Full-time permanent employees (with appointments of 3 months or more) 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, 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. Note, membership in a retirement system may not otherwise be changed or withdrawn during your current or any subsequent employment with any SUNY campus.
Retirement Plan Options
Eligibility for a retirement system depends on a variety of factors, including your bargaining unit/union, your position classification, and whether you are full or part-time.
Additional Retirement Plan Information from SUNY
Vesting: What is it and when am I vested?
When you are vested, you have ownership of the assets held in your retirement account. Vesting does not mean that you have an immediate right to withdraw these assets, but simply that you would retain these assets upon termination of employment. The vesting period for the three public pension programs (ERS, PFRS and TRS) is ten (10) years of full-time credited service.
Participation (or vesting) in the SUNY ORP is immediate for employees who own qualifying Fidelity, TIAA, VALIC, and Voya contracts at the time of their employment. Qualifying contracts must include employer contributions. For those who do not own pre-existing contracts with one of these annuity carriers, college contributions will be made upon completion of a 366 day vesting period. At the end of 366 days of service, the college will make a single lump sum contribution with interest for this initial period and then make regular bi-weekly contributions thereafter. If you leave State service prior to becoming a vested member, no college contributions will be made. However, your contributions plus interest may be refunded.
What are the employer and employee contributions?
All three defined benefit programs provide for contributions by you as well as the college. Your contributions will be made on a before-tax basis (federal taxes only) through payroll deduction, throughout your active membership.
3% for $45,000 or less
3.5% for $45,001 - $55,000
4.5% for $55,001 - $75,000
5.75% for $75,001 - $100,000
6% for $100,001 or more
Retirement Plan Election and Enrollment
Once you have carefully reviewed your options and decided to join a retirement system, please submit your retirement program election and provide your retirement system history:
Note, State law is very specific about the deadline for enrolling in the ORP. After 30 days, the ORP is no longer an option and ERS/TRS will be your default selection.
Before making your decision, please review the individual retirement system information. When considering participation in the ORP, it is recommend that you carefully review fund prospectuses, performance information and sales literature of each annuity company. You should consider each program in relation to your particular needs and objectives and consult with a qualified financial or tax professional for assistance. Representatives of each of these plans are available to assist you.
For further information and/or assistance with the enrollment process, please contact the Employee Benefits Office.
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