Teachers' Retirement / Optional Retirement Program

 Murray State University
POLICY NUMBER: V B
SUBJECT: TEACHERS' RETIREMENT SYSTEM (TRS) / OPTIONAL RETIREMENT PROGRAM (ORP)
APPLIES TO: FACULTY AND QUALIFYING STAFF
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2019
REVISED FROM: January 1, 2014

TEACHERS' RETIREMENT SYSTEM (TRS) / OPTIONAL RETIREMENT PROGRAM (ORP)

1. Eligibility

a. An employee of the University is eligible for membership in the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) /Optional Retirement Program (ORP) when the position requires (as a condition of employment) certification or graduation from a four (4) year college or university and the employee possesses either the certification or graduation from a four (4) year college or university. Membership is mandatory for regular employees who work 70% or more of full-time employment and meet the above qualifications.

b. No retirement deductions shall be made for an employee who is employed on a part-time basis of less than 70%; however, active members may make contributions and receive service credit for substitute, part-time or any service other than regular, full-time teaching as provided in the rules and regulations of the Board of Trustees.

c. This plan does not apply to an employee in a University position covered by the Kentucky Employees Retirement System.

2. Social Security

University employees contribute to Social Security in addition to TRS.

3. Type of System

a. TRS - The system is a defined benefit retirement plan.

b. ORP - The Optional Retirement Program is a defined contribution plan.

4. Deferred Income Tax Payments

Effective August l, l982, members no longer pay federal and state income tax on their retirement contributions. Payment of federal income tax on retirement contributions made after August l, l982, is deferred until the member retires and would normally have a reduced taxable income or until the member withdraws his account.

5. Administration

a. TRS - Administration of the system is the responsibility of an 11 -member board of trustees. Two of these the education commissioner and the state treasurer, serve by reason of their office. Two members, who are required to have investment experience, are appointed by the governor. The remaining trustees are elected by the members of TRS to staggered four-year terms. The Board of Trustees appoints an Executive Secretary who is responsible for the administration of the affairs of TRS under policies established by the Board.

b. ORP - The ORP is available to those individuals employed on or after July 1, 1996, who would otherwise be required to participate in the TRS. The ORP was established as a 403 (b) defined contribution plan under the Internal Revenue Service Code guidelines. Specific rates of contribution are established for both the employee and employer. Although the University contributes to these annuities, the benefits payable to the participants are not the obligation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky or TRS. The benefits and other rights of ORP are the liability and responsibility of the designated companies to which contributions have been made.

6. Contributions

a. TRS - The University deducts from the salary each month the proper contribution and forwards it to the Retirement System. It is the responsibility of the retirement system staff to properly credit the account. Annually on June 30, the University makes a detailed report showing the salary contributions and service of each member. When this report is received in the Retirement System Office, the correct amount is credited to each member and interest is added.

b. Optional Retirement Program (ORP) - The University deducts from the salary each month the proper contribution and forwards it to the designated retirement plan. It is the responsibility of the retirement plan staff to properly credit the account. Periodic reports are sent to the participants showing contributions and interest earned.

7. Relation of Contribution, Salary, and Service Credit - TRS

a. TRS - Service credit and salary (both of which directly affect the member's rights to retire and his/her annuity payments) are determined on the basis of the contribution made. Contributions of less than full contributions result in a reduction in service credit and salary. If for any reason the member is absent without pay or if his/her salary is reduced for some other reason, he/she should insure that either through the University or by personal check a full contribution of the gross salary is made by December 31, next following the end of the school term.

b. ORP - Annuity payments are determined by the employee and University contributions plus the return on investments.

8. Definition of Retirement

Murray State provides to its retirees continued access to certain University programs, such as discounts on tickets to athletics events and tuition waivers. These programs may change and a current listing is available from Human Resources.

Retirement status, for continued access to these programs, for individuals who participate in ORP will be determined using the criteria for employees who participate in TRS. TRS participants are considered Murray State retirees if one of the following requirements is met: (i) the person must be age fifty-five (55) or more and have five (5) or more years of service at Murray State University or (ii) the person may become a Murray State retiree at any age with twenty-seven (27) years of regular, full-time employment with Murray State University.

9. Annual Statement of Account

a. TRS - Members have online access to their TRS account.

b. ORP - Participants receive account statements on a frequency determined by the ORP company.

10. Beneficiary Designation

a. TRS

(1) The member's responsibility is to maintain his/her beneficiary designation in a current condition. Failure to do so can cause serious consequences and possible loss of valuable benefits.

(2) The spouse must be the sole beneficiary to be eligible for survivor benefits. If the member marries after becoming a member, the spouse automatically becomes beneficiary and any previous designation of beneficiary is void. Divorce action shall void any previous designation of beneficiary, and the member's estate automatically becomes the beneficiary. In the event of either marriage or divorce, the member should file a new designation of beneficiary with the Retirement System Office.

(3) If the beneficiary dies, a new beneficiary should be designated. The member may name more than one beneficiary and may designate them as co-beneficiaries or in order of succession. A beneficiary does not have to be a relative, and the member may make a change without notifying the previous beneficiary. The member may name his/her estate as beneficiary. To change the beneficiary, you must request a change of beneficiary form directly from the Retirement System. The law requires that if you have a living spouse and you designate someone else as your beneficiary, the spouse must sign to show that they are aware that they are not the listed beneficiary.

 b. ORP

(1) The member's responsibility is to maintain his/her beneficiary designation in a current condition. Failure to do so can cause serious consequences and possible loss of valuable benefits.

(2) If the beneficiary dies, a new beneficiary should be designated. The member may name more than one beneficiary and may designate them as co-beneficiaries or in order of succession. A beneficiary does not have to be a relative, and the member may make a change without notifying the previous beneficiary. The member may name his/her estate as beneficiary. To change the beneficiary, you must request a change of beneficiary form directly from the optional retirement company.

11. Benefit Coverage

a. The pension is a state of Kentucky policy mandated by law and subject to change.

12. Reciprocity - TRS

The reciprocity regulations of the Teachers' Retirement System will be followed.

 

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