Another change employers will see when the new Data Reporting System (DRS) goes live next year is the way members are identified based on when they joined NHRS and/or became vested for a future pension benefit.
Since 2011, when the NH Legislature made significant changes to the retirement system statute, benefit eligibility, pension calculations, and whether certain types of pay were reportable to NHRS have been dependent on a member’s vested date or hire date. Different benefit provisions are applicable to:
- Members vested prior to 1/1/2012
- Members in service prior to 7/1/2011 but not vested prior to 1/1/2012
- Members hired on/after 7/1/2011
In the new DRS, members will be shown as being in different “Tiers,” which is just a shorter way to describe their existing status. (For current DRS users, “Tiers” is the new “Plan”.)
Employers will see references to tiers in several places in the new DRS:
- “Tier lookup” (This will replace the “Lookup vested by 12/31/11” feature in the current DRS).
- Reports in the new DRS will be sorted by tier and group.
- Vouchers will be populated with payment information by tier and group.
- Transactions on employer accounts will be sorted by tier and group.
This change in terminology does not impact how you report earnable compensation in any way, it only standardizes and simplifies the way these members are described.
Here is how the tiers work:
- Tier A – Member vested prior to 1/1/12
- Tier B – Member in service prior to 7/1/11 and not vested prior to 1/1/12
- Tier C – Member hired on/after 7/1/11
Here are some examples:
- A police officer who commenced service on 2/15/03 is … Group II, Tier B
- A teacher who commenced service on 9/1/11 is … Group I, Tier C
- An employee who commenced service on 8/17/87 is … Group I, Tier A
Note: There is a small number of members hired on/after 7/1/11 who became vested by age prior to 1/1/12. These members are considered Tier A/C.
As we get closer to transitioning to the new DRS, the retirement system will update its online and print materials for members and employers to incorporate references to tiers, and roll out a member education effort to explain the new terminology. Remember, this is just a new way to describe the current benefit structure: no one’s benefits are changing!
Hopefully all employers have had a chance to visit the Operation Granite Wave page on the NHRS website at: https://www.nhrs.org/employers/employer-resources/drs-upgrade-project. You can find project updates and documents, frequently asked questions, and general project information on these pages.
If you have questions about this project and how it affects participating employers, please reach out to NHRS at PGV3DRS@nhrs.org.