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The Commissioners' Association of Ohio Deferred Compensation Program is a powerful tool to help you reach your retirement dreams. As a supplement to other retirement benefits or savings that you may have, this voluntary Plan allows you to save and invest extra money for retirement... tax-deferred!

Not only will you defer taxes immediately, you may build extra savings consistently and automatically, have a variety of investment options to select from, and learn more about saving and investing for your financial future.

Read these highlights to learn more about your Plan, and how simple it is to enroll.

Getting Started


What is a 457 deferred compensation plan?
A 457 Plan1 is a retirement savings plan that allows eligible employees to supplement any existing retirement and pension benefits by saving and investing pre-tax dollars through a voluntary salary contribution. Contributions and any earnings on contributions are tax-deferred until money is withdrawn. Distributions are usually taken after retirement when many participants are typically receiving less income, and may be in a lower income tax bracket than while working. Distributions are subject to ordinary income tax.

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Why should I participate in the Commissioners' Association of Ohio Deferred Compensation Program?
You may want to participate if you are interested in saving and investing additional money for retirement and/or reducing the amount of current state and federal income tax you pay each year. Your Commissioners' Association of Ohio Deferred Compensation Program can be an excellent tool to help make your future more secure.

You may also qualify for a federal income tax credit by participating in this Plan. For more information about this tax credit, please contact your Great-West Retirement Services® representative.

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Is there any reason why I should not participate in the Plan?
Participating may not be advantageous if you are experiencing financial difficulties, have excessive debt, do not have an adequate emergency fund (typically in an easy-to-access account), or if you expect to be in a higher tax bracket during your retirement.

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Who is eligible to enroll?
All current full-time and part-time benefited County employees in Ohio are immediately eligible to participate in the Plan.

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How do I enroll?
Complete the appropriate enrollment forms indicating the amount you wish to contribute, your investment option selection(s), and a beneficiary designation(s). These are available from your Plan representatives and on the Plan Web site at www.ccao457.com.2 Please return the form(s) to your Great-West Retirement Services representative.

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What are the contribution limits?
The minimum pre-tax contribution to the Plan is $10 per pay. In 2010, the maximum contribution amount is 100% of your compensation, less any mandatory before-tax contributions to a governmental pension plan, or $16,500, whichever is less. It may be indexed in $500 increments after 2010. Also, participants turning age 50 or older in 2010 may contribute an additional $5,500 per year.

Participants in the 457 Plan have an opportunity to catch-up and contribute more during the final years of their career. "Standard" catch-up allows participants in the three calendar years prior to normal retirement age to contribute more (up to double the annual contribution limit - $33,000 in 2010) into the 457 Plan. The additional amount that you may be able to contribute under the "Standard" catch-up option will depend upon the amounts that you were able to contribute in previous years but did not. You may not use the "Standard" catch-up provision and the Age 50+ catch-up provision in the same year.

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What are my investment options?
A wide array of core investment options is available through your Plan. Each option is explained in further detail in your Plan's fund data sheets. Investment option information is also available through the Web site at www.ccao457.com and KeyTalk®, toll free at (888) 672-7240. The Web site and KeyTalk® are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.2

In addition to the core investment options, a Self-Directed Brokerage Account (SDBA) option account is available through TD Ameritrade, Inc. . The SDBA allows you to select from numerous mutual funds for additional fees. These securities are not offered through GWFS Equities, Inc. The SDBA is intended for knowledgeable investors who acknowledge and understand the risks associated with the investments contained in the SDBA.

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Managing Your Account

How do I keep track of my account?
Great-West Retirement Services will mail you a quarterly account statement showing your account balance and activity. You can also check your account balance and move money between investment options on the Web site at www.ccao457.com or by calling KeyTalk® at (888) 672-7240.2

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How do I make investment option changes?
Use your Personal Identification Number3 (PIN) and Username to access the Web site or you can use your Social Security Number and PIN to access KeyTalk®.2 You can move all or a portion of your existing balances between investment options (subject to Plan rules) and change how your payroll contributions are invested.

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How do I make contribution changes?
You can obtain a Salary Deferral Agreement form from your Great-West Retirement Services representative or the Plan web site at www.ccao457.com. Return the completed, signed form to the Ohio Service Center.

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Rollovers

May I roll over my account from my former employer's plan?
Yes. But only approved balances from an eligible governmental 457(b), 401(k), 403(b) or 401(a) plan or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) may be rolled over to the Plan. Please check with your Great-West Retirement Services representative regarding any applicable fees on the rollover account.

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May I roll over my account if I leave employment with my current employer?
If you sever employment with your current employer, you may roll over your account balance to another eligible governmental 457(b), 401(k), 403(b) or 401(a) plan if your new employer's plan accepts such rollovers. You may also roll over your account balance to an IRA.

Please keep in mind that if you roll over your 457 Plan balance to a 401(k), 403(b) or 401(a) plan or an IRA, distributions taken before age 59½ may also be subject to the 10% early withdrawal federal tax penalty. Please contact your Great-West Retirement Services representative for more information.

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Vesting

When am I vested in the Plan?
Vesting refers to the percentage of your account you are entitled to receive from the Plan upon the occurrence of a distributable event. Your contributions to the Plan and any earnings they generate are always 100% vested (including rollovers from previous employers).

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Distributions

When can I receive a distribution from my account?
Qualifying distribution events are as follows:

  • Retirement;
  • Permanent disability;
  • Unforeseeable emergency within the Plan guidelines (as defined by the Internal Revenue Code and if allowed by your Plan's provisions);
  • Severance of employment (as defined by Internal Revenue Code provisions);
  • Attainment of age 70½ (if allowed by your Plan);
  • Death (your beneficiary receives your benefits);
  • In-service transfer to purchase service credit.
Each distribution is subject to ordinary income tax except for an in-service transfer to purchase service credit.

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What are my distribution options?
You have flexibility in deciding the start date of your distributions when you sever employment and can tailor a payment schedule to meet your personal financial planning needs. When you are eligible for a distribution, you may:

  1. Leave the value of your account in the Plan until a future date;
  2. Depending on the terms of your Plan you may be able to receive payment in the following form:
    • periodic payments;
    • fixed annuity payments (annuities are offered through Great-West Life & Annuity);
    • partial lump sum with remainder paid as periodic payments or annuity payments;
    • a lump sum;
  3. Roll over your account balance to an eligible governmental 457(b), 401(k), 403(b) or 401(a) plan or to an IRA.

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What happens to my account when I die?
Your designated beneficiary(ies) will receive the remaining value of your account, if any. Your beneficiary(ies) must contact a Great-West Retirement Services representative to request a distribution.

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Fees

Are there any recordkeeping or administrative fees to participate in the Plan?
There are no recordkeeping or administrative fees to participate in the Plan, and there is no annual Contract Maintenance Charge.

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Are there any fees for the investment options?
Each investment option has an investment management fee that varies by investment option. These fees are deducted by each investment option’s management company before the daily price or performance is calculated. Fees pay for trading individual securities in the underlying investment options and other management expenses.

Funds may impose redemption fees on certain transfers, redemptions or exchanges.

CCAO is paid a fee from fund revenue for providing oversight, staff and other costs to operate the Plan.

Are there any fees for participating in the SDB account?
There is a fee of $15 per quarter deducted from your account. There are also transaction fees charged by TD AMERITRADE and investment management fees for the investment options you select.

Are there any distribution fees?
There are no Plan distribution fees.

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Taxes

How does my participation in the Plan affect my taxes?
Because your contributions are taken out of your paycheck before taxes are calculated, you pay less in current income tax. You do not report any current earnings or losses on your account on your current income tax return either. Your account is tax-deferred until you withdraw money, usually at retirement.

Distributions from the Plan are taxable as ordinary income during the years in which they are distributed or made available to you or to your beneficiary(ies).

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Investment Assistance

How can I get help choosing my investment options?
Your Plan offers access to three different levels of investment advisory tools and services called Reality Investing® Advisory Services. If you prefer to manage your retirement account on your own, there are two services. You can use Online Investment Guidance and/or Online Investment Advice. A third service is to have Advised Assets Group, LLC (AAG), an investment advisory services firm and wholly owned subsidiary of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, manage your retirement account for you. These services provide a retirement strategy based on your investment goals, time horizon and tolerance for risk. There is no guarantee that participation in the Reality Investing Advisory Services will result in a profit or that your account will outperform a self-managed portfolio.

For more detailed information, please visit your Plan's Web site at www.ccao457.com, enter your Username and PIN, then click on the Reality Investing tab. Or you may call KeyTalk at (888) 672-7240, enter your Social Security number and PIN, press "6," and then "3" to speak to an AAG adviser representative4.

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1 All references to the 457 Plan are to a governmental 457(b) plan.
2 Access to KeyTalk® and the Web site may be limited or unavailable during periods of peak demand, market volatility, systems upgrades and maintenance, or other reasons. Transfer requests made via the Web site or KeyTalk® received on business days prior to close of the New York Stock Exchange (4:00 p.m. Eastern Time or earlier on some holidays or other special circumstances) will be initiated at the close of business the same day the request was received. The actual effective date of your transaction may vary depending on the investment option selected.
3 The account owner is responsible for keeping the assigned PIN confidential. Please contact Great-West Retirement Services immediately if you suspect any unauthorized use.
4 Representatives of GWFS Equities, Inc. are not registered investment advisers, and cannot offer financial, legal or tax advice. Please consult with your financial planner, attorney and/or tax adviser as needed.

Securities, when offered, are offered through GWFS Equities, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company. Investment options are offered through mutual funds and/or a group fixed and variable deferred annuity issued by Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company. Great-West Retirement Services® refers to products and services provided by Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates.