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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Taxability of Disability Benefits

Many employers provide disability benefits to their employees as part of a comprehensive employee benefits package. Disability benefits replace a percentage of pre-disability income if an employee is unable to work due to illness or injury for a specified period of time. Employers may offer short-term disability coverage, long-term disability coverage, or integrate both short- and long-term disability coverage.

Group disability benefits can be structured in a number of ways. The taxability of these benefits generally depends on how the premiums for the coverage are paid. For example, if an employer and its employees split the cost of premiums for disability coverage, and the employees’ premiums are paid on a pre-tax basis through a cafeteria plan, the disability benefits are fully taxable to employees.

This Compliance Overview answers common questions regarding the taxability of disability benefits.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Q1 Market Recap: Taxes, Tariffs, and Tech

After nine consecutive quarters of gains, the S&P 500 lost 0.76% in the first quarter of 2018. The 0.76% loss masked a spike in volatility driven by the reduction in corporate tax rates in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, and the prospect of new government regulation of technology firms.

Read the Q1 Retirement Market Recap to learn more about the 1st quarter market volatility. Also included are tips on managing defined benefit plans in the feature on "Can You Invest Your Way to Plan Termination?"

If you have any questions, or would like to begin talking to a retirement plan advisor, please get in touch by calling (800) 388-1963 or email us at hbs@hanys.org.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

What is Financial Wellness?

Financial wellness is achieved when people can confidently manage their daily finances (budgeting and debt elimination) while successfully meeting both short- and long-term savings goals (emergency reserves, specific purchase, college savings, and retirement).

Why is Financial Wellness Important to Plan Sponsors?

When designed properly, financial wellness programs can help employers enhance their benefits packages and realize significant cost savings by helping employees retire on time, be more productive, and enjoy better health.
  1. Recruitment and Retention - Employers are constantly competing to attract and retain talent. Employees, especially millennials, seek valued benefits from their employers. In a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a survey of 1,600 workers found that 76% of millennials say they have used and value the services their employer provides to assist them with their personal finances, and 62% say their loyalty to their company is influenced by how much the company cares about their financial well-being. Financial wellness programs are seen as a desirable benefit that can minimize turnover and foster loyalty. Many employers believe “it’s the right thing to do.” 

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Financial Burden of Defined Benefit Plans

Defined benefit plans were the predominant retirement plan at the time the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was introduced in 1974. Many hospitals and other healthcare provider organizations in New York State had defined benefit pension plans. In a defined benefit plan, the total financial obligation falls strictly on the sponsor. The amount of benefit is stipulated and the funding of that benefit is the responsibility of the sponsor. As time went on, defined benefit plans became more onerous to maintain, more difficult to sponsor, and more expensive.

Join HANYS Benefit Services on Friday, April 6 at 11:00 AM to learn a number of strategies to assist in managing defined benefit plans.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

HANYS Benefit Services Partners with CyberScout on Identity Theft Protection Services

HBS expands employee benefits offerings to protect employees from the consequences of identity theft

HANYS Benefit Services is pleased to announce our partnership with CyberScout, a leading identity management and data theft services company. CyberScout delivers valuable prevention education, proactive protection services, and swift and appropriate incident remediation for more than 17.5 million households and more than 770,000 businesses.

The hidden cost of identity theft to employees and employers:

When identity thieves take advantage of employees’ stolen personal information to obtain credit or loans, or to commit various types of fraud, both employees and employers pay a steep price. For example, victims:
  • need 165 hours, on average, to resolve identity theft; 
  • are absent five times more than average; and
  • use twice as much sick time.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

2018 Retirement Services Compliance Calendar and Notices Reminder

HANYS Benefit Services wants to help you stay compliant with the 2018 Retirement Services Compliance Calendar and Notices Reminder.

Compliance is just one of many services we provide. HANYS Benefit Services created this document to remind plan administrators of the compliance deadlines and notices required for distribution.

If you have any questions regarding compliance requirements or their application to your plan, contact us at (800) 388-1963 or at hbs@ hanys.org.

Monday, December 4, 2017

DOL Delays Fiduciary Rule

On Monday, November 27, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that some key provisions of the fiduciary rule will be extended for 18 months.

The fiduciary rule, in its most basic context, requires brokers and advisors to act in the best interests of their clients who have retirement accounts, including IRAs and rollovers from qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) and 403(b) plans.  The DOL first proposed the regulations in October 2010 but withdrew them in 2011 after opposition from the financial services industry as well as some members of Congress.  The regulations were reintroduced in 2015 with the final rule becoming effective June 7, 2016.  Compliance with the rules surrounding broker conduct and disclosure was delayed until April 10, 2017.  A transition period for compliance with some of the provisions was put in place from April 10, 2017 until January 1, 2018.  This latest delay will extend implementation of the enforcement provisions of the rule until July 1, 2019.  During this now extended transition period, fiduciaries will be required to meet the Impartial Conduct Standards, which requires that they receive only reasonable compensation, make no misleading statements, and act in their clients’ best interest.  Clearly, the path of these regulations has been arduous and the recent delay only makes it more so.

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