STRS Ohio Update for Reporting Employers

STRS Ohio Employer News

New ESS Application Available to Report Death of a Member

A new application in Employer Self Service (ESS) allows employers to report the death of an active member to STRS Ohio. The sooner STRS Ohio is notified of a death, the sooner benefits can be paid to the member’s beneficiary. Understandably, the family does not always think about notifying STRS Ohio right away, so this new application will allow employers to start the process.

Log in to ESS to access the Member Death application, which can be found on the home page under Additional Tools. Required information includes name, date of birth, last four digits of the Social Security number, ZIP code and date of death. Additional information can be provided if known, such as the names of the member’s surviving spouse, children or parents, as well as contact information for the person handling the deceased member’s affairs. Step-by-step instructions for completing this application will be available soon in the ESS Instructions.

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Interesting Facts About STRS Ohio’s Members

Every year, STRS Ohio’s actuary compiles a report that contains demographic data about benefit recipients and active members. Here are some interesting facts from the 2022 report:

  • There are 209 benefit recipients age 100 or older and 123 recipients who are age 99.
  • The oldest recipient is 110 and has been receiving service retirement benefits since July of 1980. She retired at age 68 with 25 years of service.
  • The longest paid service retiree is 107 years old and has received a benefit for 49 years. She retired in 1973 at age 58.
  • Currently, 16 active members have 50 or more years of service, and 247 active members have 40 or more years of service.
  • The member with the most years of service is age 88 and has 58 years of service credit. This person began working full time in 1969.
  • The oldest full-time member is age 90 with 49 years of service. She began teaching in the 1960s and has had various breaks in service.

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Your Feedback Is Important to STRS Ohio

In February, employer representatives will receive an email from [email protected] requesting your participation in a survey about the services received from the STRS Ohio Employer Reporting Department. The email will contain a link to the survey, which will be hosted on the Microsoft Forms platform. You will also be able to find a link on the STRS Ohio Employer Website.

Your feedback helps us evaluate and provide the assistance you need to fulfill your obligations to STRS Ohio members. We will use the information we gather from your responses to improve current services and consider new services. Survey results will be shared in a future issue of this newsletter. The survey will be available for one month and all responses will be anonymous.

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Employment Verifications Due by End of Year

To comply with Internal Revenue Service regulations, STRS Ohio is required annually to identify members who have reached the age of 72 and are not actively employed in an STRS Ohio-covered position. As required by law, members meeting these criteria must withdraw their accounts or begin receiving a required minimum distribution as part of a monthly annuity.

Employers may receive a request from STRS Ohio before the end of the year to complete employment verifications to confirm identified individuals are no longer working. STRS Ohio needs your assistance in providing final contributions and pay date information.

In an effort to reduce paper and complete the process in a timely and efficient manner, please complete this verification online in ESS. The Employment Verification Report tutorial in the Education & Training section of the employer website is available to assist you. Step-by-step instructions including screenshots are also available in the ESS Instructions.

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Members’ Annual Statements Have Been Redesigned

The Annual Statements provided to Defined Benefit Plan participants, Combined Plan participants and reemployed retirees have been given a new look and streamlined content for 2022. Member statements have not undergone this significant of a revision for several years.

For Defined Benefit Plan and Combined Plan participants, the statement offers information related to their defined benefit account as of the end of the 2022 fiscal year. The new format prominently features retirement date and age eligibility details as well as benefit amount projections and if the retirement date projection would include health care coverage eligibility. Also included on the statement is account value information and survivor and disability benefit estimates. The statement for reemployed retirees includes details about contributions and reemployed retiree benefits, beneficiary information as well as benefit eligibility, payment and required minimum distribution information.

Members received email notification in mid-September informing them that their statement was ready for viewing in their Online Personal Account. Members only received a mailed statement if they indicated a paper preference on or after July 1, 2019, or if they do not have an email address on file with the system.

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Reporting Requirements

Ensure Your Contact Information Is Up to Date in ESS

STRS Ohio sends notifications via email when: there are reports to complete in ESS, training and education opportunities are available, deadlines are approaching for annual processes and important employer news is announced. You should periodically check your school’s contact information in ESS to make sure everyone involved with STRS Ohio reporting receives timely information.

Under the Additional Tools menu on the home page of ESS, click on “Employer Contacts” to see the list of contacts on file and check the information for accuracy. If updates are needed, you can complete the Request Access form to make changes. For more information and step-by-step directions, see the ESS Instructions.

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GASB Report Information Available in ESS

The following information is now available in ESS to assist you and your auditors in preparing financial statements in accordance with GASB standards:

  • GASB Contributions by Member
  • GASB Contributions by Payroll

To access the information, log in to ESS and click on “GASB Reports” in the Additional Tools menu. If you have questions about these documents, please contact the Employer Reporting Department toll-free at 888‑535‑4050 or email [email protected].

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Employer Detail Listings Are Coming Soon

Employer Detail Listings for fiscal year 2021–2022 will be sent to employers between Oct. 15 and Dec. 15, 2022. This document contains the final amount of member contributions and service credit that STRS Ohio has posted to each individual member’s account for the fiscal year. It is considered a final record so please keep a copy for your files. An electronic copy can be found in the Documents section of ESS.

Please review your Employer Detail Listing for accuracy. If corrections or adjustments should be made, please contact STRS Ohio Employer Reporting toll-free at 888‑535‑4050 as soon as possible.

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Webinar and Tutorial Libraries Available Online

The Employer Education team offered a wide variety of topics and training sessions via webinar over the past year as part of the Employer Basics 101 and Higher Education Essentials series, as well as ESS Training. Every live webinar has been recorded and uploaded to the employer website. If you were unable to attend a session or would like to revisit a topic, be sure to check out the library of recorded webinars in the Education & Training section.

Need a quick refresher on how to complete a report in ESS? Short tutorial videos give step-by-step instructions on ESS processes, such as setting up a direct debit account, making a backposting adjustment, submitting your pay date calendar and more. You can access our collection of ESS tutorials on the employer website.

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Employer Education

Upcoming Education Opportunities

STRS Ohio offers webinars and training sessions to help you meet STRS Ohio reporting requirements. The Employer Education team will announce the 2023 calendar of events soon. You will receive an email from STRS Ohio when registration is available. A selection of upcoming education opportunities is listed below. View the Calendar of Events for a complete list of programs.

ESS Training (Virtual)

Part 1: Tuesday, Nov. 15, 10 a.m.

Part 2: Thursday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m.

Would you like to feel more comfortable using ESS? Our training is now available virtually! Join us for two different free 60-minute webinars as we cover the most frequently asked questions about navigating and completing reports in ESS. We will offer live demonstrations of the applications within ESS and share helpful tips, information and resources. We recommend attending both sessions. Register now.

Quarterly Coffee Break

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m.

We understand your time is valuable. Attend a short webinar break to catch up on current STRS Ohio employer news. Coffee Break webinars are designed to share information you need to know when you need to know it. These 15–20 minute webinars are presented quarterly and include an opportunity for you to ask questions. Registration begins Nov. 28.

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What’s Ahead

View a complete list of annual processes and due dates.

December 2022

Employment verifications are due (if applicable).

Dec. 15

Employer Detail Listing mailing is complete.

January 2023

STRS Ohio’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Report is available.

February 2023

Request for salary schedules is emailed to employers.

April 2023

Foundation employers receive the 2023–2024 estimated annual payroll request.

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