Pre-Retirement Beneficiary Form will control who receives a participant’s pre-retirement death benefit, if any, even if the designation is contrary to documentation outside of the Plan such as a will or court order. If a participant does not have a valid pre-retirement beneficiary form, section 8.06 of the Master Plan will control who receives any available pre-retirement benefit.
The retirement application checklist provides a quick reference list of information and documentation that is required to be submitted to GMEBS along with the retirement application to begin processing retirement benefit payments. The retirement application and accompanying documents must be sent via SECURE email to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (678) 686-6244.
Each year you will be required to upload census information for every participant. Click on this link for instructions on how to upload the required information.
In addition to the annual census information, you must report to GMEBS the highest 3 or 5 consecutive years of earnings, as applicable under your plan when a participant terminates employment and also as part of a participant’s retirement application. Unless otherwise specified in the Adoption Agreement or Addendum, earnings include the total gross earnings paid to a participant by the employer and includes salary, wages, bonuses, overtime, and compensation for unused sick, vacation, paid-time-off, personal, or any other paid leave. Severance payments are not usually included in earnings unless specified in your plan documents.
The IRS imposes a limit on the maximum amount of annual earnings that can be used to calculate a retirement benefit. The annual limit for 2019 is $280,000. The GMEBS plan applies the limit on a month basis, which is $23,333.33 for 2019 (1/12th of $280,000). This means that if a participant’s earnings exceed $23,333.33 in any particular month, his or her earnings in excess of $23,333.33 will not be used to calculate his or her average earnings. Put another way, only the first $23,333.33 per month of a participant’s earnings can be used to calculate his or her final average earnings. Generally, most employees will not have monthly earnings that run up to this limit, however the monthly limit may be a consideration for some employers who pay out unused sick leave, PTO, etc. in a lump sum to a participant upon termination.