They were asked to evaluate how much more or less it might cost to "combine a defined contribution plan with a much-reduced defined-benefit plan'' for new employees, akin to the federal employee retirement plan. It remains unclear why this part of the June assignment was dropped by the actuaries at Gabriel Roeder Smith & Co.
Through Dingley, Caprio did make several specific recommendations, however. Among them:
-- Eliminate the financial incentive for public sector workers to go out -- and stay out -- on a disability pension which pays them two-thirds of their pay, tax-free by reducing payments to those who are not totally disabled.
-- Increasing oversight of workers on disability and adopt "mandatory rehire provisions'' when it is clear that workers can return to light duty.
-- Shifting the job of evaluating disabilities to the professional operators of a long-term disability insurance program. It is now done by an arm of the state retirement board, made up of lawmakers and employee representatives.
-- Require employees buying credit toward their state pensions for past activities -- such as substitute teaching, military service and Peace Corps service -- pay the actual cost of those years to the pension system, not the discounted amounts allowed now.
-- Eliminate an option that allows retired state workers and teachers who retire young to get a so-called Social Security supplement, that bumps up their pension by hundreds, and in some cases, thousands, of dollars in the years before they qualify for Social Security. Their pension is cut when they reach age 62, but with annual cost-of-living increases they are already well ahead of where they might otherwise have been by then.
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