Retirees FAQs

Updated: 2022-09-06

Q: Why is there a change to the pension amount in July?
A: Every July beginning the calendar year after your retirement, you receive a post retirement increase of 2.5% (for retirees with membership dates of before July 1, 2012) and 1.5% (for retirees with membership dates on or after July 1, 2012).

Q: How do I change my federal tax withholding?
A: You may download the W-4P that is available on the following page https://ers.ehawaii.gov/resources/all-forms or call our office and we will mail you the form.

Q: Does the ERS send any notice when there is a change to my pension?
A: Yes.  The ERS sends a letter explaining the change to your pension prior to the effective date of change.  In addition, a Statement of Retirement Allowances and Deductions is mailed out when there is a change to your net pension payment or for your first pension payment.  If your net amount has changed but you did not receive a statement, please allow time for the postal service to deliver it before requesting a duplicate.  Due to postal service changes, it may take longer to receive your statement than in the past.  Please retain pay statements as a record of your current pension amount.

Q: When will I receive my tax reporting documents (1099R)?
A: If you received benefits from the ERS during the previous year, your Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1099-R will be mailed to your home address by January 31. Reprint/duplicate Form 1099-R requests may be requested approximately 2 weeks later to allow time for mail delivery. If you have a professional tax advisor, accountant, and/or tax preparer, we suggest that you make this information available for their review.

For more information, please review

ERS Form 1099-R Sample:  The ERS Form 1099-R 2021

Frequently Asked Questions: 1099-R Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How is my retirement benefits classified for income tax reporting (i.e. IRA, pension or annuity)?
A: The ERS is a qualified defined benefit public pension plan covered under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.  All benefits paid by ERS and reported to you on Form 1099-R are ‘pension’ benefits. For terminated members this includes refund of contributions and for retirees this includes option refund payments and disability benefits.  For Service Connected Disability benefit recipients, all or a portion of your pension benefits are considered payments in the nature of worker’s compensation and, therefore, excludible from gross income under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 104(a)(1).  For the portion of your pension benefits, if any, that is reportable to the Internal Revenue Service, a Form 1099-R will be sent to you.

Q: A loan or rental housing company requires me to provide verification of my pension. How do I request it from the ERS?
A: You may call or email ERS. ERS mails the letter to your address on file. If the lender requires the information be submitted directly from the ERS, a verification form must be submitted with your authorization for release of information. The lender can mail or fax the request and a copy of the form to 808-587-5766. Completion of requests takes up to five business days. We do not email your pension information and will not release information to a third party without your written authorization.

Q: Can I direct deposit my pension into a trust account?
A: No. Section 88-91 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes requires that the ERS pay our retirees as individual primary account holders and not assigned to a trust account since it is not an individual. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) at Section 401(a)(2) requires qualified governmental pension plans, such as the ERS, to make it impossible for monies to benefit persons other than the members/retirees and beneficiaries.

Q: Would the ERS be able to split my pension payment into two accounts deposited to the same institution?
A: No. The ERS is not set up or designed to split your pension to separate accounts for your direct deposits.

Q: I would like to have my healthcare premiums deducted from my retirement pension and sent directly to the EUTF. How would I submit a request to ERS to have this done?
A: Please contact the EUTF at 808-586-7390 or toll free at 1-800-295-0089 for forms and instructions.

Q: Under which ERS retirement options can I change my beneficiary after my retirement?
A: You may change your beneficiary after retirement only if choosing a retirement option that does not provide the beneficiary with a lifetime monthly benefit after your death. These options are:
          Noncontributory Plan:
               – Maximum Allowance
               – Option C (10-year guarantee)
          Contributory and Hybrid Plans:
               – Maximum Allowance
               – Option One (Insurance Reserve)
               – Option Four (Five and Maximum) combination
               – Option Four (Five and One) combination
               – Option Five

Q: How does the ERS finalize my retirement benefit after I retire?
A: The ERS has a team of employees dedicated to finalizing retirees’ benefits. When a member retires, the ERS initially pays an estimated pension calculated for the retirement option chosen by the member. The finalization of a member’s benefit includes the receipt of the final reports of employment and retirement contributions (Contributory and Hybrid members). The finalization team also confirms the member’s average final compensation (average of the three or five highest years of earnings), years of service, and any unused sick leave balance. The retiree is notified when the benefit is finalized and when the finalized pension amount will begin. If the retiree’s finalized pension amount is higher than the estimated pension, the underpayment will be calculated retroactive to the date of retirement and paid to the retiree.

Q: Is it true that a retiree will receive a final payment in the month of his or her death?
A: Yes. The ERS will make a final payment to the retiree in the month of death in the method that it was normally paid (direct deposit or in a few instances by check). It is important to immediately report the death because any payment made after the month of death would need to be returned to the ERS. It also makes it easier and quicker for ERS to send information to a beneficiary if there are survivor benefits.

Q: Does the ERS distribute or sell my contact information?
A: No. The ERS will never divulge your contact information to other parties. We will only call if we are responding to your request. The ERS representative will always provide you their name, position and official contact information. If you receive an unexpected call from the ERS requesting personal information, please get the caller’s name and position and notify us immediately.