Enhancements Underway at ICMA-RC
ICMA-RC is excited about improvements to our systems and processes, specifically a new telephony platform with an enhanced Interactive Voice Response (IVR) self-service system, new online withdrawal features, and redesigned EZLink Web portal. These enhancements will roll out over the coming months.
Enhanced IVR System
We are enhancing our IVR system, the automated phone system participants use to obtain account information. The enhancements include streamlined menu options, proactive messaging, automatic number identification, and account information for participants who speak Spanish.
Ongoing feedback from participants and plan sponsors as well as experts in the telephony industry guided our enhancements. ICMA-RC sponsored a series of research groups to get feedback from actual participants on the convenience and navigability of our IVR system. In addition, we conducted a survey of plan sponsors to get their input on specific changes. Among plan sponsors responding to the survey, over 90 percent approved of the enhancements.
Because most participants who call ICMA-RC are seeking to talk to a call center representative, the enhancements to the IVR system will help to ensure that participants are directed to the appropriate representative efficiently, avoiding unnecessary steps in the process and improving participants' overall experience.
New Online Withdrawal Features
ICMA-RC is enhancing the withdrawal options available to participants in 457 or 401 plans that allow online withdrawals, and to Vantagepoint IRA owners. The new online withdrawal options, to roll out later this year, will be available within Account Access and include the following:
- Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) — Participants over age 70½ who have separated from service will be able to request RMD payments. (This feature is also available to Traditional IRA owners once they reach age 70½.)
- 72(t) Payment Schedules — Participants and Traditional IRA owners under age 59½ will be able to request substantially equal periodic payments that qualify for an exception to the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty under Internal Revenue Code Section 72(t).
- Source Depletion Orders — Participants with assets in one account that holds different sources (for example, a 457 account with both 457 contributions and 401 rollover assets) will be able to specify the order withdrawals are taken from those sources.
The new features will enable more participants and IRA owners to utilize the online withdrawal service and reduce the need for paper forms. For plans that allow online withdrawals, as well as all IRA owners, the new options will be made available automatically.
If your plan does not yet allow participants to request withdrawals online, you can elect to make this service available by having an authorized plan representative complete and return an Online Services Change Form.
Redesigned EZLink Website
EZLink, ICMA-RC's online portal for plan administration, is undergoing a redesign to further ease the plan administration process for plan sponsors and increase their ability to assist participants.
In early 2015, plan sponsors will see several changes, including streamlined page options, easier navigation, and improved search capabilities. We will continue to provide you with updates as we get closer to the launch date.
Look for more information on these enhancements in future Employer Bulletins.