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Retirement Benefits

SUNY Retirement Brand 

Retirement Plan Eligibility and Election

Full-time (with appointments of 3 months or more), permanent, employees 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.

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

Once your election is made, you will generally not be allowed to change Retirement Systems, unless you have a change in your employment title making you eligible for a different Retirement System for the first time and you opt to change to that System within 30 days of your 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It is important to note that membership in a Retirement System may not otherwise be changed or withdrawn during your current or any subsequent employment with any SUNY or community college campus.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

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 (e.g., UUP and MC-13) 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 (e.g., UUP and MC-13) service who are full-time; and 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, 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-CREF, ING, MetLife, and VALIC. The SUNY ORP is designed to allow retirement at any age. 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 Taxes.

Additional Retirement Plan Information:

Retirement Plan Election and Enrollment:

Once you have carefully reviewed your options, made your selection, and want to join a Retirement System, your first step is to submit your Retirement Program Election and provide your Retirement System History.  Instructions on how to do this are detailed below, and vary according to where you are employed:

All new enrollees located at CLINTON, COLUMBIA-GREENE, ERIE, FINGER LAKES, FULTON-MONTGOMERY, GENESEE, HERKIMER, JEFFERSON, NIAGARA, ONONDAGA and WESTCHESTER Community Colleges, and ROSWELL PARK CANCER INSTITUTE must complete this required step online through the RETIREMENT PROGRAM ELECTION SYSTEMAll new enrollees located at CORNELL UNIVERSITY must initiate enrollment here

Once you have completed your Retirement Program Election, your campus Benefits Office will review your information and eligibility. 

If you elected to enroll in the ORP and/or a Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA), the Benefits Office will confirm your eligibility and send you the appropriate web link or application forms to complete the ORP enrollment process (and TDA if you elected to participate).  If you elected to enroll in ERS or TRS as your Retirement Election, you will also need to complete the appropriate enrollment application shown below.  To turn in your completed, notarized ERS or TRS enrollment forms, or for further assistance, please contact the Benefits Office at your State-Operated or Community College campus.  Click here to see all of the enrollment steps.

New employees located at OTHER SUNY CAMPUSES must complete the following forms, as appropriate to the Retirement System selected:

To turn in your completed Retirement System election and enrollment forms, or for further assistance, 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.


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Last Update - 9/30/14