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Retirement Programs

Full-time faculty and professional staff are eligible to elect one of three retirement programs. Some part-time faculty members and professional staff, depending upon their work obligation and appointment status, may also be able to join a retirement program.

New York State Employees' Retirement System (ERS)
New York State Teachers' Retirement System (TRS)
Optional Retirement Program (ORP)

Participation in one of the above retirement systems is mandatory for all full-time faculty and professional employees and optional for part-time employees. A retirement election must be made within thirty (30) days of your appointment or you will automatically enrolled in the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS).

Detailed information on each plan is contained in specific booklets for each retirement option available in the Human Resources Office.

 

NYS Employees' Retirement System (ERS)

All full-time faculty and professional employees of the college may elect to join the New York State Employees' Retirement System (ERS), a contributory, 'defined benefit' system. You contribute 3% of your gross salary on a pre-tax basis and the State makes contributions based upon your salary. Your retirement benefit is determined by the number of years of service and your final 'average' salary according to a prescribed formula.

The system is divided into 'tiers' with the level of state contribution, minimum age for receipt of retirement benefits and death benefit determined by your membership 'tier'. 'Tiers' are determined by your date of appointment to State service. For example, as a Tier 4 member (hired on or after July 17, 1992), a member with ten (10) or more years service is entitled to a retirement allowance at age 62. In the event an employee terminates employment prior to ten (10) years of service they are not vested. Their 3% contribution, plus accumulated interest, will be refunded upon request.

A representative from ERS is on campus the first and third Thursday of every month. To make an appointment, call 888-805-0990.

 

 

NYS Teachers' Retirement System (TRS)

All full-time faculty and professional employees of the college may elect to join the New York State Teachers' Retirement System. TRS is a contributory, 'defined benefit' system. You contribute 3% of your gross salary on a pre-tax basis and the State makes contributions based upon your salary. Your retirement benefit is determined by the number of years of service and your final 'average' salary according to a prescribed formula. You may also become a member of TRS by default; if you do not select another retirement plan within thirty (30) days of employment you are automatically enrolled in TRS.

The system is divided into 'tiers' with the level of state contribution, minimum age for receipt of retirement benefits and death benefit determined by your membership 'tier'. 'Tiers' are determined by your date of appointment to State service. For example, as a Tier 4 member (hired on or after September 1, 1983), a member with ten (10) or more years service is entitled to a retirement allowance at age 62, or at age 70 if credited with five (5) years of service. In the event an employee terminates employment prior to ten (10) years of service they are not vested. Their 3% contribution, plus accumulated interest, will be refunded upon request.

A representative from TRS is available on an appointment basis at Potsdam Central School on a periodic basis. You may call for an appointment at 265-2000, extension 733. TRS may also be reached at (800) 348-7298, extension 6100.

 

Optional Retirement Program

Under the Optional Retirement Program, full-time faculty and professional employees (and part-time professional employees having a 'term' appointment) electing this option purchase retirement annuity contracts from Teachers Insurance Annuity Association (TIAA) and College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF). Membership is effective upon entry into state service provided you made your election within the first thirty (30) days. TIAA is a nonprofit, legal reserve life insurance and annuity company that provides retirement annuities based mainly on investments in bonds, mortgages and direct loans. CREF is a separate nonprofit corporation through which you may invest your retirement plan contributions in five distinct investment accounts:

  • Stock account based on investments in common stocks and other equity securities.
  • Global Equities account based on investments in a broadly diversified portfolio consisting primarily of foreign and domestic common stocks.
  • Money Market account based on investments in short-term debt securities.
  • Bond Market account based in investments in a broad range of investment-grade fixed-income securities.
  • Social Choice account based on investments in a diversified portfolio of equity securities, fixed-income securities, money market securities and other short-term debt securities.

The services of TIAA and CREF are available only to public and private colleges and universities, independent schools and certain other nonprofit and tax exempt educational and scientific institutions, and to their employees.

You can currently allocate your premiums, including SUNY contributions, between TIAA and the five CREF accounts in any proportion you wish, including full allocation to any one of them. You can also change your allocation at any time for future premiums. You can also transfer funds among the CREF accounts and from the CREF accounts to TIAA as often as you wish.

Current contributions for new enrollees:

Employee contribution: 3 % of gross calendar year earnings

State contribution: 8 % of gross calendar year earnings for the first seven (7) years of employment; 10% of gross calendar year earnings thereafter.

Upon completion of 13 months service, all your and the colleges contributions to date, plus interest, is sent to TIAA-CREF and applied to your TIAA contract or CREF certificate as indicated in your initial application. Thereafter, regular biweekly contributions will be made directly to TIAA-CREF.

You may begin to receive your TIAA-CREF annuity income at any age. However, you must begin receiving payments by April 1, following the year in which you reach 70 1/2.

Employees who have vested in their retirement plan and who terminate their employment on or after age 55, have the option of receiving their CREF accumulations in a lump sum cash payment. There are several retirement income options available to you, and just prior to your retirement you will be asked to select the option that is best suited to your circumstances. In general, all the options provide a lifetime of income for you, all but one provides income for your beneficiary in the event of your death.

Representatives of TIAA-CREF can be reached by telephone at (800) 842-2733, extension 8106.

Alternate Funding Vehicles

Three additional firms - ING Life Insurance and Annuity Company. (ING), Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (MetLife), and Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co. (VALIC) - provide alternate funding vehicles into which employees may transfer their CREF accumulations. Employees enrolled in TIAA-CREF may continue all investments in TIAA-CREF or may chose to transfer all or a portion of their CREF accumulations to one or more of the alternate funding vehicles. Future contributions must be remitted to TIAA-CREF and may not be remitted directly to one of the alternate funding vehicles.

Information concerning any of the retirement systems may be obtained from the Human Resources Office or directly from the specific retirement system. Representatives from each of the retirement systems are available periodically to discuss your retirement program and benefits available to you. You may also communicate with retirement system representatives directly by telephone or by letter.

2002 Retirement Incentive Legislation

The Board of Trustees adopted a resolution authorizing the State University participation in the 2002 retirement incentive program pursuant to state law. Under the incentive program, members of all three retirement systems, ERS, TRS and ORP who are 50 years of age and have ten years of service credit to the college are eligible for the incentive. Eligible employees in ERS or TRS receive one month of service credit for each year of service with a maximum of 36 months (3 years) credit. For those who have not reached the normal Tier 1 retirement age (55), a reduction in retirement benefits is invoked, estimated at 5% for each year prior to age 55. For those in Tier 2, 3 or 4, other benefit reductions may apply, depending upon age and years of service credit.

For eligible ORP participants, a payment will be made over three years according to a prescribed formula (one-twelfth, multiplied by the number of years of service, multiplied by 15%, multiplied by the employee's annual salary). Such incentive may not exceed 45% of annual salary. The payment will be made into an individual's retirement account, or depending upon individual tax circumstances, some retirees may divert incentive payments into a tax deferred annuity account.

Guidelines give the campus discretion to provide a "window" in which faculty and staff may retire with the retirement incentive. We have selected the period August 31 - November 28, 2002. Eligible employees must notify the Human Resources Office in writing of their interest in retiring under the incentive. In order to take advantage of the incentive, retirees must leave the payroll by the last day of the window period.

Human Resources
SUNY Canton
34 Cornell Drive
Canton, NY 13617

(315) 386-7325
Fax: (315) 386-7064