State Treasurer Urges Caution to Those Making Withdrawals From Retirement Funds

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has many Delawareans, and people around the country, rethinking their savings plans, including saving for retirement. While “staying the course” is typically the safest way to maintain your position in an unstable market, sometimes changes are essential.

Speaking to the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Society of Philadelphia, Delaware Treasurer Colleen Davis said help is available with provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allowing people who need cash to get it without typical fees and penalties.

The CARES Act allows for those affected by coronavirus who may need additional funds from their retirement plans to get disbursements of up to $100 thousand during the current calendar year (through December 30th, 2020).

“As people are going through these extremely difficult times, this is a little bit of a fail-safe for them, and it does make it so they’re able to access funds that would have been much more difficult to access,” Treasurer Davis said. “At the same time, these plans are meant for saving for the future and I caution that we’re not doing a knee jerk response and withdrawing funds that we think we’re going to need but don’t necessarily know for sure that we’ll need a large distribution. It’s important to work with your plan administrator to find the best options.”

Treasurer Davis noted the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) just announced the coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) are not subject to the typical 10% penalty for withdrawals made prior to age 59 ½, and though they are still subject to income tax, those taxes can be paid over a three-year period, Additionally, taxpayers that take the CRDs will have three years to repay their plans.

The CARES Act defines a qualifying person as:

  • Having tested positive and been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Having a dependent or spouse who has tested positive and been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Experiencing financial hardship due to them, their spouse or a member of their household:
    • Being quarantined, furloughed or laid off or having reduced work hours
    • Being unable to work due to lack of childcare
    • Closing or reducing hours of a business that they own or operate
    • Having pay or self-employment income reduced
    • Having a job offer rescinded or start date for a job delayed

“While I want people to save for the future and to continue to invest in themselves and for their retirement, I also understand how critical it can be for so many families to make these withdrawals,” Davis said.


Labor Secretary John McMahon to Retire after Seven-Year Tenure

Guided Department’s efforts to create more opportunities for Delaware workers

Wilmington, DE – Having successfully led the Department of Labor’s efforts to support Delaware workers during one of the most challenging times in the state’s history, Secretary John McMahon announced today that he would retire to spend more time with his family. An effective date, as well as Governor Markell’s nominee to replace him, will be announced in the coming days.

“John’s work has driven tremendous progress throughout the Department of Labor, while dealing with the unprecedented demands for Department services during a time when so many workers needed assistance as a result of the Great Recession,” said Markell. “Importantly, he has also played a vital role in helping our state tap into the talents of groups who were too often unable to access the employment opportunities they deserved, from recently returning veterans to people with disabilities. I am grateful for John’s passionate service and wish him and his family the best in everything that comes next.”

One of the signature accomplishments of Secretary McMahon’s leadership involved the vast improvement of Delaware’s online resources to support workers in improving their resumes and identifying job openings, while assisting employers in finding well-qualified Delawareans to fill company needs. Tens of thousands of workers have used these services, with more than 60 percent of Delawareans who use the services of the Division of Employment and Training now gaining employment within 90 days. That’s up from 42 percent in June 2010.

In the state’s new resume builder application, workers input their skills and experiences into a program that churns out a professional resume that more clearly indicates their strengths. Employers can then search the database for the people who are most likely to fit in their companies. In addition, the Department has launched web-enabled career lattices focusing on the manufacturing, IT, finance, retail, and hospitality sectors. These tools give workers an easy way to determine jobs for which they qualify in growing fields and the skills they need to acquire to help advance their careers.

Additional progress made during McMahon’s tenure includes:

  • Veterans: Unemployment rate for most recent returning veterans (age 18-34) has dropped from 14.5% (2010) to 5% (2014), following an intensive effort to engage the business community in considering these individuals.
    • From 2009 to 2014, the Department’s Veterans Program experienced a 55% increase in positive employment outcomes for all veterans served and a 40% increase for disabled veterans.
  • People with Disabilities: The Department has partnered with businesses statewide to help improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities and a recent study ranked Delaware first in getting youth receiving social security disability benefits into employment.
    • The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s efforts to connect people with disabilities to employment opportunities resulted in benefit savings of $1.65 million in 2014, compared to less than $1 million prior to 2008.
  • Workplace Safety: The number of injuries and illnesses causing employees to miss work decreased by nearly 23 percent from 2008 to 2013, from 3,690 to 2,860.
    • During this time, the Department’s Division of Industrial Affairs has increased outreach to provide free workplace inspections to Delaware employers.

“It has been my highest honor to lead the Department of Labor and the truly dedicated and committed staff who worked tirelessly throughout the Great Recession,” said McMahon. “I am grateful to Governor Markell for this incredible experience and for the chance to be part of the dedicated efforts of so many state leaders to support our citizens through both recession and recovery. While it is not easy to leave the many Labor employees who work so hard every day on behalf of our state, this job demands a tremendous commitment and I feel it is necessary to step down to have more time to spend with my family.”

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Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Lew Schiliro to Leave Administration after Successful Tenure Marked by Increased Public Safety Measures Statewide

Governor nominates former Wilmington Public Safety Director to build on tremendous progress

Wilmington, DE – After leading the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security for more than six years, Secretary Lew Schiliro, an original member of Governor Markell’s cabinet, announced his plans to retire. He intends to take time off before returning to teaching and the private sector.

“Lew has been a trusted advisor and a strong leader, and I am grateful to him for his many contributions over the last seven years,” said Governor Markell. “I will miss his leadership and counsel and I wish him well as he enters the next phase of his life.”

The Governor will nominate Jim Mosley, a former Wilmington Public Safety Director with a distinguished career of public service in the military and law enforcement, to succeed Schiliro and continue the Department’s efforts. Markell will submit his nomination to the State Senate for consideration during a special session on October 28.

“Jim has dedicated his life to ensuring the safety and security of others,” said Governor Markell. “If confirmed by the Senate, his experience, skills, and passion for service, combined with the strong relationships he’s built, will support our ongoing efforts to strengthen public safety across our state.”

With a career spanning more than 40 years, Mosley has worked with local, state, federal and international agencies in a variety of code and law enforcement environments including overt and covert operations. During his career as an officer in the Military Police Corps, he served throughout the United States, Cuba, Honduras and Europe as a law enforcement officer and liaison between U.S. and Allied Country Law Enforcement and Security personnel. While assigned to NATO Headquarters in Belgium, he coordinated the security for the Supreme Allied Commander and commanded his personal security team.

“I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to support the tremendous efforts underway in Delaware,” said Mosley. “If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to working with the dedicated men and women who pledge to keep our communities safe, as we continue implementing successful public safety strategies for the State of Delaware.”

During his time as Secretary, Schiliro brought a wealth of experience to Delaware as a 25-year veteran with the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. After retiring from the F.B.I. Secretary Schiliro held several leadership positions at M.B.N.A. Bank, the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City, and A. I. G. Insurance.

“First, I express my heartfelt thanks to the Governor for giving me an incredible opportunity to work with the men and women of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security,” Schiliro said. “Their dedication, enthusiasm, and compassion for all Delawareans has truly been an inspiration that I have witnessed every day. Secondly, I express my appreciation to each and every member of the Department for what they do, for who they are and most importantly for their commitment to the people of the State of Delaware. It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve with each and every one of them.”

In recent years, the Delaware State Police has seen favorable trends in its violent crime statistics.  DSP saw a 10 % decline in number of violent crimes investigated in 2013. For this year, DSP is experiencing an 8% decrease in the number of violent crimes. These violent crimes include homicides, kidnapping, forcible sex offenses, robbery and assaults.

Key accomplishments advancing Governor Markell’s public safety agenda under Schiliro include:

Creation of State Gun Investigation Unit: The new team at State Police will focus on firearm transactions as well as developing statewide strategies to better enforce our gun purchasing laws to prevent and uncover straw purchases, weapons trafficking and all illegal sales.

Strengthening Gun Laws: Secretary Schiliro’s advocacy helped the state pass a new background checks law to close the private sale loophole. Another law mandating the reporting of lost or stolen firearms, is designed to deter gun trafficking and discourage straw purchases. It requires owners to report a firearm loss or theft within 48 hours of discovery.

Comprehensive School Safety Program: Delaware has become the first state to have a fully operational statewide safety and planning program. All Delaware public schools now have comprehensive safety plans that reside in a web-based electronic central repository making the plans accessible through the Internet and on smartphones, laptops and similar devices.

Creation of Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE):   In its first year (2009), DGE worked with Harrington Raceway, Dover Downs, and Delaware Park to get table games up and running. The division instituted a regional intelligence sharing network with regulatory authorities from surrounding states to ensure coordination on issues of mutual concern.

Creation of New Division of Forensic Science/Commission of Forensic Science: New legislation reorganized forensic science functions within the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and provides for a Director to run the agency. A newly established Forensic Science Commission provides important oversight and assistance to the Division.

Enhanced Court Security (Capitol PD): Violence Intervention Program (VIP) created to identify and mitigate potential acts of violence that may be perpetrated against victims/petitioners while attending judicial proceedings in the State’s courts.

DSP Maritime Unit: The DSP Maritime Unit is currently the only agency working within our State and local government with a full-time maritime and homeland security mission.

Crime Reduction Assistance to City of Wilmington

Operation Pressure Point: In collaboration with Wilmington police, DSHS lead an initiative to combat violent crime in the City of Wilmington. The Delaware State Police assigned troopers three nights a week to a high crime area of the City to provide high visibility patrols in most violent prone sectors.

High Visibility Operation: In August 2014, the Delaware State Police took part in a high visibility joint operation within the city limits of Wilmington to target the quality of life crime/issues occurring along the N. Market St. (Route 13 N) corridor.

Gun Buy Back: DSP troopers partnered with Wilmington police and New Castle County police to collect more than 2,000 firearms during the State’s Buy Back. This one-day collection far exceeded expectations and resulted in the distribution of gift cards totaling more than $200,000.

Public Safety Strategies Commission: The Commission was established by House Joint Resolution No. 2, which was sponsored by the entire Wilmington delegation of the General Assembly and co-sponsored by all other members of the legislature. The Commission, chaired by Secretary Schiliro and Joseph Bryant, Jr., Director of Public Safety for New Castle County, was tasked with carrying out a rapid, fact-based, intensive examination of public safety strategies in the City and offering recommendations to address Wilmington’s significant problem with violent crime. The Department retained the Police Foundation of Washington, D.C. and Vigilant Resources International of New York to serve as consultants and assist the Commission in its work. The consultants provided a comprehensive report outlining specific strategies to help the Wilmington Police Department address crime in the City.

Additional Measures to Protect the Public

Regulations Governing Travel Restrictions During State Of Emergency: A three-tier system, unique to Delaware, has proven to be a highly efficient way to control traffic during critical weather events.

Special Needs Registry: DSHS launched an online emergency registry to help citizens with special needs prepare for an emergency before it happens. The emergency preparedness registry is linked to a secure database which ties into the State’s 911 system making this valuable information immediately accessible to 911 dispatchers.

700 MHz Communications System for Department of Corrections: The Division of Communications implemented a highly efficient cost savings program to provide a new 700 MHz communications system within the Department of Correction (DOC) improving communication capabilities within all prison facilities and for the first time, providing a direct connection to emergency responders statewide.

800MHz Communications System Technology Refresh Program: The Division of Communications is moving forward with the signing of a contract for the 800MHZ Communications System Technology Refresh Program. Since the initial deployment of the 800 MHz system in 1993, the State has made strategic investments to augment its capabilities, increase its performance and sustain its operability. This Technology Refresh Program positions the system for continued operations through 2024.

Statewide Body Worn Camera Pilot: Following an extensive evaluation by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS) of the benefits and challenges of effectively implementing body cameras on law enforcement officers, Governor Markell and Secretary Schiliro recently announced plans for State and Municipal police officers to participate in a 30-45 day trial, using about a dozen body cameras throughout the state. The pilot will allow for the study of a number of complex privacy, procedural, and technical issues to ensure successful deployment of the cameras.

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Delawareans Should Start Planning Now For Retirement

Delawareans Should Start Planning Now For Retirement

Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart Joins
National Effort to Promote Retirement Planning

 

DOVER, DE—Each day about 10,000 Baby Boomers enter their retirement years. They are members of a generation who are largely unsure of their financial future, as demonstrated by the latest research findings from the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI). For five years, IRI has seen Baby Boomers’ confidence in their financial preparations for retirement steadily dropping, with barely a quarter optimistic about their situation in 2015.

 

While Baby Boomers have redefined life at every corner, their lasting legacy may be in how Americans prepare for their retirement years. Through the course of their working years, a unique set of challenges has emerged, including changes in employee benefits, longer life spans, uncertainty with Social Security and Medicare, as well as the rising cost of health care. This new paradigm is largely responsible for the Baby Boomers’ confidence deficit.

 

The National Retirement Planning Coalition – a group of prominent education, consumer advocacy, and financial services organizations – says this does not have to be the case. Crafting a holistic financial plan for retirement can restore confidence and build savings for retirement. To help spread its message, the Coalition has organized National Retirement Planning Week, an effort to help consumers focus on their financial needs in retirement.

 

The Delaware Department of Insurance is supports National Retirement Planning Week 2015, which takes place April 13 through 17. “We understand how the pressure of looking at the future can make planning for retirement initially seem daunting, but it certainly doesn’t have to be,” says Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart. “Routinely reviewing your finances and assessing your financial preparedness for retirement is a good first step. Being proactive about planning and seeking professional guidance when warranted can help you achieve financial security in the golden years.”

 

The Coalition, led by IRI, recognizes that the need to educate Americans on retirement planning is an ongoing effort and is committed to making this a national priority. National Retirement Planning Week and other coalition activities will demonstrate that it is possible to “Retire On Your Terms” if you properly develop and manage a comprehensive retirement plan. To support these educational efforts, the Coalition has collected the latest resources to help consumers and financial professionals focus on long-term financial goals. These tools are available year-round at www.retireonyourterms.org

 

The Coalition and its supporters will release additional educational materials in conjunction with the event’s agenda. The Coalition will also encourage retirement planning through nationally distributed radio, television and print spots, a coordinated media outreach program, and a host of events throughout the week.

 

Check the Delaware Department of Insurance’s Facebook page and Twitter feed for more information.

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Contact: Jerry Grant, 302-674-7303

Delaware Department of Insurance: “Protecting Delawareans through regulation
and education while providing oversight of the insurance industry to best serve the public.”

More information about annuities can be found at http://delawareinsurance.gov/departments/consumer/annuities.shtml


Statement by Governor Markell on Retirement of Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Berger

Wilmington, DE – Governor Markell today announced he has received formal written notice from The Honorable Carolyn Berger, Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, of Justice Berger’s intention to retire from the Supreme Court effective September 1, 2014. In connection with that notice, Governor Markell issued the following statement:

 “For more than three decades, Justice Carolyn Berger has served the State of Delaware with distinction as a member of the finest judiciary in the nation. As the first female member of both the Delaware Court of Chancery and the Delaware Supreme Court, Justice Berger ‘broke through the glass ceiling’ not once but twice. Justice Berger is a trailblazing jurist whose commitment to justice is second to none.  I salute her for her service to the State of Delaware and wish her all the best as she moves toward retirement.”

Justice Berger was appointed as a Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery in 1984, where she served until her appointment to the Delaware Supreme Court in 1994. Prior to being appointed to the bench, Justice Berger served as a Deputy Attorney General with the Delaware Department of Justice; as an associate at Prickett, Ward, Burt & Sanders; and as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Justice Berger is a graduate of the University of Rochester, Boston University (M.Ed.), and the Boston University School of Law (J.D.).