Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called Wednesday for a report by month’s end on the number of teachers’ pension beneficiaries who have not received payments in a timely fashion.
Responding to a warning last week from the state auditors, Malloy wrote to Darlene Perez, executive director of the Teachers’ Retirement Board, also asking what steps are being taken to avoid future mistakes.
Auditors Robert M. Ward and John C. Geragosian notified the governor last week that the board had failed for five years to deliver – or even attempt to contact – a teacher’s pension beneficiary owed almost $200,000.
The auditors also said they fear that the board – which administers pension payments for more than 30,000 retired Connecticut teachers and their beneficiaries – has failed to contact others due money.
“It should go without saying that we have a responsibility to live up to the promises that were made to people who diligently serve our public school students,” Malloy wrote Wednesday.
House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero, R-Norwalk, called last week for an independent review of the retirement board’s operations. “This has been going on for years, according to the auditors, with no system in place to track who gets what,” he said.
As part of a regular audit of retirement board operations, Ward and Geragosian’s office discovered the five-year-overdue payment by studying a random sample of cases.
That review also disclosed that while the retirement board had been gathering extensive contact information from teachers, it only had been collecting names and Social Security Numbers for those teachers’ designated beneficiaries.
Though most of these beneficiaries involve a teacher’s spouse or other family member, the plan does not require that beneficiaries be relatives.
Perez told The Mirror last week that she doesn’t believe the problem is widespread, but estimated there are one or two dozen cases of undelivered benefits worth a total of about $1.5 million. The state paid about $1.5 billion in total benefits last year to retired teachers and their beneficiaries.
While the agency had failed for years to collect certain contact information for retired teachers’ designated beneficiaries, it changed that practice last week, she said.
Perez added that “our resources are at an extreme low. Updated software certainly would help.”