Former state employees who still get their retirement benefits in the form of paper checks will have to make a change in the next year. The board of trustees for the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System has voted to go entirely paperless.
The vast majority of the state’s 108-thousand retirees already use direct deposit, but just under four percent still get their checks in the mail. Officials say there’s too much overhead with checks-beyond the cost of the benefits, the state has to buy the actual checks and pay workers to process them. Plus, checks can get lost in the mail or stolen out of mailboxes.
Over the next nine months, those still holding out for paper checks will be encouraged to go ahead and switch to direct deposit. Then, come March of next year, their only choice will be that or a debit card that the state can add to each month.
The timing of the change coincides with the federal government’s switch to paperless Social Security benefits.
On a similar note, the accounting forms that show how much a local government withdrew from worker’s salary to pay into the retirement system will soon have to be submitted digitally-no paper there, either. And in a change that was mandated by the state legislature, the system is gearing up to let retirees opt to split their benefits equally between multiple loved ones after their death. Currently, state retirees must choose a single beneficiary.