Human Resources

Retirement Benefits


Retirement Plan Eligibility and Election 
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Full-time employees with appointments of 3 months or longer are required to join a Retirement System within 30 days of their appointment/hire date.

Part-time employees and those with provisional or temporary appointments have the option to join a Retirement System at any time. No Retirement System membership will be established, nor any service credit or contributions reported, however, until the appropriate Retirement System election and membership applications have been received and processed.

The selection of a Retirement System is an important decision, so please review the options very carefully.

Once an employee’s election is made, generally they will not be allowed to change Retirement Systems, unless they have a change in employment title making them eligible for a different Retirement System for the first time and they opt to change to that System within 30 days of their eligible appointment.

It is important to note that membership in a Retirement System may not otherwise be changed or withdrawn during your current or any subsequent employment with any SUNY or community college campus.


Retirement Plan Options  Top

Eligibility for a Retirement System depends on a variety of factors, including your Bargaining Unit, your position classification, and whether you are full or part-time.

All employees in both the Classified (e.g., CSEA, PEF, PBANYS, NYSCOPBA, and MC-06) and the Unclassified (e.g., UUP and MC-13) service are eligible to join:

  • The New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System (ERS)

    ERS is a defined benefit pension Retirement System. Retirement pension benefits will depend on the results of a calculation at the time of retirement that takes into account the Final Average Salary, number of years of credited membership service, and age at the time of retirement.

Employees in the Unclassified service may, depending on title, be eligible to join:

  • The New York State Teachers' Retirement System (TRS)

    TRS is a defined benefit pension Retirement System. Retirement pension benefits will depend on the results of a calculation at the time of retirement that takes into account the Final Average Salary, number of years of credited membership service, and age at the time of retirement. Membership is open to employees in a select group of titles, including: all faculty titles, librarian or coach titles, or in the titles of chancellor, president, vice-president, provost, dean, associate dean, or assistant dean

Employees in the Unclassified service who are full-time, part-time UUP employees with Term appointments, and MC employees who are at least half-time, are also eligible to elect:

  • The SUNY Optional Retirement Program (ORP)

    The ORP is a defined contribution Retirement System. Retirement benefits will depend on the value upon distribution of individually owned annuity contracts purchased on behalf of electing employees through employer and required employee contributions from one or more of the currently Authorized Investment Providers for the SUNY ORP, including: TIAA, VOYA, Fidelity and VALIC. During the initial vesting period, the employee and employer contributions are kept in an escrow account by the Office of the State Comptroller.  These funds will be moved to the chosen ORP investment prior once the vesting period has been satisfied. Distributions from ORP contracts are permitted any time after separation from services, subject to an IRS 10% penalty for distributions prior to age 59 ½ , unless separating from service after reaching the normal retirement age of 55. Because the SUNY ORP is a NYS Public Retirement Plan, ORP distributions are generally exempt from NYS Income.


Additional Retirement Plan Information  Top


Retirement Plan Enrollment  Top

To join a retirement system, employees should register and enroll through Retirement@Work.

Guide - ORP enrollment

Guide - ERS or TRS enrollment - If selecting ERS or TRS, you will be required to complete the general Registration information at Retirement@Work.  After that is done, you will be directed to print the appropriate registration form and submit it to The Benefits Office.  Your enrollment in ERS and TRS cannot be processed until the form is received in the Office of Human Resources Management in UAB-300.   If you do not have access to a printer, complete the Retirement@Work registration process and contact Employee Benefits to request an ERS or TRS application.

If you need assistance with the Retirement@Work System, call 1-866-271-0960 to be connected to a Retirement@Work consultant.   


Voluntary Savings Program  Top

Employees have the option to save additional money for retirement with two types of tax deferred savings plans - 403(b) and 457(b). Employee contributions can be made to either or both types of accounts within IRS limits. 

To open a 403(b) account, employees must:

Register and elect 403(b) participation through Retirement@Work.

Guide - 403(b) Enrollment   

Guide - 403(b) Changes

If you need assistance with the Retirement@Work System, call 1-866-271-0960 to be connected to a Retirement@Work consultant.

To open a 457(b) account, employees must:

Contact the NYS Deferred Compensation System directly at 1-800-422-8463 or submit a paper enrollment form directly to the NYS Deferred Compensation System.  The current enrollment form can be found at: www.nysdcp.com.


Additional Resources  Top

 ·        Visit Benefits News and Events for Investment Provider On-Campus Counseling dates.

·         Financial Planning Tools and Calculators

  T   Retirement@Work - Retirement@Work is the online enrollment and management system for the SUNY Retirement Plans.  With a single login, you will be able to manage your account online and be able to:
-Change your investment providers for your Optional Retirement Program (ORP) and 403(b) Savings Program (also called the Tax-Deferred Annuity) accounts.
-Manage (start, stop, restart, increase or decrease) your 403(b) salary deferral elections online.
-View your ORP and 403(b) account balances.
-Enroll in the 403(b) Voluntary Savings Program if you are not already enrolled.
-Change your personal information (e.g. address) for your ORP and 403(b) accounts.                                 

If you need assistance with the Retirement@Work System, call 1-866-271-0960 to be connected to a Retirement@Work consultant.


Planning for Retirement  Top

 

This information is subject to change and serves only as a summary.  Please see each benefit program’s official publications and updates for additional rules, requirements, and details.

Prior to Retirement:

Call the Benefits Office to schedule a meeting at least three to four months before retiring.

  • Employees should contact their retirement system to determine their pension benefit and choose a retirement date.
  • Members of the NYS Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) should file an Application for Service Retirement between 15 and 90 days before your retirement date*.
  • Members of the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) should file an Application for Retirement between 1 and 90 days before your retirement date*.
  • Members of the Optional Retirement Program (ORP), including TIAA, should notify their ORP investment provider up to the day before their retirement date*.
  • Contact the Time Records Office at 437-4715 regarding leave accruals and usage before retirement.  Any vacation or personal leave you plan to use must be taken before your retirement date. 
  • Make sure your leave reporting is up-to-date as of your last day of work or paid leave.
  • Notify your supervisor in writing in advance of retiring.

*If planning on collecting a pension upon retirement.

Retiree Health Insurance:

To meet the current eligibility requirements for NYSHIP retiree health insurance, an employee must:

  • Be enrolled in a NYSHIP plan or have dependent coverage through a NYSHIP enrollee;
  • Be at least 55 years of age if in Tiers 1-4 (Contact HBA if you are in Tiers 5-6); and
  • Have a minimum of ten years of NYSHIP benefits-eligible service.

Retirement Guidelines - Benefit Information

If you have questions about eligibility, call the Benefits Office at least four to six months before retiring.

Health Insurance Resources:

·         Planning for Retirement - Health Insurance - PDF version

·         Medicare and NYSHIP - online or PDF version

Additional Information:

·         WorkLife Video Library - Retirement related videos

·         Pre-Retirement Planning Self Help Guide for NYS Employees


Working After Retirement  Top

Employees may return to work after retirement. Earnings will not affect a pension if:

  • The retiree is over 65 years of age or;
  • The retiree is self-employed or;
  • The retiree works for a private employer, the federal government, or another state or;
  • The retiree works for a public employer (SUNY) and earns less than $30,000 annually as determined by Section 212 of NYS Retirement Law.

Additional Information:

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