For Immediate Release:
March 27, 2020
Contact: [email protected]
To NHRS members, beneficiaries, and employers:
The unfolding coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions on a worldwide scale. I am writing to update stakeholders on how NHRS is addressing the challenges it faces.
Most importantly, retirees and beneficiaries should know that pension benefits will continue to be paid, on-time and as usual. Benefit payments are funded by employer and employee contributions, and invested assets. The portfolio is diversified and structured to meet or exceed our assumed rate of return over the long-term, i.e. 20 to 30 years or more. While further market volatility is anticipated, it will not have an impact on your pension benefit. I also note that because nearly four out of five pension recipients live in New Hampshire, these payments will help support the local economy through the downturn we can expect as a result of COVID-19.
Additionally, members planning to retire in the coming months will not see any COVID-19 related impact on their estimated pension benefits because NHRS is a defined benefit (DB) plan; pension benefits are based on a statutory formula that factors in service time and average final salary, and is not affected by day-to-day market gains or losses. It is times like these that the economic security provided by a DB plan is self-evident.
In regard to the short-term impacts on our regular business activities, early emergency planning positioned the retirement system to remain operational as state and federal governments ordered social distancing measures and large-scale closures in recent weeks. The NHRS office in Concord is closed to visitors and we have enabled teleworking for nearly all of our staff members. Our staff is pulling together, adapting to changed circumstances, and maintaining productivity. Scheduled member appointments with NHRS Benefits Specialists and other member, retiree, and employer interactions are being conducted by telephone. We expect to be implementing teleconferencing capabilities for some of these interactions in the next few days. We also will be offering additional online educational presentations for our members and employers beginning next month.
To all of our stakeholders – especially those public health workers, first responders, teachers, and many, many other public employees on the front lines of keeping their communities and state healthy, safe, and secure – know that despite the current challenges we all are facing, the retirement system’s mission, “To provide secure retirement benefits and superior service,” remains the same, as does our ability to fulfill our commitment to you.
George P. Lagos
New Hampshire Retirement System
P.S. The situation remains fluid – please continue to check our website, www.nhrs.org, for updates on retirement system operations.