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Title 9 - Retirement Systems
OPTIONAL RETIREMENT PROGRAM FOR PUBLICLY-SUPPORTED FOUR-YEAR AND POSTGRADUATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION
Program established; eligibility; benefits.
There is established an optional retirement program for the publicly-supported four-year and postgraduate institutions of higher education and technical colleges. Only employees of participating institutions holding faculty and administrative positions are eligible to participate in the optional retirement program. No employee is eligible to participate in the optional retirement program unless he is eligible for membership in the South Carolina Retirement System. Retirement and death benefits must be provided for a participant in the optional retirement program through the purchase of an individual annuity contract, fixed or variable in nature, or a combination thereof. The State and the participant shall contribute toward the purchase of the contract which must be issued to, and become the property of, the participant. Eligibility is determined solely by the South Carolina Retirement System.
Administration; designation of benefit providers.
The South Carolina Retirement System shall provide for the administration of the optional retirement program under this chapter. The executive director of the South Carolina Retirement System, a representative appointed by the Commission on Higher Education, and a representative appointed by the Council of Presidents of the Public Colleges and Universities shall designate not less than two companies from which annuity contracts are to be purchased under the program. In making the designation, the Retirement System, the Commission on Higher Education, and the council shall consider:
(1) the nature and extent of the rights and benefits to be provided by the contracts for participants and their beneficiaries;
(2) the relation of such rights and benefits to the amount of contributions to be made;
(3) the suitability of such rights and benefits to the needs of the participants;
(4) the efficacy of the contracts in the recruitment and retention of faculty and administrators;
(5) the ability and experience of the designated companies in providing suitable rights and benefits under the contracts.
Employee selection from retirement program options.
Eligible employees employed by publicly-supported four-year and post-graduate institutions of higher education on or after July 1, 1987, shall elect either to join the South Carolina Retirement System or to participate in the optional retirement program under this chapter on or before December 1, 1987, or within ninety days after entry into service, whichever is later. Eligible employees employed by a publicly-supported technical college on or after July 1, 1998, shall elect either to join the South Carolina Retirement System or to participate in the optional retirement program under this chapter on or before December 1, 1998, or within ninety days after entry into service, whichever is later. The election must be made in writing and filed with the Retirement System and the appropriate officer of the employee's participating institution and is effective on the date of employment. If an eligible employee fails to make the election provided in this section, the member is considered to have elected membership in the South Carolina Retirement System.
Each participant shall contribute monthly to the program the same amount which he would be required to contribute to the South Carolina Retirement System if he were a member of that system. Participant contributions may be made by payroll deduction, by a reduction in salary, or by employer pick up in accordance with any applicable provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Each participating institution shall contribute on behalf of each participant the same amount it would be required to contribute to the South Carolina Retirement System if the participant were a member of that system. Each participating institution shall remit to the designated companies, for application to participants' contracts, an amount equal to the participant's contribution plus that percentage of each participating institution's contribution which would have been used to fund all Retirement System benefits for future service if the participants had been members of the Retirement System, but the participating institution's contribution may not be less than four and one-quarter percent of compensation. The participating institution shall remit the remainder of its required contribution to the Retirement System.
Effect of election of optional program.
Any person electing to participate in the optional program under this chapter is ineligible for membership in the South Carolina Retirement System so long as he is employed in a position for which the optional retirement program is available. In the event an optional program participant assumes a position in public service for which the optional program is not available, he must at that time begin membership in the South Carolina Retirement System.
Nonavailability of state benefits for service rendered while in optional program.
No retirement benefit or preretirement death benefit may be paid by the State for service rendered while participating in the optional retirement program. The benefits are payable to optional retirement program participants or their beneficiaries by the designated companies in accordance with the terms of the annuity contracts issued to participants.