Serving those who serve South Carolina

Retirement frequently asked questions

How do I change my name on my retirement account?

Members of SCRS, PORS, GARS, JSRS and SCNG Plan

To update your name on a PEBA-administered retirement account, please send a copy of your Social Security card, a certified copy of your marriage license, divorce decree or other duly executed court order verifying your name change to PEBA at the following address:

 

S.C. Public Employee Benefit Authority

Attention: Enrollment Department

202 Arbor Lake Drive

Columbia, South Carolina 29223

 

State ORP participants

Please keep your name current with PEBA by following the steps outlined above. To update your name on your State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) retirement account, contact your selected State ORP service provider.

 

How do I update my retirement account address?

Members of SCRS, PORS, GARS, JSRS and SCNG Plan?

You may change your address for a PEBA-administered retirement account by logging into Member Access and selecting the Change Address link, reaching out to our Customer Contact Center or updating it with your employer. You may also send a written notification to PEBA. Be sure to include your signature, printed name, Social Security number and new address. Notice of an address change may be mailed to:

 

S.C. Public Employee Benefit Authority

Attention: Enrollment Department

202 Arbor Lake Drive

Columbia, South Carolina 29223

 

State ORP participants

Please keep your address current with PEBA by logging into Member Access and selecting the Change Address link. To update your address on your State ORP retirement account, contact your selected State ORP service provider.

 

Can I obtain my retirement account balance online?

Members of SCRS, PORS, GARS and JSRS

If you are a member of one of the four primary defined benefit retirement plans PEBA administers and have not received a refund of your contributions, you may view or print a member statement by logging into Member Access and selecting the Statement link. For more information about our defined benefit retirement plans, see Plans.

 

State ORP participants

State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) investment providers deliver quarterly statements to participants, which contain the account balance and other details. You can also get this information by logging in to your account on your investment provider’s State ORP website or by calling your investment provider’s toll-free State ORP participant customer service number.

 

May I borrow money from my PEBA-administered retirement account?

All retirement plans

No. The state laws that govern the retirement plans PEBA administers do not include provisions to allow a member to borrow funds from his retirement account.

 

How do I withdraw money from my PEBA-administered retirement account?

Members of SCRS, PORS, GARS and JSRS

If you leave your job and terminate all employment covered by one or more of the retirement plans PEBA administers before you are eligible to retire, you have two options concerning your contributions:

 

  • Request a refund of your employee contributions plus the interest earned on your account; or
  • Leave for funds in your retirement account where they will continue to accrue interest until your account becomes inactive.

 

To request a refund, you need to complete a Refund Request (Form 4101) and return it to PEBA. You may submit your refund request immediately upon termination; however, by law, payment may not be issued less than 90 days after you cease to be an employee. More information for SCRS members is located in the SCRS Member Handbook and for PORS members, in the PORS Member Handbook.

 

State ORP

You have immediate rights to your entire account State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) balance, including employee and employer contributions, when you terminate employment or reach age 59 ½. Your State ORP assets remain in the investment options you select unless you request that they be transferred to another eligible retirement plan, or unless an investment option is no longer offered. Eligibility to establish State ORP service with another retirement plan depends on the other plan’s provisions. Contact your State ORP investment provider for more information, including any fees or charges that may apply to transferring out of any investment option.

 

How do I change my beneficiary?

Members of SCRS, PORS, GARS and JSRS

If you have not retired, you may change your beneficiary designations by completing and submitting an Active Member Beneficiary Form (Form 1102) to PEBA. All beneficiary changes require that your signature be notarized. Mail your completed form to:

 

S.C. Public Employee Benefit Authority

Attention: Enrollment Department

202 Arbor Lake Drive

Columbia, South Carolina 29223

 

State ORP participants

Contact your investment provider to change your beneficiary for your State ORP retirement account. Complete and return to PEBA a State ORP Active Incidental Death Benefit Beneficiary Designation (Form 1106) to change your beneficiary for incidental death benefits.

 

How is my average final compensation (AFC) calculated and how is unused annual leave pay factored into my monthly benefit?

SCRS and PORS members

Your employer reports your earnable compensation information to PEBA on a quarterly basis. If you are a Class Two member, your average final compensation is calculated by adding your 12 highest consecutive quarters of earnable compensation and dividing by three. An amount up to and including 45 days’ termination pay for unused annual leave at retirement may be included in your average final compensation calculation.

 

If you are a Class Three member, your average final compensation is calculated by adding your 20 highest consecutive quarters of earnable compensation and dividing by five. Termination pay for unused annual leave at retirement may not be included in the average final compensation calculation.

 

SCRS members may get more details on how your average final compensation is used to determine your retirement benefit in the SCRS Member Handbook and PORS members in the PORS Member Handbook for more details on how your average final compensation is used to determine your retirement benefit.

 

Can I schedule an appointment with a PEBA benefits consultant?

No. PEBA does not accept appointments at this time. Visitors to our office are seen on a  first-come, first-served basis.

 

I would like to meet with a benefit consultant. What do I need to bring?

We recommend bringing your driver’s license to verify your identification.

 

If you are coming to our office to get an idea of the benefits you can expect to receive when you retire, we recommend you have the birth date information for any beneficiary you would consider designating for a survivor payment option when you retire.

 

If you are planning to complete your retirement paperwork when you come to our office, please be sure to have your driver’s license, your birth certificate and the birth certificate for your beneficiary(s) if you are selecting a survivor payment option. A bank account voided check or deposit slip will be helpful for completing your direct deposit authorization form.

 

If I choose to name multiple beneficiaries, how are the payments dispersed?

If you select the Option A (maximum) benefit payment option and designate multiple beneficiaries, each surviving beneficiary will receive an equal share of any contributions and interest in your account that were not paid to you in the form of a retirement benefit. If any beneficiary predeceases you, the remaining beneficiaries will receive equal shares of any unpaid contributions and interest. If you select Options B or C, which provide survivor benefits, and designate multiple beneficiaries, each beneficiary will receive an equal share of the monthly benefit. If any beneficiary predeceases you, the deceased beneficiary’s share ends and the remaining beneficiaries will continue to receive their original share of the benefit.

 

I’m currently a State ORP participant. Can I switch and become a member of SCRS?

There is an annual open enrollment period (January 1 to March 1) for State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) participants during which you may irrevocably elect membership in the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) if it has been at least one year, but not more than five years, after your initial enrollment in the State ORP. If you do not elect SCRS membership during this time, you will automatically continue your State ORP participation and forfeit your opportunity to elect SCRS membership.

 

Who can purchase additional service credit?

Member of SCRS, PORS, GARS and JSRS

You must be an active member to be eligible to purchase additional service credit. You are an active member if you are currently working for an employer participating in a PEBA-administered retirement plan, earning service credit, making regular contributions, and have not retired or terminated from covered employment.

 

State ORP participants

The State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) does not have any service purchase provisions. If, as a former State ORP participant, you become an active member of one of the defined benefit retirement plans PEBA administers, you may be eligible to establish your State ORP participation in the defined benefit retirement plan in which you are an active member.

 

How much does it cost to purchase additional service credit?

The cost for most types of service purchases must at least equal the true actuarial cost. The actuarial cost involves a complex calculation that takes into account your age, service credit, salary, average final compensation, and the length of service you want to purchase. By law, there is a minimum cost of 16 percent (qualified service) or 35 percent (non-qualified service) of your career highest fiscal year salary for each year purchased.

 

How long does it take to get an invoice?

Unless you are purchasing non-qualified service, PEBA has to obtain verification from you, your current or former employer(s) or other agencies. Even considering these variables, PEBA’s goal is to provide you with a payment invoice(s) within 30 days after receiving all documentation and verification needed to process your request.

 

How much service credit can I purchase?

There is no limit on the number of years you may purchase for most service types; in particular, those based on prior periods of qualified service. However, you may only purchase six years of military service and five years of non-qualified service.

 

May I purchase a portion of service credit?

Yes. You may purchase all or any portion of each type of service credit once within a fiscal year.

 

Can I obtain a cost estimate for any service type?

The Service Purchase Cost Estimate Calculator provides an unofficial cost estimate to purchase certain types of service based on an actuarially neutral cost. If you are a member of one of the defined benefit plans PEBA administers, you can access the calculator through Member Access. The calculator does not provide cost estimates for withdrawn service, workers’ compensation or transfers of service from SCRS to PORS. You may request a cost estimate for purchasing these types of service by reaching out to our Customer Contact Center.

 

Will I be notified when my payment is received?

Yes. PEBA’s Service Accounting Department will notify you by mail upon receipt of your lump sum payment, rollover, or your election to participate in the Installment Service Purchase Program.

 

While we designed this website to make it quick and easy to find most of the information you need, you may also contact our Customer Contact Center for assistance.

 

202 Arbor Lake Drive

Columbia, SC 29223

803.737.6800 | 888.260.9430

Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

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