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Frequently Asked Benefit Questions

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Q. When is Medicare coverage primary and secondary?
As long as you are working and have Medical coverage through an employer Medicare is secondary. If you retire and you are allowed to take your health insurance with you as a retiree, Medicare becomes primary.

Q. How many hours must college assistants work to get health benefits?
A. After completing 20 hours per week for 3 months, a college assistant is eligible for medical coverage as long as they maintain a 20 hour workweek.

Q. How many semesters do Adjuncts have to work to be eligible for health coverage?
A. Health care coverage is available to Adjuncts through the PSC/CUNY Welfare Fund providing they meet the following service requirements:

Non-teaching Adjuncts who are working ten or more hours per week for two consecutive semesters and Adjuncts who are teaching six or more hours (or the equivalent) in the semester and who have taught one or more courses for two consecutive semesters (not including summer and winter sessions), and are not covered by other primary health care insurance provided by or through another source are eligible for the health benefits. Adjuncts who establish eligibility as provided in this paragraph, which is based upon CUNY-wide service, shall be eligible to receive benefits in the third consecutive semester. Such benefit shall be partially contributory by the employee.

Teaching Adjuncts who meet the six hour requirement teaching at more than one CUNY institution are responsible for notifying each college of their employment at another college. If you do not, and a college reports that you are teaching less than six hours, your health coverage will be terminated. You will then receive a COBRA notice.

If you do not bring any additional hours to our attention within the time indicated on the COBRA letter, your coverage WILL BE TERMINATED AND WILL NOT BE REINSTATED THIS SEMESTER.

An adjunct who has established eligibility for this health benefit shall lose eligibility if in any two out of three academic years the adjunct is employed in only one semester of the year at CUNY.

Q. As a NYCERS Tier 4 Pension member can I take a pension loan?
A. A Tier 4 member of NYCERS in Active Service, who has credit for at least one year of Membership Service, may borrow an amount not to exceed 75% of the amount last posted to his or her Members' Contribution Accumulation Fund (MCAF)* account (minus outstanding loan). The following restrictions apply to all Tier 4 loans:

You must be in pay status on the payroll of a participating employer to be issued a loan.

Only one loan may be issued to you in any 12-month period.

The minimum amount of any loan is $1,000. (You must have at least $1,334 to your credit in your MCAF account to qualify for the minimum loan amount.)

A service fee of $17.50 is charged for processing a loan. The fee is deducted from the loan check.
Example: If you apply for a $1,000 loan, the net amount of your check will be $982.50.

Once a loan has been issued, it may not be canceled.

You must pay interest on your loan at a rate equal to 1% less than NYCERS' valuation rate. The current valuation rate, as of July 1, 1996 is 8 %. Therefore, the current interest rate on Tier 3 and Tier 4 loans is 7 %.

Loans must be repaid within five years. The minimum repayment is 2% of your gross salary per payroll period. Once set, the repayment schedule remains the same for each payroll period until the loan is paid in full or a new loan is negotiated. You may elect to repay your loan in a period of less than five years. NYCERS can tell you approximately how much your loan payment will be for the repayment period you elect.

Payments must be made through payroll deductions. However, if you resign, are terminated from City service, or you are not in pay status on the payroll of a participating employer, you may make arrangements with NYCERS to make periodic direct payments. There is a $5.00 per-payment fee charged for making direct payments.

Thirty days after your loan is issued, it is fully insured. A modest insurance premium will be included in each payment. You may not elect to waive the insurance premium.

If you think of other questions while you are reviewing this material write them down and give us a call.

Non-payment of an outstanding loan may significantly decrease retirement benefits due you, will trigger a Federal tax liability, and may result in a tax penalty on the outstanding balance.

Two to three months after your retirement date, you will receive a letter stating the taxable amount of the loan. The letter will remind you that you may defer your tax liability by rolling the taxable amount into an IRA account.

Before you file for retirement, visit NYCERS to learn about the tax and retirement benefit consequences of an unpaid loan and about your repayment options.

*Members Contribution Accumulation Fund (MCAF)
An account maintained for each Tier 4 member into which the "basic" contributions of 3% of Wages each payroll period are deposited, plus interest earned on such contributions.

Q. Does TIAA/CREF retirement plan have a loan option?
A. Yes, loans are available from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $50,000. How much you can borrow depends on the amount currently in your TIAA-CREF Retirement Annuity or Group Retirement Annuity that's available for loans. Your maximum loan amount is the least of the following:

a. $50,000; or

b. 45% of your combined TIAA and CREF Retirement or Group Retirement Annuity accumulations under the retirement plan of an employer that allows loans; or

c. 90% of your TIAA-CREF Retirement or Group Retirement Annuity variable account accumulations available for loans under the retirement plan of an employer that allows loans.

In addition to the maximum loan available, you also have to take into account the amount that you'll need to set aside as collateral. You have to set aside an amount equal to 110% of your loan as collateral in a new TIAA Retirement Loan annuity. For example, to borrow $36,000, you need to keep 110% of this amount, or $39,600, as collateral in your TIAA Retirement Loan annuity.

Q. Can adjuncts join a pension system?
A. Adjuncts are eligible to join New York City Teachers' Retirement System (TRS).
Membership is optional.

We are here to assist you. If you have additional questions please e-mail us at or call us at extension 6525.

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