West Virginia Board Sends Mistake-Filled Retirement Letters

April 25, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - More than 2,000 of the 20,000 letters sent to participants in the West Virginia Teachers' Defined Contribution plan to help them decide whether to switch to the Teachers' Retirement System had incorrect data in them.

The Charleston Gazette said the mistakes – in participants’ years of service current salaries, or both – provoked what the report called “a mini panic” among teachers and other school personnel who have to decide whether to switch to the pension plan by May 12 (See WVA Pension Transfer Bill Delayed for Cost Analysis ). Anne Lambright, director of the Consolidated Public Retirement Board (CPRB), told the Gazette that the office is sending out corrected versions of the personalized letters as recipients notify the office of the errors.

Given the tight timetable to get the individualized summaries prepared and mailed, CPRB relied on data supplied by the county school boards, Lambright said, according to the news report.

In some cases, individuals may have overestimated the amount of service credit they have accumulated. She said a common error is for teachers who were initially hired as substitutes, then moved into full-time permanent positions, to erroneously count their time as substitutes toward their years of service.