State Retiree Benefits Fact Sheet – Nebraska

  • December 18, 2007
Nebraska's pension plans are in reasonably good shape and the state has been responsible in meeting its annual required contributions. Nebraska is one of seven states that had not completed its actuarial valuation of nonpension benefits at the time of Pew's report, but the liabilities are likely to be very small because the state is one of only two that offers no retiree health benefits for retirees over age 65. (For non-pension benefits, this report looked only at state employees, not at teachers.) Nebraska made a major shift in its state employee pension benefit system in 2002, closing the defined contribution plan that had existed since the 1960s to new members as of January 1, 2003. In its place, Nebraska developed a “cash balance plan,” with a guaranteed annual rate of return for retirees, which can be pushed higher if investment earnings warrant. This addressed a problem in the defined contribution approach. The state's data had shown that employees in the original defined contribution plan were ending up with skimpier pension payments than the state's teachers, who had a traditional defined benefit plan.