The State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) is a defined contribution retirement plan PEBA administers for employees of state agencies, public and charter school districts and public higher education institutions. State ORP is also available to individuals first elected to the South Carolina General Assembly at or after the general election in November 2012. Employees of local subdivisions of government are not eligible to participate in the State ORP.
State ORP participation
To participate in the State ORP, you must be employed by a participating employer and also be eligible for membership in the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS). You may elect participation in State ORP instead of becoming a member of the SCRS defined benefit retirement plan. It is your choice.
If you elect State ORP participation, you will select an service provider from four available companies with which PEBA contracts. A State ORP account will be set up for you with the service provider you select. The four State ORP service providers are:
Direct contact information for the vendors can be found here.
Annual open enrollment
The annual open enrollment period for all participants of State ORP is January 1 to March 1 each year. Details about the 2018 open enrollment period are available here.
Employee and employer contributions
You contribute a tax-deferred percentage of your gross pay into your State ORP account. The employee contribution rate for fiscal year 2018, which is July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, is 9 percent. Your employer contributes 5 percent of your gross pay to your chosen service provider for allocation to your State ORP account.
State ORP benefits
You are solely responsible for your retirement account – you choose how to invest and manage your money
There are no minimum service requirement for retirement benefits
You have immediate rights to your entire account balance, including employee and employer contributions, when you terminate employment or reach age 59 ½
Your retirement benefit is based on your account balance at retirement. You may choose from a variety of payment options, including a lump-sum distribution or periodic withdrawals. You may also use a portion or all of your account balance to purchase an annuity, which could provide guaranteed income for life.
If you’re like many of us, you look forward to retirement as the time when you will be able to enjoy the things you like to do with the people about whom you care the most. As a State ORP participant, you don’t have a minimum service requirement to be eligible for retirement benefits, but remember that your retirement benefit is based on the balance in your account when you retire. Since you are responsible for your investing and managing your own retirement account, it is important to start planning for your retirement so you will be ready, financially and emotionally. What you do during your years of employment can make a big difference in whether or not you are prepared for your future.
Whether you’re a new employee or someplace else in your career, PEBA has retirement awareness resources that can help you as you plan for a secure financial future. If you make planning and saving for your future a priority now, you’ll be glad you did when you become eligible to retire because it may mean the difference between being eligible to retire and being able to retire.