KCPSRS – Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I withdraw money from my retirement account while I am still employed by an employer covered by the retirement system?

No. You may withdraw the contributions you paid plus accrued interest ONLY after you cease covered employment and after a 60-calendar day and a 15 workday break in service has occurred.

I’ve heard this retirement plan is a “pretax savings plan”.  How does that benefit me?

Your 9% contribution comes out of your paycheck before taxes are taken out.  Therefore, your taxable income is reduced in the years in which you contribute to the plan.

What does “Vesting” mean?

Vesting relates to entitlement of benefits.  Once you acquire 5 years of creditable service, you will be “vested” in the retirement plan.  That means you have a right to a monthly benefit under this plan when all other qualifying retirement (age and service credits) requirements are met.  

I’ve heard my employer matches my contribution to the retirement system.  Why don’t I see that money in my account?

The employer does make contributions to the retirement system as required by Missouri Statutes.  The employer’s contributions are not part of an individual members’ accounts. Employer contributions go into a general fund at the retirement system to fund the benefits for members who retire from the retirement system. Employer contributions are not “a match” specific to your account.

If I terminate employment and satisfy the 60-day break in service rule, what are my options for withdrawing the funds from my retirement account?

A member can opt for: 

Lump sum payouts are considered taxable income and are subject to an immediate 20% deduction for federal withholding tax. In addition, if you are under the age of 59 ½ the IRS will generally access an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty when you file your year-end tax return. This penalty may not apply if you are 55 years old or older in the year in which your employment ends with the employer covered by this retirement system.  Please contact a tax advisor to see if the 10% penalty will apply to you.  

A rollover to a pre-tax “qualified” retirement account is generally not subject to the 20% federal income tax withholding or the 10% early withdrawal penalty.  By rolling over the money to a pre-tax “qualified” retirement account you are deferring the payment of taxes and penalty (if applicable) on this money until it is actually distributed to you.

I’m an active employee contributing to the retirement system.  What happens to my account if I die?

If you die, BEFORE you retire with KCPSRS,  KCPSRS will pay your primary beneficiary (as reflected on your signed beneficiary form) the balance of your account in the form of a lump sum payout, rollover, or combination lump sum payout/rollover.  If your primary beneficiary for the plan is a surviving spouse, a dependent child under age 19, or a dependent parent, the primary beneficiary may elect to receive a monthly retirement benefit. The monthly benefit for your spouse or dependent will be calculated under Option 1 (100% Joint & Survivor).

Every member of the retirement system should have completed and submitted a KCPSRS beneficiary designation form.  This beneficiary form designates the person(s) you selected as your primary beneficiary and contingent beneficiary.  If you have not completed a beneficiary designation form, are unsure if you have completed one, or are unsure who you have named as beneficiary, you can look at MY ACCOUNT on the KCPSRS website or contact the Retirement Office.

How are my retirement benefits calculated?

The various types of benefit calculations can be found on KCPSRS website in the ACTIVE MEMBERS tab. The standard retirement benefit calculation is equal to your average annual compensation (your four highest consecutive years of service) times a multiplier (2% if you are in Plan B and 1.75% if in Plan C) times your number years of creditable service years.  This calculation provides the annual standard retirement benefit amount. Divide it by 12 to determine your monthly benefit. At retirement you may choose from one of four payment options. Choosing a survivor option will result in a decreased amount, however guarantees a continued lifetime benefit to your survivor should you pass away.   

What if I want to work after I retire?

If you want to work in the KCMO School District, the Charter Schools, the Public Library or the Retirement Office, you are allowed to work in a part-time, temporary or long-term substitute capacity up to 600 hours in a 12-month period year (July 1 – June 30).  If you go over 600 hours, you must contact the Retirement Office so your retirement benefits can be suspended until the next school year begins.  (It important and your responsibility to track the number of hours you have worked).

If you return to work in a regular, full-time capacity in the aforementioned locations, you must also contact the Retirement Office. Your retirement benefits will be suspended until such time you retire again.

If you wish to work anywhere other than the KCMO School District, the Charter Schools, the Public Library or the Retirement Office, you may work as much as you desire and it will NOT affect your retirement benefits.

I want to retire at the end of the school year, but I’m planning to work summer school.  How does that work?

You must have at least a 15 working day break between your employment termination date and the beginning of your part-time or summer school assignment. Summer school work counts toward the 600 hour and salary limits. You must include summer school hours in your tracking of works worked.

Can I withdraw money from my retirement account while I am still employed by an employer covered by the retirement system?

Since membership in the Plan is a condition of employment, a withdrawal only available if your employment has ended and you have had a 60 day “break in service” since your employment ended. You may then request a refund of contributions and earned interest.

Loans and hardship distributions are not available with this type of plan.

What type of retirement plan am I in?

Our plan is a 401(a) Defined Benefit Plan.  By Missouri law, participation is a requirement and a condition of employment for all regular full-time employees of the Kansas City School District (KCMSD), the charter schools within the boundaries of KCMSD, the Kansas City Public Library (KCPL), and KCPSRS.

Additional Information:  Retirement plans generally fall under one of the above mentioned categories: Defined Benefit (DB) Plan or Defined Contribution (DC) Plan. Although both plans are ways to save for retirement, they are vastly different from each other.

A Defined Benefit (DB) Plan uses a definite formula by which individual benefits are calculated. In other words, the “benefit” formula is “defined”. As a member of a DB Plan you will be entitled to a lifetime monthly retirement benefit once you meet the eligibility requirements for retirement. The benefit does not change or drop when the stock market falters. A DB plan sponsor assumes responsibility for investment risk. Generally, DB Plans have a wider range of investment options than are available to individual DC plan investors, and are professionally managed at a much lower cost than an individual pays for an investment account.

In contrast, in a Defined Contribution (DC) Plan, the benefit is determined by how well the individual invests the account and the financial market conditions at and during retirement. The individual bears the investment risk and poor investment choices can result in inadequate retirement savings. With a DC Plan, individuals may outlive the funds available to them during retirement.  An examples of a DC Plan include a 401K, 403B, and 457.

Many people believe that a good retirement plan is having both a DB plan and a DC plan to provide a guaranteed lifetime benefit (the DB plan) and a supplemental income when needed or for a limited time period (the DC plan).

Where’s my retirement benefit monthly statement?

All retirees will receive a statement at the end of the year. At any time, you are able to access the detail of your monthly payment, and all previous payments, online at www.kcpsrs.org by clicking on the

MY ACCOUNT tab. If you have not yet registered for your private access to your account information, clicking on MY ACCOUNT will provide you directions needed.  MY ACCOUNT is a secure site. It is set up with online security similar to an online checking account to protect your private information.

I just retired and am anticipating my first benefit check but I haven’t received it in my checking account or my mailbox.  Where is it?

Your first benefit check will be mailed to you at the end of the month in which you retired.  For example: if you retired June 1, your first check will be mailed at the end of June.  We cannot reissue paper checks unless seven (7) days have passed from the original mailing date. A stop-payment fee may apply.

After the first benefit check, your benefit will be direct deposited to the account you provided to us on the last business day of every month. If you are not signed up for direct deposit, let us help you sign up. The direct deposit form can be found on the website.

I just turned in my paperwork for a withdrawal/refund of my contributions account but I haven’t received the payment yet.  Where is it?

You must have a break in service of 60 calendar days and 15 workdays before your refund paperwork can be accepted for processing. After that, your refund check will be processed and mailed on the 15th of the month, or if the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday, it will be mailed on the first working day after the 15th. Please allow your postal carrier to deliver the check to your address.