• COVID-19

    This page is continually updated with new information as decisions are made.

We’re Open By Appointment Only

In compliance with occupancy limits currently in effect, the LASERS office remains open to the public for individual counseling by appointment only.

Walk-in appointments are not permitted until further notice.

Prefer to meet with a representative virtually? Video and phone appointments are also available with LASERS representatives.

Please call 1.800.256.3000 or 225.922.0600 to schedule your appointment.

DOCUMENTS:

Members may drop off and pick up paperwork at the front desk Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Documents may also be mailed or faxed.

SAFETY PROTOCOL:

  • Face masks are required inside the building at all times;
  • Practice 6 ft. social distancing from all individuals;
  • Two people are limited to an elevator at one time;
  • Wash your hands, use our hand sanitizing stations, and avoid touching your face;
  • If you are feeling ill, have been exposed to COVID-19, or experiencing symptoms, please reschedule your visit.

CONTACT US:

Email: Questions may be emailed to AskLASERS.

Fax: 225.935.2856

Mailing address: P.O. Box 44213, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-4213

Phone: 225.922.0600 (Baton Rouge) or 1.800.256.3000 (toll-free)

CARES Act of 2020:

Detailed information is provided below in response to inquiries about the recently enacted CARES Act of 2020.

Important CARES Act Information

The CARES Act was enacted by Congress to provide relief to taxpayers and businesses because of the economic hardships created by the COVID-19 virus. It does not change the monthly benefit paid by LASERS to retirees and beneficiaries.

One of the provisions of the CARES Act provides an economic stimulus payment to taxpayers. Those taxpayers who normally receive refunds or make tax payments by electronic funds transfers (EFT) will receive the stimulus payment by EFT. Those taxpayers who do not have an account set up with the IRS must wait for a paper check.

It is for this reason that the IRS suggests using the newly released Non-Filer tool, which will allow the IRS to deposit your payment directly in your account. Go to IRS.gov and look for Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.

This stimulus payment is in the nature of a grant and does not have to be repaid. It is paid by the federal government, not LASERS.

More details on the CARES Act may be found at www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

RMDs are required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for retirees over age 70½ or 72 who have DROP or IBO accounts. The IRS requires these members to take a certain amount out of their DROP or IBO account each year. The CARES Act waives this requirement for 2020.

If you are not over 70½, or age 72 if born before on or after July 1, 1949, or do not have a DROP or IBO account, this CARES Act provision does not apply to you.

If you have been notified by LASERS that you must take an RMD this year, and did not take that RMD by March 27, 2020, you may notify us in writing by December 10, 2020 that you wish to decline to take your RMD for 2020. This is a one-time waiver of the RMD for 2020 allowed by the CARES Act.

A letter to LASERS with your Social Security Number stating that you do not want your 2020 RMD is sufficient for the required notice. Or, you may return the letter sent to you by LASERS in March about the RMD stating that you decline the RMD for 2020. You must sign the notice you send to us.

Withdrawals from DROP Accounts

The CARES Act allows you to withdraw up to $100,000 from your DROP or IBO account for COVID-19 related expenses. Tax consequences for withdrawal of these funds will be avoided if you repay your account within three years from the date of the withdrawal of the funds. Use Form 09-03cov19: COVID-19 Withdrawal from DROP/IBO Account (Only Accounts Held at LASERS) to make a withdrawal or contact Empower Retirement if your funds are in the Self-Directed Plan.

You may also roll over funds to an IRA. Keep in mind that such a rollover would cause you to lose your Louisiana state tax exemption.

LASERS strongly recommends that you consult with your tax advisor before making such a withdrawal or rollover.

Active Members

Active members are not allowed to withdraw contributions from LASERS or Empower Retirement.

WATCH THE VIDEO:

LASERS Executive Director Cindy Rougeou provides details on how the LASERS staff has quickly adapted without disruption to agency operations.

Watch Video

BENEFIT PAYMENTS:

The staff, management, and Trustees of LASERS wish to assure our retirees and beneficiaries that payment of your monthly retirement is a top priority and will be made timely.

We strongly urge all retirees and beneficiaries who currently receive a paper check to sign up for direct deposit.

HOW TO SIGN UP FOR DIRECT DEPOSIT:

Complete Form 04-05: Authorization for Direct Deposit to start the process of signing up for direct deposit.

Direct Deposits are guaranteed to be in your bank or credit union on the first day of the month. Be aware that if the first falls on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday) or holiday, funds may not be available until the following business day. In these cases, please contact your financial institution directly for information on when your funds will be made available to you. That decision is made by your financial institution, not LASERS.

If you have not received your monthly benefit payment by the first business day of the month, please call LASERS at 225.922.0600 (Baton Rouge) or 800.256.3000 (toll-free).

FINANCIAL STABILITY OF LASERS:

Dramatic fluctuations in the financial markets due to the COVID-19 crisis are causing alarm globally, but be assured your LASERS retirement is secure. Benefit payments to our retirees and beneficiaries will continue to be made timely.

LASERS is financially stable, maintaining its commitment to a broadly diversified portfolio. We continue to comprehensively monitor the plan’s investments in relation to current market environments. LASERS is a long term investor, investing through multiple economic cycles.

While the recent market volatility has caused declines in many markets, it has also created multiple opportunities for our investment managers to seek out undervalued securities, depressed valuations, and other opportunistic investments.

The most common market news is regarding the performance of US publicly traded stocks, most notably the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500. LASERS invests in the US stock market, but also invests in many different types of assets across the globe other than publicly traded stocks thereby lowering the risk of the total portfolio.

This demonstrates LASERS commitment to a diversified portfolio, ensuring that we continue to provide a secure retirement for our members and their beneficiaries.

LASERS is well-positioned to meet its long-term goals and objectives.

BE AWARE OF CORONAVIRUS RELATED SCAMS

Taxpayers should be on the lookout for IRS impersonation calls, texts and email phishing attempts about the coronavirus or COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments. These scams can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft. Learn More.