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FAQs


 

Asset Accumulation Plan

Q. I’m leaving employment, how do I get my retirement?
A. You must complete an application for distribution and return it to the Retirement Office.

Q. What’s the quickest way to get a distribution form?
A. Click here or call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

Q.Where can I find out about distribution options?
A. Click here or call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

Q. How do I find out the balance of my Asset Accumulation Plan?
A. Go to the USICG website at www.usicg.com or call 1-800-828-4224. You can also make investment changes with either choice.

Q. How do I get my PIN (Personal ID #)?
A. Call USICG at (865) 523-8353.

Q. Where can I get the rates of return for all the investments offered in the Asset Accumulation Plan?
A. Click here or call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

Q. If I leave employment and make application for a rollover or a lump sum distribution, how soon will I get my check?
A. You will get your check within four to six weeks after you receive your last paycheck and have provided the Retirement Office with a completed distribution application. You may click here for a distribution form or you may call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

Q. Why haven’t I been receiving my Quarterly Asset Accumulation Plan statements?
A. Statements are mailed 30 days after the end of each quarter. If you have not received your quarterly statement, your mailing address may need updated, call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

Q. How does vesting work?
             A. You are always 100% vested in your contributions and +/- earnings. Vested applies to the employer’s matching contributions. See Table. After 5 years of service you are 100% vested in the employer’s contribution too.

Years of Service % of Vesting

1

20

2

40

3

60

4

80

5

100


Pre-Tax Voluntary Plan (457 Plan)


Q. Can I apply military credit towards my years of service?
A. After becoming fully vested in the Asset Accumulation Program you may complete an application for up to 3 additional years of service for prior military credit (a copy of your DD214 is required). Additional military credit is not given if you are eligible to retire from the military.

Additional years of service can increase the retiree death benefit as well as increase your voluntary match (see voluntary 457 Plan).

Q. What is a 457 Plan?
A. It is deferred compensation under Internal Revenue Code Section 457 which allows public employees to contribute a portion of their salary before federal income taxes to a retirement account.

Q. Am I required to participate in this plan?
A. No. This is a voluntary plan that you can enroll in at anytime throughout the year.

Q. How much can I contribute to a 457 Plan?
A. The limit is based on IRS guidelines and for 2008 the maximum amount to contribute is $15,500. However, there are exceptions if you are over age 50.  If you are 50 or older you contribute an additional $5,000 to your 457 Plan. If you are age 62, 63, 64 you may contribute twice the annual limit during that 3 year period only.

Q. What 457 Plans are offered to Knox County Asset Accumulation Program Participants?
A. Currently there are 3 Board Approved vendors to choose from.
1. Knox County Voluntary 457 Plan (Part of the Asset Accumulation Program)
2. Knoxville Teachers Federal Union
3. Nationwide Retirement Solutions
4. Security Benefit

There are two outside vendors also offered.

Q. How is the employer match calculated for the 457 Plan?
A. See below:

Years of Service Matching Contribution

Less than 5 years

0%

5 to 9 years

Up to 2%

10 to 14 years

Up to 4%

15 or more years

Up to 6%

Q. Can I make investment choices to my 457 Plans?
A. Yes. With the Knox County Volunteer 457 Plan you use the same automated system available to those participating in the Asset Accumulation Plan. For participants in the KTFCU and Security Benefits 457 Plan you may access their website or contact a vendor representative.

Q. Are hardship withdrawals allowed in the 457 Plan?
A. Yes. Qualifications for a hardship withdrawal are based on IRS regulations. Hardships must be something unexpected arising as a result of events beyond the control of the participants.

Q. I’m leaving employment, can I withdraw my 457 contributions?
A. Click here for a distribution form for the Knox County Voluntary 457 Plan or contact the KTFCU, Nationwide or Security Benefit for their distribution forms. You may contact the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323 with additional questions or concerns.


Defined Benefit Plan

Q. I’m in the Defined Benefit Plan (Old Plan). Why haven’t I been receiving quarterly statements?
A. Participants in the DB Plan do not receive statements. Estimates of your monthly benefit can be projected upon request to the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

Q. I’m leaving employment, how do I get my retirement?
A. You must complete an application for retirement and mail it to the Retirement Office.

Q. Where can I find out about retirement options?
A. Contact the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.


Uniformed Officers Pension Plan

Q. I’m leaving employment, how do I get my retirement?
A. You must complete an application for distribution or an application for retirement and mail it to the Retirement Office.

Q. Where can I find out about distribution options?
A. Contact the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

Q. What’s the quickest way to get a distribution form?
A. Click here or call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

Q. How does vesting work?
A. Participants are entitles to a retirement benefit after completion of 5 years of service. Benefits are payable after participants would have completed 25 years of service.


Life Insurance

(The information regarding your Life Insurance is for all eligible employees of the Asset Accumulation Plan, Defined Benefit Plan and Uniformed Officers Pension Plan)

Life Insurance for County employees – contact the Retirement Office
Life Insurance for School employees – contact the Employee Benefits Office

Q. How do I know if I have basic life insurance?
A. If you are full-time employee (regularly scheduled to work 18.5 hours or more per week) and are currently in an active status, Knox County provides Basic Life Insurance coverage for employees in the amount of 1-½ times your current annual salary rounded to the nearest multiple of $1,000 at no cost to the employee. The maximum coverage is $50,000.

Q. How I do I know if I have supplemental Life Insurance (above and beyond the Basic Life Insurance) and/or who my insurance beneficiaries are?
A. For County employees call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323 and for School employees call the Employee Benefits Office at (865) 594-1686.

Q. Can I purchase additional Supplemental Life Insurance for other members of my family?
A. Yes. You may purchase Supplemental Life Insurance for your spouse in the amount of $10,000 and/or your children in the amount of $5,000 per child. For County employees call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323 and for School employees call the Employee Benefits Office at (865) 594-1686.

Q. What are the rates for Supplemental Life Insurance?
A. Click here or call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

Q. Can I obtain Supplemental Life Insurance more than 30 days after my hire date for myself or family members?
A. In order to obtain additional Supplemental Life Insurance, you and/or your spouse will be required to complete a medical questionnaire form. Met Life will review the questionnaire and determine if additional life insurance is approved or denied.

Q. Will premiums for my Supplemental Life Insurance ever change?
A. An employee monthly premium rates will change in August of the year following a birthday that places you in a different age bracket as of July 1st of each year. Rates for dependents are not subject to age rates but the rates can change. Click here or call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323 for more information.

Q. What happens to my Life Insurance once I retire?
A. Knox County does not provide life insurance after retirement. However, you may convert to an individual policy within 31 days after your last working date. Please note that as a retiree, you are eligible for a Death Benefit equal to $300 for each year of service.

ACCIDENTAL DEATH & DIS-MEMBERMENT (AD&D)
(The information regarding your AD&D is for all eligible employees of the Asset Accumulation Plan, Defined Benefit Plan and Uniformed Officers Pension Plan)

The following information regarding AD&D applies only
 to employees of Knox County Government.

Q. Do I have to pay anything for this benefit?
A. No. If you are employed full time or working at least 18 ½ hours per week by Knox County Government, this benefit is two times your annual salary up to a maximum benefit of $100,000. The premiums for this life insurance is paid by the County.

Q. Where can I get more information on this benefit?
A. You may call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

Medical Expense Retirement Plan (MERP)

(The Medical Expense Retirement Plan is only for the eligible employees
of the Asset Accumulation Plan and Defined Benefit Plan)

Q. What is the purpose of the Medical Expense Retirement Plan?
A. The Medical Expense Retirement Plan (MERP) is designed to help you pay for medical expenses and insurance premiums after retirement. Click here or call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323 for more information on the MERP.

Q. Are there contribution limits for the MERP?
A. Yes. The Knox County Retirement & Pension Board has established minimum contribution allowances to the MERP. Please note the following minimum pay period contribution amounts that are based on your payroll cycle:

PAYROLL FREQUENCY MINIMUM PAY PERIOD CONTRIBUTIONS

Bi – Weekly

$8.00

Semi-Monthly

$8.68

Monthly

$17.34

Q. How is the MERP invested?
A.

INVESTMENT STYLE PERCENTAGE

Ultra Conservative

10%

Conservative

45%

Moderate

45%

Special note: You cannot direct your contribution to any other investment funds.

Q. How does vesting work?
A. Upon enrollment, you are always 100% vested in all the monies deposited into your account.

Q. Are my contributions to the MERP matched?
A. Yes. The Knox County Retirement & Pension Board will match 25% of the employee contributions up to a maximum of $416 annually.


Retirement Planning

(The information regarding your retirement planning is for all eligible employees of the Asset Accumulation Plan, Defined Benefit Plan and Uniformed Officers Pension Plan)

Q. I am considering retirement, how can the Retirement Office help me?
A. Each participant who is considering retirement should contact the Retirement Office to schedule an appointment with one of the staff members. All appointments are confidential. We recommend you contact the Retirement Office at least 30 days in advance of your retirement date. Sixty days in advance may be better for everyone.

Q. Can I bring anyone with me to my appointment?
A. Yes. We highly recommend you bring someone with you, as this is a very detailed meeting that may last about an hour.

Q. How can I see if I will have enough money to retire on?
A. This is a question you may want to discuss with your financial advisor. If you are a participant in the Asset Accumulation Plan, you may log onto www.usicg.com and use the financial planning Morningstar ClearFuture System to estimate future income.

Q. How much will my Retirement Benefit be?
A. Depending on the plan you are in, Asset Accumulation Plan, Defined Benefit Plan or UOPP there is a variety of benefit payment options that you are eligible for. If you are close to retirement age, you may contact the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323 to request an estimate of monthly benefits.

Q. When can I expect my first retirement check?
A. If all application paperwork has been completed and approved by the Knox County Retirement & Pension Board, your monthly retirement benefit check will begin the 1st month following your last active paycheck.

Important note: Depending on the date of your application and the month your application is approved by the Board, there may be a delay in the receipt of your 1st retirement check.

Q. What happens to my other benefits offered by Knox County?
A. If you have additional benefits as a County employee such as vision, dental or medical insurance you need to contact Human Resources at (865) 215-2321 for more information. If you are have additional benefits from Knox County Schools non-certified, you may call Employee Benefits at (865) 594-1686. If you are enrolled in a 457 Plan vendor outside Knox County you must contact them for detailed information. The Retirement Office does offer retiree medical insurance plans.   


Medical Insurance After Retirement

(The information regarding your retirement planning is for all eligible employees of the Asset Accumulation Plan, Defined Benefit Plan and Uniformed Officers Pension Plan)

Q. Can I continue my active medical insurance after retirement?
A. Yes. If you are retiring from Knox County Schools, you will need to call Employee Benefits at (865) 594-1686 for detailed information. If you are retiring from Knox County Government and under the age of 65, you may continue your active medical insurance. call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323 for more details.

Q. Can I continue my active medical insurance once I’ve been approved for Disability through the Knox County Retirement Office?
A. Yes. If you are approved for Disability and were employed through Knox County Schools, you will need to call Employee Benefits at (865) 594-1686 for detailed information. If you are approved for Disability and were employed through Knox County Government and not Medicare eligible, you may continue your active medical insurance. You must call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323 to re-enroll in your active medical coverage.

Q. If I’m over age 65, is there medical insurance available for me?
A. Yes. If you are over age 65 and Medicare A & B eligible, Knox County Retirement does offer Medicare Advantage Plans. These plans are available to both retirees and disability participants from Knox County Government and Knox County Schools (non-certified).

Q. How much are the premiums for the medical insurance plans?
A. If you are retired or on disability and were employed by Knox County Schools (non-certified), you must call Employee Benefits at (865) 594-1686. Otherwise, click here for monthly premium rates for both active medical insurance and Medicare advantage plans through Knox County Government or call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

Important Note: Retirees and Disability participants 
pay FULL cost for medical insurance.

Q. Will these premiums ever change?
A. Yes. These premiums are subject to change at anytime but normally January 1st of each year.

Q. How do I pay for medical insurance premiums?
A. If you are retired or on disability and were employed by Knox County Schools non-certified, you must call Employee Benefits at (865) 594-1686 for more information if you are enrolled in any of the State medical insurance plans. If you are retired or on disability and were employed by Knox County Government or you were employed by Knox County Schools non-certified and enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan through Knox County Retirement call the Retirement Office at (865) 215-2323.

You may pay your monthly premiums if you are enrolled through the Knox County Retirement Office with the following options:

1. Monthly Deduction from your retirement benefit
2. MERP deductions
3. ACH Debit your bank account
4. Monthly invoicing (mail your check directly to the Retirement Office)

Q. As a Public Safety Officer, do I receive a tax advantage for paying my premiums from my retirement plan?
A. Yes. According to the Pension Protection Act of 2006, retired Public Safety Officers may direct a maximum limit of $3,000 tax-free to pay for Knox County Government sponsored medical insurance plans.

Special note: spousal beneficiaries are not eligible to use this tax advantage.

Q. Who is considered a Public Safety Officer?
A. A Public Safety Officer is defined as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, chaplain, rescue squad member or ambulance crew member as per the Pension Protection Act of 2006.

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Retirement Services

City County Building
400 Main Street
Suite 371
Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: 865-215-2323
Fax: 865-215-2421
Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Department Email