Despite one big miss, most CT teachers’ pensions were delivered

Teachers' Retirement Board logoThe state failed to deliver teacher pension funds over the past decade in just 15 of more than 7,800 cases involving deaths – a failure rate of less than one-fifth of 1 percent, according to an interim report filed Monday.

Those pending cases represent about $1.2 million in undelivered benefits, the Connecticut Teachers’ Retirement Board also reported to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Monday’s report came in response to concerns raised in late May when state Auditors Robert M. Ward and John C. Geragosian disclosed the board chronically had failed to collect adequate contact information for beneficiaries for years.

This led to one teacher’s pension going uncollected for five years after a retiree’s death in 2009, denying an unnamed beneficiary $192,000. The auditors also disclosed that the board had never searched for this beneficiary as of April 2014.

Ward and Geragosian added that they feared other beneficiaries have not received funds because of the longstanding failure to collect contact information.

Malloy subsequently wrote to board administrator Darlene Perez, requesting a detailed report on undelivered benefits and problems with the system.

“We appreciate the quick response from the board and look forward to working with them on this issue,” Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba said of Monday’s interim report.

Perez’ office is expected to submit further details to the governor after it completes its review.

“It’s always a concern when people aren’t doing their job, and this was a case where someone wasn’t doing their job,” the governor said last month.

According to Perez’s report, six of the 15 unsettled accounts developed between 2009 and 2012 and involve about $400,000 in benefits. The other nine cases developed over the past year, “are in various stages of processing,” and have a gross value of about $800,000, she wrote.

Perez added that “regretfully, my staff did not provide [those details] to the auditors during their site work, which prompted the ensuing results.”

Perez told The Mirror shortly after the auditors’ report was issued last month that while the agency had failed for years to collect certain contact information for retired teachers’ designated beneficiaries, it recently changed that practice.

Perez also said that “our resources are at an extreme low. Updated software certainly would help.”

House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero, R-Norwalk, had suggested an independent forsenic review of the retirement board’s operations, which paid out more than $1.5 billion in benefits last year to more than 32,000 retired teachers or their beneficiaries.

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