For immediate release:
Jan. 19, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana House members have approved changes championed by State Rep. David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) that would improve the quality of pension programs provided to public employees and teachers across the state. House Bill 1032, co-authored by Niezgodski, offers a number of changes to the way pensions are done, with three main focal points.
First, the bill would eliminate the guaranteed fund investment option for members of the public employees' retirement fund (PERF) and the teachers' retirement fund (TRF) and replace it with a stable value investment option.
“Many people don’t choose how to direct their dollars. Their investment enters into the guaranteed fund which, in recent years, has returned very few earnings to members,” said Niezgodski. “This proposal would send those funds to a stable value fund which would produce a better return of investment.
“Although this fund does not hold the same ‘guaranteed’ promise as the previous fund, the stable value fund has consistently shown investment growth over many years,” continued Niezgodski.
House Bill 1032 would also allow members to change the way they receive benefit payments.
“Members could change the way the benefit was paid out at any time,” said Niezgodski. “They would be able to easily change from single to joint survivorship.”
The final change would allow a retired or disabled member of PERF or TRF, who has begun to receive benefits, to change the member’s beneficiary if desired. When a spouse is concerned, they would first have to provide written consent for the change.
Additional changes include: (1) combining the assets of the state excise police, gaming agent, gaming control officer and conservation enforcement officers’ retirement plans for investment purposes, (2) requiring employers who elect to purchase special death benefit coverage from an eligible emergency medical services provider to pay for the coverage annually, and (3) allowing the disbursement or investment of annuity savings account money if an unvested member of PERF or TRF is suspended. Niezgodski has worked for better pension options during past sessions, helping retired state employees receive updates to their benefits and pushing for public pension funds to be administered electronically. House Bill 1032, authored by State Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne), now moves to the Indiana Senate for consideration.