The annual open enrollment period for all participants of the State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) is January 1 to March 1 of each year. During this period, State ORP participants may change their State ORP service provider or, if eligible, may irrevocably elect to participate in the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS).
State ORP service provider change
State ORP participants wishing to change service providers should do so through Member Access. If a participant is unable to change his service provider online through Member Access, he may do so by completing Form 1162.
If a State ORP participant changes service providers during annual open enrollment, he may transfer his existing account balance, subject to the current State ORP service provider’s contractual limitations, to the new service provider. In order to do so, he must initiate the process by contacting his prior service provider and requesting the appropriate forms. The transfer of funds from the old service provider to the new service provider does not have to be completed during the annual open enrollment period. The participant may also choose to leave funds on account with his prior service provider.
Irrevocable election to participate in SCRS
State ORP participants are eligible to change from the State ORP to SCRS during the 2019 open enrollment period if at any point during the open enrollment period they have at least 12 months, but no more than 60 months, of participation from their initial enrollment in the State ORP (i.e., initial enrollment between January 1, 2014, and March 1, 2018).
If a State ORP participant does not change to SCRS within the allotted time, the participant will, by default, continue State ORP participation. If a State ORP participant changes to SCRS during the allotted time, the participant may purchase service credit for all or a portion of his State ORP participation at any time after joining SCRS.
The cost calculation is based in part on the participant’s current age and service credit, as well as his career highest fiscal year earnable compensation at the time PEBA receives the service purchase request. The cost, which is actuarially determined, will not be less than 16 percent of the participant’s career highest fiscal year compensation for each year purchased. State ORP participation that is established in SCRS is considered earned service for the determination of the SCRS minimum service requirement for benefit eligibility. Please note that earnings associated with established State ORP participation will be considered for possible inclusion in the calculation of a member’s average final compensation.
Eligible State ORP participants wishing to irrevocably elect to participate in SCRS should request that their employer submit an SCRS enrollment through the Electronic Employer Services (EES) system. The EES system will prompt the employer to confirm that the enrollment is an irrevocable election to change from State ORP to SCRS. The participant will then be contacted to confirm the change. Employers who are unable to submit an enrollment through EES should have the employee complete a Form 1100.