The State Employees Retirement System consists of several defined benefit plans, listed below. The plan available to employees is dependent on the date of hire.
Tier III - a contributory plan that is available to employees who were first hired on or after July 1, 2011.
Tier IIA - a contributory plan that available to employees who were first hired on or after July 1, 1997.
Tier II - a non-contributory plan (except for hazardous duty positions) that covers employees who were first hired and chose the SERS after July 1, 1984 and up to June 30, 1997.
Tier I - a contributory plan that covers employees who were first hired and chose the SERS on or before July 1, 1984.
The Alternate Retirement Program is available to all new unclassified employees. Employees contribute 5% of salary; the State contributes an amount equal to 8% of salary.
The Hybrid Plan is a contributory defined benefit plan with a cash-out option available to new employees after July 1, 2011. Employees enrolled in this plan contribute 5% of their salary. The defined benefit is identical to TIER III, and the cash-out option includes a 5% employer match with 4% interest. Employees are vested* after ten (10) years of service in the plan.
The Teachers' Retirement System is available to employees who hold a state teacher's certificate and have a position at the Health Center which requires a teaching certificate. Employees contribute a total of 7% salary, 6% for the retirement benefit and 1% for retirement health benefits.
Supplemental Tax-Deferred Retirement Contributions
Employees may participate in either (or both) a 403b or 457b plan to make supplemental tax-deferred retirement contributions. Participation is voluntary with pre-tax contributions made through payroll deduction that allow employees to defer taxes on the contributions until withdrawn for retirement.
Tax-Deferred Annuity Retirement (403b) Program
Employees may make voluntary contributions to tax-deferred annuities through the State 403(b) Program. Contributions are made by payroll deduction, and are pre-tax. Maximum contribution limits are set by the federal government and change annually. Enrollment and payroll deduction arrangements are made directly with the plan administrator, ING.
Deferred Compensation Retirement (457b) Program
Employees may make voluntary contributions to tax-deferred annuities through the State 457(b) Deferred Compensation Program in addition to the 403(b) plan. Contributions are also made by payroll deduction, and are pre-tax. Enrollment and payroll deduction arrangements are made directly with the plan administrator, ING. As with the 403(b) plan, maximum contribution limits are established annually by the Federal government.
Roth 403(b) and 457 Programs
Employees are offered the opportunity to save additional money for retirement using after-tax dollars by enrolling in the Roth 403(b) Plan and/or the Roth 457 Plan. ING is the Third Party Administrator for this plan, and can be contacted at 800-584-6001.
Vested after 15 Years of Service
Employees hired on or after July 1, 2011 are vested for retiree health benefits upon completion of 15 years of actual state service. If employees should resign from service prior to reaching the age for early or normal retirement eligibility, the employee would be able to receive the retiree health benefits according to the Rule of 75 (Age + Service = 75). For example, an employee who leaves service upon the completion of 15 years would be eligible to receive the retiree health benefits at the age of 60 (i.e., Age 60 + 15 Years of Service = 75).
3% Contribution to the Retiree Health Fund
Employees hired on or after July 1, 2009 are required to contribute 3% of their gross earnings on a pre-tax basis toward the Retiree Health Fund for the first ten (10) years of employment in order to offset the future cost of retiree health benefits. If an employee should leave service prior to completing 10 years, s/he would be entitled to a refund of contributions made.
Retirement counseling workshops and benefit estimators can be found on the Office of the State Comptroller's website.
For questions, contact:
Jessica Van Alstyne, 860-679-3073.