“I have not come across another vendor in the state of Wisconsin that offers the level of customer service and the focus on educators like WEA Member Benefits does. The team at Member Benefits helped our district through a very important, necessary, and challenging project in which we needed to re-calibrate our post-employment benefits, and the level of knowledge Member Benefits provided and the willingness to roll up the sleeves and work with us on the project was so helpful.”
403(b) Plan Administration Services
Since 1972, Member Benefits has been partnering with districts to provide public school employees with access to a high-quality, low-cost 403(b) program—a program that has been nationally recognized by Forbes magazine and the Los Angeles Times. One reason more than 420 districts choose us as their provider is that we provide excellent recordkeeping and support service to district staff administering the program.
We also provide consultative services to employers to assist with:
- Compliance with 403(b) regulations.
- Adding benefits for staff without impacting the district’s budget.
- Solving deferred compensation problems.
- Setting up Roth 403(b) and automatic enrollment programs…and more.
Member Benefits is dedicated to helping Wisconsin public school districts build financial security for their employees.
We encourage employees to coordinate enrollment with their employer so that all forms are completed and sent to us before contributions are remitted. Contributions cannot be credited until we receive and process a signed 403(b) program application or we receive a completed online enrollment.
Your staff can easily enroll in our programs by:
- Completing our step-by-step online application.
- Completing and submitting a paper application. Visit our retirement forms page to print off the necessary documents, or call us to request a paper enrollment booklet.
- Calling one of our Retirement and Investment Services Specialists at 1-800-279-4030, Option 1 for assistance.
Salary Reduction Authorization form
This form allows an employee to give authorization for 403(b) contributions to be deducted from their paychecks.
We offer a standard 403(b) Salary Reduction Authorization (SRA) form for districts to use. However, if your district uses a customized SRA, make sure we have a current copy for our files to provide employees who call to enroll in your plan.
Note: IRA contributions should be made using the IRA contribution form.
Contribution Limit Calculation
Participants who have 15 years of service with your district may be eligible to contribute an additional amount to their 403(b) account. A Contribution Limit Calculation form should be completed for these individuals. If you have questions about a participant’s eligibility or need a calculation completed for a participant, contact us at 1-800-279-4030.
Increasingly popular in the private sector, automatic enrollment makes it easy for employees to start saving for their future. Many studies indicate that adding an auto enrollment feature to a plan helps increase participation rates and final earnings in individual accounts overall.
An automatic enrollment 403(b) plan offers many advantages:
- Helps attract and retain talented employees.
- Increases plan participation.
- Makes it easier for employees to begin saving for their future.
- Allows for salary deferrals into certain plan investments (i.e., target retirement funds) if employees don’t select their own investments.
- Offers tax-advantaged savings (ability to deduct employer contributions and defer tax on contributions and earnings until distribution).
If your district would like to offer automatic enrollment, we can help you:
- Design a 403(b) automatic enrollment plan for your district.
- Amend your 403(b) plan to set up your plan’s features.
- Create a communications plan that includes notices, education, investment options, automatic enrollment information packet, etc.
- Plan for ongoing financial education support.
A 403(b) matching and vesting program can offer substantial benefits to both employees and employers. For employers:
- It makes your district more competitive when recruiting quality staff and encourages employee retention.
- It provides an incentive for employees to participate in the 403(b) program and build financial security for their future.
Member Benefits can help you set up your program and provide record-keeping services at no charge.
Many employers take advantage of post-employment contributions to pay employee stipends or retiree benefits. These nonelective contributions may be made to the employee’s 403(b) account for up to five years following the year of retirement.
We are happy to speak with administrative personnel about this arrangement, address employees about the various benefits of post-employment contributions, and/or assist them with enrollment to accommodate these contributions.Learn more about post-employment options.
For information or assistance on any of these 403(b) program features, call us at 1-800-279-4030, Option 3.
Remitting contributions is easy.Log into your PLAN ACCESS
Our plan sponsor portal allows you to easily manage their 403(b) plan. Employers can:
- Administer your 403(b) plan.
- Remit electronically.
- View plan documents.
- View online salary reduction agreements.
- Update employee information.
Visit the yourPLAN ACCESS information page for instructional videos.
Log in to QuickLink
Through Member Benefits’ Trust Advantage™ program, your district can offer payroll deduction for auto, home, and umbrella insurance premiums as well as IRA contributions. It’s easy to set up, it provides employees a built-in budgeting option, and there is no cost to the district.
- ACH pull: Log onto your plan sponsor website, submit your 403(b) remittance file, and elect to have us pull your funds. You will need to complete a School District ACH Authorization form prior to this option being available in your plan sponsor website.
- ACH push: Submit your 403(b) remittance and then send the funds via ACH to us.
Log in to Common Remitter Service
Our common remitter service allows you to consolidate your 403(b) file for multiple vendors so you can remit one payroll file and payment for all of your employees.
- Who do I call to log in to an online portal for the first time?
- What if I need more help or information on an online portal?
- Our plan is being audited. What do I need to do to prepare?
- Why should my district consider using WEA Member Benefits’ plan documents?
- Why should my district consider online salary reduction agreements?
- What types of plan notices should I be sending to my staff, and when?
- Why would our district consider auto-enrollment?
- We would like to offer vesting benefits to our employees. How do we do this?
- How do I contact a Plan Administration Consultant?
Please call 1-800-279-4030, Option 1.
Please call 1-800-279-4030, Extension 1101.
Please call 1-800-279-4030, ext. 1638.
If at any time you are unable to log into your PLAN ACCESS, call 1-800-279-4030, Option 3 during regular business hours.
Helpful videos can be found on the your PLAN ACCESS information page on salary deferral, remittance processing, and importing a remittance file. If these videos do not address your difficulties, please call 1-800-279-4030, Option 1.
- Don’t panic!
- Notify vendors or, if applicable, your third-party administrator immediately and ask for all relevant files.
- Gather all relevant documents and files located on premises. Examples of relevant documents include the district’s 403(b) plan document, Universal Availability Notices, and remittance files.
- There is no cost to district for implementation or future updates.
- You have access to 403(b) experts dedicated to the compliance of your 403(b) plan.
- We use IRS pre-approved plan documents.
- It reduces paper use.
- Streamline processing of initial deferrals and deferral changes.
- Access reports prior to payroll with employee contribution changes.
- No need to keep paper copy of SRA as it is available online.
You must distribute the Universal Availability Notice and 415 Notices at least once per year to all eligible employees. As best practice, it’s recommended that you include the notice at the time W-2s are run and also include it in new hire packets.
Benefits for employers
- Demonstrates employer’s care and concern for employees in a tangible way.
- Offers employees an enhanced benefit plan at no additional cost to the employer (using WEA TSA Trust’s automatic enrollment feature).
- Administrative and technical support to the district’s business office without cost to the district (using WEA TSA Trust’s automatic enrollment feature).
Benefits for employees
- Helps jump-start financial security.
- Increases employee participation in the plan.
- Employees can opt out at any time.
WEA Member Benefits has helped many employers in the design, implementation, and administration of vesting benefits. Whether it is a discretionary contribution, matching contribution, or a combination of the two, we can help your district. To get started, call 1-800-279-4030, Option 3 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call 1-800-279-4030, Option 3 or email email@example.com. In the email, please include the reason for your request and the preferred method of contact.
Plan compliance regulations
Employers have a high level of responsibility for administering their 403(b) plan. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations require employers to:
- Monitor asset exchanges that are limited to employer-approved providers.
- Select and approve providers for your plan.
- Delegate and establish reporting requirements for compliance with contributions to and distributions from approved providers.
- Provide timely remittance of salary reduction contributions.
- Adopt a written plan document describing plan provisions and procedures.
The effective date for compliance with the Pension Protection Act in 2006 for 403(b) plans IRS regulations was January 1, 2009. The final 403(b) regulations in 2009 required that the plan be governed by a plan document. Documents that went into effect were done on a “best effort” basis but did not have IRS approval.
In 2017, the IRS established the requirements and procedures for approved documents. The IRS is encouraging employers to restate their 403(b) plans using these pre-approved plan documents and has set a deadline of March 31, 2020, for getting this done. Along with using documents that have a seal of approval from the IRS, restatement also provides opportunities to fix plan errors before they become more serious or are discovered during an audit. We are happy to assist you and your district with the restatement of your plan documents through our value-added plan document services.
Member Benefits provides sample documents to assist you with the development of your 403(b) program. These documents were developed based on the IRS model plan language, but they may not satisfy all the needs of your specific 403(b) program. They are not intended to constitute legal or tax advice. We suggest you consult your legal and tax advisor(s) prior to adopting any documents for your 403(b) program.
Our plan document packet includes samples of a plan document, adoption agreement, service provider agreement, board resolution, and information sharing agreement. Contact us to request a sample packet.
Our commitment to your district
In addition to providing a sample 403(b) plan document package, WEA Member Benefits can:
- Maintain a list of all your approved providers and products.
- Monitor exchanges for approved providers.
- Perform Contribution Limit Calculations and monitor catch-ups.
- Administer hardship distributions and provide deferral suspension notices.
- Administer distributions and give notice to providers.
- Provide notices for and administer Required Minimum Distributions.
If you are audited
The 403(b) plan audit
The final 403(b) regulations have essentially eliminated the ability for a plan sponsor to limit involvement in matters of plan administration. IRS officials are auditing more and more 403(b) plans, so compliance with the new regulations is very important. A standardized process of documenting policies and procedures for your 403(b) plan will certainly prove useful in the event of a plan audit, or simply as a method of archiving important plan history for your potential successors.
- Best practices on how to prepare for a 403(b) plan audit
- Additional IRS resources for plan audits are available at www.irs.gov/retirement-plans.
Considering a third-party administrator?
When the final 403(b) regulations were released, many employers sought out third-party administrators (TPAs) to help administrate their plan. However, many employers have discovered a TPA can create more difficulties for employees wishing to participate in the plan, create more work and processes for the employer, and be costly.
With the aid of WEA Member Benefits plan administration consulting services, many districts have learned how simple self-administering a 403(b) plan can be. Our team works with you to create processes that allow you to run an efficient and compliant plan.
For more information or assistance, call us at 1-800-279-4030.
Regulations and proposed legislation
Very often tax legislation affects retirement plans. The 403(b) regulations and the advent of Roth 403(b) accounts, automatic enrollment programs and in-plan conversions are examples of how legislative changes can impact retirement plans.
We provide consultative services for employers regarding issues that may impact how you provide retirement plans to your employees. To discuss current or proposed legislation or to schedule a conference with a member of the Plan Administration Team, call 1-800-279-4030, ext. 8579.
Plan Administration Team
Check the background of our investment professionals on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.
Chris Holtzman, Plan Administration Specialist
Chris Holtzman has been with WEA Member Benefits since 2003 and has over 20 years of experience in the retirement and investment services industry. In her current position, Chris provides 403(b) plan administration consulting and training for plan sponsors (school districts) who participate in the WEA TSA Trust 403(b) program. She also communicates with plan sponsors about relevant IRS compliance issues.
More and more employers take advantage of post-employment contributions to pay employee stipends or retiree benefits. These nonelective contributions may be made to the employee’s 403(b) account for up to five years following the year of retirement.
The benefit—neither the employer nor employee is subject to FICA taxes.
We are happy to speak with administrative personnel about this arrangement, address employees about the various benefits of post-employment contributions, and/or assist them with enrollment to accommodate these contributions.
Roth contributions in a 403(b) plan are elective contributions made after income taxes are withheld. The interest and earnings withdrawn from a Roth 403(b) account are tax-free if the distribution is considered qualified.
The Roth 403(b) option is an added benefit for staff and there is no cost to the district for offering this option.
Automatic enrollment in 403(b) plans
Many workers are looking for an easier way to get started in their employer’s retirement plan. An abundance of investment choices and paperwork can be overwhelming barriers that may prevent participation in an offered retirement plan.
Automatic enrollment makes it easy for employees to start saving for their future immediately by avoiding some of the complex decision making that sometimes hinders them from taking action.Learn more about automatic enrollment.