Act 656 (SB 5) passed in the 2022 General Session of the Louisiana Legislature authorizing a ONE-TIME ONLY supplemental benefit payment for eligible retirees and beneficiaries. This legislation was sponsored by Senator Ed Price, Chair of the Senate Retirement Committee, and LASERS because the average rank-and-file LASERS retiree had not received a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) since 2016. While there were not enough funds in the Experience Account to provide a typical COLA, Act 656 provided some relief in the form of a one-time supplemental payment.

Below is information about the one-time payment, eligibility requirements, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHO WAS ELIGIBLE FOR THE ONE-TIME ONLY PAYMENT?

The following requirements had to be met as of June 30, 2022 to be eligible:

  1. Retired for at least one year; and,
  2. At least 60 years of age.

HOW MUCH WAS PAID TO ELIGIBLE RETIREES AND BENEFICIARIES?

The payment was equal to the lesser of:

  1. The retiree or beneficiary’s current monthly benefit.
  2. $2,000.

The payment was equal to the member’s gross pay (capped at $2,000). There were no deductions made except for federal tax.

WHEN DID ELIGIBLE MEMBERS RECEIVE THE ONE-TIME PAYMENT?

The payment was made August 15, 2022.

WILL THE ONE-TIME SUPPLEMENTAL PAYMENT IMPACT MY SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFIT?

Potentially. Employees who receive a government pension from employment in positions that are not covered by Social Security may have their Social Security benefits reduced under federal provisions called the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO). The WEP is a reduction to your Social Security retirement benefit because of the pension earned from your LASERS-covered employment. The GPO is a reduction to your Social Security spouse or survivor benefits because of the pension earned from your LASERS-covered employment.

While LASERS stands by its belief that the one-time supplemental payment should not impact your WEP or GPO reduction, some members have received letters from the Social Security Administration informing them of a potential change to their reduction. The letters indicate that the impact of the one-time payment will be amortized over the life expectancy of the member. Presumably, this would result in a minimal impact; but LASERS agrees that any reduction, especially one beyond a person’s already reduced benefit, is too much.

We understand your frustration and have filed a complaint with the Social Security Administration on behalf of our members.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I RECEIVE A LETTER FROM THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION REGARDING MY ONE-TIME SUPPLEMENTAL PAYMENT?

Call the Social Security Administration. If the letter gives you the option to appeal, we suggest you do so.

If you would like to return your one-time supplemental payment to LASERS, you may do so; however, we strongly suggest you reach out to Social Security to get a better understanding of what your potential reduction is prior to returning the money to LASERS.

You are also invited, as always, to contact your representative in Congress. Any change to the WEP and GPO reductions must be done on the federal level. Our System is continuously working with elected officials to reduce or eliminate the federal offsets and we encourage you to contact them as well.

The LASERS Board of Trustees considers the legislatively enacted mechanism for the funding and granting of an annual COLA for eligible system retirees a significant issue and is committed to finding a more reliable COLA mechanism. Learn more here.

45,064

Members Impacted

$69 Million

Total Cost