Preparing for Retirement

SCRS | ORP | PORS | SHARP | Supplemental | Exiting Plans

Participation in one of the state retirement plans is mandatory for classified employees, faculty and employees with prior South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) pension accounts (active or inactive). Participation is optional for temporary employees, research grant employees, residents, postdoctoral fellows and all health system employees.

You have 30 days from your hire date to select a retirement plan otherwise you will automatically default to the SCRS plan. Please review the New Hire Retirement FAQs

The two state retirement plans are SCRS Traditional Pension Plan and State Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). View the differences between the SCRS and State ORP plans in this Select Your Retirement Plan video. Please also review the ORP Retirement FAQs and PORS and SCRS Retirement FAQs for answers to common retirement questions.

Please review the Retirement Plan contribution rates for details regarding the employee and employer contributions to ORP, PORS and SCRS. Helpful tool when considering your retirement plan options: Select Your Retirement Plan Guide

You may be eligible for continued health insurance benefits when you retire. For more information, review the eligibility requirements and consult with your benefits representative.

SC Retirement System Traditional Pension Plan (SCRS) 

A defined benefit plan. When you retire, you receive a monthly pension based on a formula that includes average final compensation, years of service and a 1.82% benefit multiplier. You must have a minimum of 5 years of earned service (Class II) or 8 years of earned service (Class III) to be eligible to receive a retirement annuity. 9% of salary may be contributed before taxes.

Contributions are placed in an account in your name that earns interest per year. Your employer also contributes. However, if you terminate employment before you are eligible to retire and receive a refund of your contributions, the employer contributions will not be refunded to you. Election of membership in the SCRS is irrevocable and permanent until you separate employment.

Review detailed plan information and learn about retirement eligibility from PEBA

South Carolina Optional Retirement Program (ORP)

Retirement income is based on contributions, investment choices and account balances. Employees may contribute 9% of salary before taxes. Employers contribute 5% directly to the investment provider. You are vested immediately which means the money MUSC contributes is yours to take with you from day one. Election of membership is permanent until you separate employment.

Review detailed plan information on ORP, including current investment providers, and the ORP at a Glance PDF for more information.

Participants may irrevocably change to the SCRS plan during the designated open enrollment period of Jan. 1 through March 1 each year if, from their initial enrollment, they have at least 12 months of participation by March 1, but no more than 60 months. 

The ORP is regulated by the IRS and is designated as a 401(a) plan under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). There are no MUSC regulations for when an employee may leave employment or retire when enrolled in the ORP, however, the IRS mandates that if you withdraw funds from your account prior to age 59 1/2 you will be assessed a 10% penalty.

Police Officers Retirement Plan (PORS) 

MUSC Law Enforcement Officers and Security Specialists only are eligible for this plan. These contributions will be placed in an account in your name that draws interest per year. Employees may contribute 9.75% of pre-tax salary and your employer also contributes to the plan. However, if you terminate employment and receive a refund of your contributions, your employer's contributions will not be refunded to you. Election of membership is permanent until you separate employment or are assigned to an exempt position. 

When you retire, you receive a monthly pension based on a formula that includes average final compensation, years of service, and a 2.14% benefit multiplier. Insurance benefits are based on years of service and retirement criteria. Please contact the benefits office at 843-792-2607 for more information.

Participants can review plan information on the PEBA PORS website, including eligibility information, as well as in the Select Your Retirement Plan Guide

SHARP Retirement Milliman

Special Healthcare Alternative Retirement Plan (SHARP) is an employer-funded retirement plan available to eligible laundry and dietary workers, and eligible nursing and patient support staff.

Eligible employees will receive a 5.15% employer contribution into SHARP retirement plan. Members do not contribute funds from their paycheck. Participants are 100% vested after 5 years with no access to the funds while employed. Review the Quick Enrollment Flyer for more information

Supplemental Retirement

MUSC employees can save additional money for retirement in a voluntary retirement plan. Taxed and tax-deferred plans are available. To start a voluntary retirement plan, complete a contract/enrollment form with the company you choose and begin your contributions online

The SC Deferred Compensation Program, also known as Empower Retirement, offers four voluntary retirement plans:

  • Traditional 401(k): contributions are tax-deferred resulting in a lower taxable income, however distributions are taxed as income; minimum age for distribution is 59 1/2.
  • Roth 401(k): contributions are taxed, but savings and investment earnings are withdrawn tax-free if you are age 59 1/2 and have held the account for at least five years.
  • Traditional 457: contributions are tax-deferred resulting in a lower taxable income, however distributions are taxed as income; no minimum age for distribution but must be separated from employment.
  • Roth 457: contributions are taxed, but savings and investment earnings are withdrawn tax-free once you separate employment and the account has been open for at least five years.

Resources:

MUSC offers Tax Sheltered 403(b) Annuity Plans through Corebridge Financial (formerly AIG), Fidelity, MassMutual, MetLife and TIAA. These contributions will be taxed at distribution as income and the minimum age for distribution is 59 1/2.

Plans are identified by and defined in numbered sections of the Internal Revenue Code. Withdrawals are permitted upon retirement, termination, minimum age restriction, disability, death or approved hardship. Withdrawals before retirement may be subject to 20 percent mandatory withholding and 10 percent penalty tax in addition to ordinary income tax. Loans are permitted if allowed by the company you choose for your plan.

If you participate in a Traditional or Roth 401(k) or a 457 plan, visit the SC Deferred Compensation Program website to make changes. If you participate in a 403(b) plan, visit the Fidelity, The Hartford, MetLife, TIAA-CREF, VALIC website to make changes. Monthly paid employees must make their change by the 10 of the month for their contribution to be effective that month. Biweekly paid employees contribution changes will be effective the next available pay period after the change is received.

Exiting Retirement Plans 

If you wish to rollover or take a distribution from your SCRS account, please visit Member Access to submit your request.

If you take your funds out of the State pension, you forfeit your State pension. PEBA Retirement will deduct 20% mandatory taxes. If you are under the age of 59 ½, you could be imposed with a 10% penalty for early withdrawal. PEBA Retirement will release your funds 90 days after your separation date.

If you participate in the State ORP, you can keep your ORP retirement funds on account for as long as you wish, rollover to another qualified retirement account or take a distribution. If you take a distribution, your funds will be subject to mandatory taxes.

If you participate in the Sharp Retirement Plan, after you separate from employment, please reach out to Sharp Retirement’s administrator Milliman to review your account and discuss your vesting schedule.