State University of New York
Optional Retirement Program
The SUNY Optional Retirement Program (ORP) is a defined contribution New York State Public Retirement Plan. 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-CREF, ING, MetLife, and VALIC.
Eligibility for the SUNY ORP is limited to employees in the Unclassified (e.g., UUP and MC-13) service who are full-time, part-time UUP employees with Term appointments, MC employees who are at least half-time, and employees designated as eligible under local community college contract.
Allowable contribution limits follow the definitions contained within §390 of Education Law, §131 of Retirement and Social Security Law, and §415 and §401(a)(17) IRS annual contribution limits, and are not subject to the newly imposed caps and limitations applicable to Tier VI ERS/TRS members.
The current required Employee Contribution Rate in a given year is based upon regular compensation, as follows:
- Wages of $45,000 or less.................................................3%
- Wages of $45,000.01 to $55,000.....................................3.5%
- Wages of $55,000.01 to $75,000.................…................4.5%
- Wages of $75,000.01 to $100,000...................................5.75%
- Wages of more than $100,000...........................................6%
The current Employer Contribution Rate is 8% of gross salary for the first seven years of active membership service, and 10% thereafter.
Vesting occurs after 366 days of active service. This period may be waived for employees coming to SUNY with active employer sponsored retirement annuity contracts from one of the SUNY currently Authorized Investment Providers. All contributions will become the property of, and all investments will be directed by, the participant upon vesting.
The SUNY ORP is designed to allow retirement at any age. Distributions from ORP contracts are permitted any time after separation from services, and are generally 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.
As a New York State Public Retirement Plan, distributions from the SUNY ORP are exempt from New York State Income Taxes. Please consult your tax professional for further information and guidance on how to report distributions on your personal income tax return.
The SUNY ORP includes several flexible options designed to allow participants to plan their retirement income distribution according to their own individual needs and preferences. These include periodic and systematic cash withdrawals, guaranteed lifetime annuity payments, and a variety of blended options and lifetime annuity dependent survivor payment levels.
Authorized Investment Providers:
There are currently four Investment Providers available under the SUNY ORP. Their web sites, phone numbers, and a listing of the agents assigned to assist the employees at each campus are provided below.
Please visit here for a summary of ORP fund investment performance. Click here for information about fees, and contact your investment provider(s) for more information.
Additional Information and Enrollment
For additional information about the SUNY Optional Retirement Plan, please refer to the SUNY ORP Summary Plan Description publication below.
To join the SUNY ORP, you will need to complete the required enrollment applications with the Investment Provider(s) that you wish to work with. Please see the link below for further instructions for enrolling in the SUNY ORP.
If you have additional questions, require further assistance enrolling in the ORP, or are unable to contact the Authorized Investment Agent listed for your campus, please contact the Benefits Office at your State-Operated or Community College campus.
Please note that this information has been prepared as a general summary of the Retirement System Options available to new SUNY employees. It cannot provide you with the complete details on retirement matters. You should carefully review and research the options available to you before making a decision as to which Retirement System to join. Only authorized representatives from each Retirement System or Investment Provider are adequately knowledgeable and experienced to fully address your questions or to assist you with many of the technical aspects of their respective Systems. The information contained in all SUNY publications and web sites is intended only as a basic summary overview and to provide you with basic points for your consideration. You are invited to contact representatives from the Retirement System in which you are interested for additional information or with specific questions about their respective System or specific benefits.