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The Suburbanite
  • Boards and Ballots: Bill allows more time for public pension benefits claim

  • State Representative Kirk Schuring’s first bill of the session seeks to tweak part of the pension reform bill he shepherded through the House last October.

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  • State Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township, introduced a bill Wednesday that would give local governments more time to notify certain people that they may be able to claim public pension benefits.
    People who may have provided “personal services” to a public employer but were never classified as a public employee may be eligible for benefits from the Public Employees Retirement System.
    Last year’s Senate Bill 343, which revamped PERS and how benefits would be calculated, requires public employers to notify these people by March 7 that they could seek a determination from the PERS board whether they could get benefits. The deadline for them to apply for the determination is January 2014.
    The law makes it clear that anyone who provided services to the public employers as part of their work for a contractor can’t get benefits.
    Schuring’s House Bill 67 would give state and local government agencies until Sept. 7 to notify the affected people, who would have until August 7, 2014 to seek the determination from the PERS board.
    Schuring, who chaired numerous public pension reform hearings last year, said the County Auditors’ Association of Ohio and County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio requested the extensions. Local governments wanted more time to come up with a process by which they would determine who was an independent contractor ineligible for benefits and who was a person who should have been classified for benefits.
    House Bill 67 has been assigned to the House Health and Aging Committee. Schuring stressed that the bill would not change how PERS benefits are calculated under Senate Bill 343.