South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS)
The South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) is a defined benefit plan available to all Coastal Carolina University employees. Members of the SCRS contribute a percentage of their salary on a pre-tax basis. The percentage to be contributed is set by the state legislature and may be changed at their discretion. The University contributes an appropriate amount (as defined by the state) to fund the defined benefit plan. Members joining SCRS prior to July 1, 2012, are vested after (5) five years of earned service and eligible to file for a monthly annuity upon attaining age 60. Members joining SCRS after July 1, 2012, are vested after (8) eight years of earned service and have satisfied the Rule of 90 (age+years of service must equal 90). Benefits are defined by the retirement formula. Enrollment is required within 30 days of the hire date.
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Permanent, full-time and part-time employees must join unless specifically exempted by statute. Temporary employees may choose whether to join. Membership starts with your effective date of employment. You must continue membership if you have contributions on deposit from previous employment.
If you terminate employment, you may choose to have the funds paid directly to you, roll over the funds into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), a 401(k) plan, or 401(a) eligible plan, a 403(b) plan, or a 457 plan, or leave your contributions in your retirement account. Funds left on deposit will not continue to accrue interest. If you terminate employment with at least five (5) years of earned service and leave your contributions in your account, you will be eligible to receive a reduced deferred annuity at age 60. (Applies to those individuals who joined prior to July 1, 2012.) If you joined after July 1, 2012 and terminate employment, you must have at least (8) eight years of earned service and leave your contributions in your account to be eligible for a reduced deferred annuity at age 60.
If you terminate employment, you may request a refund of your employee contributions plus interest, but you forfeit your rights to any future service retirement or disability annuity. You are not required to withdraw your contributions and interest at termination. Employer contributions are not refunded.
By law, there is a minimum 90-day waiting period from your date of termination until a refund can be made. The SCRS must withhold federal taxes of 20 percent on any portion of your taxable refund not transferred directly into another qualified retirement plan. Other taxes may apply as well.
You may name as many beneficiaries and/or trustees as you wish. Multiple beneficiaries share equally in survivor annuities. You may name your estate; however, monthly payments cannot be paid to an estate. As an active member, you may name trustees or contingent beneficiaries in case of death of the primary beneficiaries. All primary beneficiaries must be deceased before any contingent beneficiaries are paid. You may change your beneficiaries at any time before retirement.
Establishing Service Credit
While you are an active member, you may establish service credit for various types of previous employment, leaves of absences, and up to five years of non-qualified service. You may purchase service credit by a lump-sum payment, an installment service purchase (after-tax, plus interest), or a tax-deferred rollover from an IRA, a 401(k) plan, a 401(a) eligible plan, a 403(b) plan, or a 457 plan.
You may purchase each type of service credit once within a fiscal year. Payment for service purchases must be remitted in full prior to your retirement date or termination.
You must file an application to retire; it is not automatic. You may file your application up to six months prior to your desired effective date of retirement but no later than 90 days afterward.
Visit the SCRS website at http://www.peba.sc.gov/ for specific eligibility requirements, or contact benefits personnel in the Office of Human Resources at Coastal Carolina University.
Returning to Covered Employment
A member who retires from SCRS or PORS after Jan. 1, 2013, and returns to covered employment after having been retired for at least 30 consecutive days may earn up to $10,000 each calendar year without affecting his retirement benefits. If a retiree continues in service after earning $10,000 from covered employment during a calendar year, his retirement benefit is discontinued during his period of employment for the remainder of the year. The earnings limitation does not apply if the member retired before Jan. 2, 2013, was at least 62 years old (SCRS) at retirement (or 57 years old at retirement for PORS members), returns to an elected or certain appointed position, or is a teacher employed by a school district to teach in a critical academic or geographical need area. The 30-day break in service and earnings limitations do not apply to those retired under an ORP.
Retired members (SCRS and PORS) who work for a covered employer are required by state law to contribute to the SCRS or PORS.
SCRS, PORS and ORP members who return to covered employment will be eligible for an increased group life insurance benefit similar to that provided for active members. S.618 legislation provides that if a retired SCRS, PORS or ORP member who has returned to covered employment dies while employed by an employer covered by group life insurance and while making the active employee contribution, his or her beneficiary could receive a benefit equal to the dollar amount of the retiree’s annual salary. This benefit would be provided in lieu of the retired member group life insurance benefit of $2,000, $4,000 or $6,000.
Employment during post-retirement appointment is at-will, and may be terminated at any time, with or without cause, at the discretion of the hiring administrator. These employees do not have faculty or staff grievance rights (as defined by the Faculty Manual or the State Employee Grievance Procedure Act) or tenure status.
For more information on retirees returning to covered employment, visit https://www.peba.sc.gov/scrs.html