VI. RETIREMENT, DISABILITY AND DEATH BENEFITS

A. RETIREMENT PROGRAMS
B. NEW YORK STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM (ERS)
C. NEW YORK STATE TEACHERS' RETIREMENT SYSTEM (TRS)
D. THE SUNY OPTIONAL RETIREMENT PROGRAM (ORP)
E. PRIOR SERVICE
F. SUNY GROUP TOTAL DISABILITY INSURANCE PLAN
G. WORKERS' COMPENSATION
H. SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ALLOWANCE
I. DEATH BENEFITS

1. NYS RETIREMENT SYSTEM BENEFITS (ERS AND TRS MEMBERS ONLY)
2. ACCIDENTAL DEATH BENEFITS
3. SUNY OPTIONAL RETIREMENT PLAN (ORP) BENEFITS
4. SURVIVOR'S BENEFIT PROGRAM FOR STATE EMPLOYEES
5. SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

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A. RETIREMENT PROGRAMS

Full time teaching faculty of SUNY Potsdam are eligible to elect one of three different retirement programs:
  1. New York State Teachers' Retirement System (TRS)
  2. New York State Employees' Retirement System (ERS)
  3. The Optional Retirement Program established by law, under which State University has designated the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and the College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) as the insurers.
Full time professional employees of SUNY Potsdam are eligible to elect one of two different retirement programs:
  1. New York State Employees' Retirement System (ERS)
  2. The Optional Retirement Program established by law, under which State University has designated the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and the College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) as the insurers.

Part time employees who are appointed with other that a "term" appointment may join either ERS or TRS, but are not eligible to enroll in the SUNY Optional Retirement Program.

Full time employees must elect to join one of these plans within thirty (30) days of their appointment. This is the only opportunity they will have to make an election. If they do not make an election within this period, they will be required to join TRS, if teaching faculty, and ERS if professional staff. Each of these programs offers certain advantages. You should consider each program in relation to your own particular needs and objectives.

Each of these retirement programs is briefly summarized in the following pages. Additional information can be obtained from the Human Recourses Office.

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B. NEW YORK STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM (ERS) (www.osc.state.ny.us/retire)

Benefits vary by tier level. Membership in each tier is generally determined by the date of an employee's appointment. Presently there are four (4) tiers.

Employees who join the ERS on or after September 1, 1983, are tier 4 members.

Membership is effective as the date your application is received by ERS. Tier 4 members may retire at age 62, or later, with full benefits, or as early as age 55 with reduced benefits. If you have 30 years or credited service, you can retire with no reductions.

ERS is a contributory retirement system. You contribute 3% of your gross salary (before federal income taxes); during your first 10 years of membership, and the State funds the balance of your benefits.

A member with 5 or more years service is eligible for a vested benefit which entitles you to retirement allowances as early as age 55.

In the event an employee with less than 10 years of service credit terminates employment, his/her contributions, plus interest, may be withdrawn upon request.

The formulas noted below will generally apply for the Tier 4 members retiring at age 62 or later:

- with at least 5, but fewer than 20 years of service credit, the benefits is 1/60th (1.66%) of final average salary* for each year of credited service.

- with 20 or more years of service credit, the benefit is 1/50th (2%) of final average salary for final year salary for each year of credited service (up to 30 years) and 3/200th (1.5%) of final average salary for each year of credited service over 30 years.

-Additional information concerning this plan is contained in the pamphlet, The Summary Plan Description for Tier 4 Members, or can be obtained from the Employees Retirement System (518)- 474-7736.

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C. NEW YORK STATE TEACHERS' RETIREMENT SYSTEM (TRS) (www.nystrs.org)

TRS is divided into tiers, membership in which is generally determined by your date of appointment. At present there are four (4) tiers. Employees who join the TRS on or after September 1, 1983, are Tier 4 employees.

Membership in TRS for full time employees is effective as of entry into eligible service. You contribute 3% of your gross salary during your first 10 years of membership and the State also make contributions based upon your salary.

A member with 5 or more years of service credit is entitled to a reduced benefit at age 55 (if s/he has less than 30 years of credited service) or an unreduced benefit at age 62.

In the event an employee with less than 10 years of service credit terminates employment, his/her contributions, plus interest, may be withdrawn upon request.

The retirement benefit formulas noted below will generally apply for Tier 4 members retiring at age 62 or later:

·With at least 5, but fewer that 20 years of service, the benefit is 1.66% of final average salary* for each year of service.

·With 20 or more years of service, the benefit is 2% of final average salary (up to 30 years), and 1.5% of final average salary for each year of service over 30 years.

*Final Average Salary -- Average salary with certain limitations, for the highest salaried three consecutive years to employment. Additional information can be obtained by calling TRS at 800-348-7298 ext. 6250.

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D. THE SUNY OPTIONAL RETIREMENT PROGRAM (ORP)

Full time employees electing this option can purchase retirement annuity contracts from one or more of four life insurance/annuity companies. These four companies are:

1) The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC)
2) Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association -- College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF)
3) Metropolitan Life & Affiliated Companies (MetLife)
4) ING

Each of the companies that comprise the SUNY Optional Retirement Program enjoy enviable reputations in their industry and offer a variety of investment choices.

Your employer cannot give you advice with regard to how to invest your retirement plan contributions. You should discuss this with the representative of the company you select. However, among the things you should consider when making this decision are: the degree of risk you are willing to assume, other sources and types of income you except will be available during retirement, and the value to you of broad diversification of the types of investments underlying you pension annuity income.

The phone numbers of the SUNY Optional Retirement Program representatives are:

1) VALIC (Rick Wolf) 315-682-2516
2) TIAA-CREF (Dave Howe) 877-209-3144 or 716-246-4621
3) MET LIFE (Scott Schoeler)
4) ING (Steve Donella) 315-682-1094

Membership in the SUNY Optional Retirement Program is effective at your entry into State service. Contributions to the plan for employees hired before July 26, 1976 (Tiers 1 and 2) are:

Employee Contribution
None
None
SUNY Contribution
12% of first $16,500 State salary
15% of earnings over $16,500

Contributions to the plan for employees hired between July 27, 1976 and June 30, 1992 (Tiers 3 and 4) are:

Employee Contribution
3% of gross State salary during your first 10 years of membership
3% of gross State salary during your first 10 years of membership
SUNY Contribution
9% of first $16,500 State salary
12% of earnings over $16,500

Contributions to the plan for employees hired on or after July 1, 1992 (Tier 4A) are:

Employee Contribution
3% of gross State salary during your first 10 years of membership
3% of gross State salary during your first 10 years of membership
SUNY Contribution
8% of gross State salary for the first seven years service
10% of gross State salary thereafter (see note below)

Note: All SUNY employees participating in the ORP on or after January 1, 1996 will have their contributions made on their regular compensation up to $170,000. For employees participating in the ORP before January 1, 1996, plan contributions will not be made on regular compensation in excess of $200,000.

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Participation is immediate for employees who own qualifying TIAA-CREF, ING, MetLife, or VALIC contracts at the time of their employment and elect the SUNY Optional Retirement Program. New annuity contract applications must be completed.

Employees who do not own contracts with the companies noted above and elect the SUNY Optional Retirement Program will have State contributions made on their behalf once they complete 366 days of service. At the end of 366 days of service, the State will make a single lump sum contribution with interest for this initial period and then make regular bi-weekly contributions thereafter. If you do not serve at least 366 days, no State contributions will be made.

The employee contributions deducted during the first 366 days, plus interest, will be transmitted at the end of the 366 day period. If service does not continue for 366 days, the employee contributions and accumulated interest will be refunded.

You will receive quarterly reports from your pension plan administrator for each account, listing all activity during the quarter: premiums paid, interest credited, accumulation units (shares) purchased, and the value of your total accumulations. The actual amount of your retirement income will depend on the number of years you participate in the plan, the amount of premiums paid each year, your age at retirement, your investment experience, the income options(s) you select, and other factors.

Detailed information concerning your retirement plan options can be obtained from the Office of Human Resources.

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E. PRIOR SERVICE

If you have previous service with a public employer in New York State or military service, please notify the Office of Human Resources. You may be eligible to receive credit (and/or tier reinstatement).

F. SUNY GROUP TOTAL DISABILITY INSURANCE PLAN

Upon completion of one (1) year full-time service with SUNY, faculty and professional staff employees will automatically be enrolled in this long term disability plan. Also, part-time (non-casual) faculty and professional staff employees will also be enrolled after one year of service, if they are employed at a salary rate which will yield a total compensation of at least $13,337, effective July 2, 2009. If your immediate prior employer provider a long-term disability plan which provided similar benefits, you may be entitled to a waiver of the 1-year service requirement.

The objective of this plan is to ensure that a substantial part of your income will be protected in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury of long-term (more than six months) duration. There is no cost to you for this protection.

The plan provides an income of 60 percent of your basic monthly salary, to a maximum of $5,000 per month; and also contributes a monthly premium to your regular retirement plan while disabled. These benefits will begin following six months of total disability, and will continue during disability until age 65, or death, whichever occurs first. Upon reaching age 65, disability benefits cease, and your retirement annuity begins.

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G. WORKERS' COMPENSATION

Workers' Compensation is intended to protect employees against loss of income or loss of employment when they are necessarily absent from work because of an on-the-job injury or disease. It is essential that you report any job-related accident immediately to your supervisor. Failure to do so could mean loss of benefits.

Employees who incur an occupational injury or disease may also be eligible for benefits provided under the New York State Workers' Compensation Law. Reporting all work-related injuries and illnesses is critical to ensuring that workers' compensation claims are handled properly. Here are the steps you take to report a work-related injury or illness:

·If you haven't done so already, notify your supervisor.

·Complete an Injury Report and submit it to your supervisor within 24 hours of the incident.

State employees must also call the Accident Reporting System toll-free number 888-800-0029 to report a work-related injury or illness.

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H. SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ALLOWANCE

The U.S. Social Security Administration provides a disability benefit to employees who are disabled to the extent that they cannot perform substantial gainful work; and who are fully insured – that is, have the necessary amount of quarters of coverage. The amount of disability benefit is the employee's Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) at the time he/she became disabled. There is a "waiting period" of five full consecutive months from the time a disability is determined until benefits begin. Additionally, disability benefits may be reduced if the employee is receiving payments under a workers' compensation or another disability plan. Additional information concerning this benefit can be obtained from the Social Security Administration, (phone: 800-772-1213).

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I. DEATH BENEFITS

If an employee dies while in State service, beneficiaries may be entitled to receive death benefit payments, depending upon the Retirement System the employee elected.

1. NYS RETIREMENT SYSTEM BENEFITS (ERS AND TRS MEMBERS ONLY)

Ordinary Death Benefit - After one year of service, the death benefit two equals the deceased member's salary. After two years of service, the benefit equals two times salary, and after three years of service, the benefit equals the maximum amount of three times salary. However, if an employee last joins the Retirement System at age 52 or later, the benefit is reduced based on the member's age when last joining the retirement system.

At age 61, the death benefit two will be reduced by 4 percent each year you continue in service, up to age 70. It will not be reduced below 60 percent of the ordinary death benefit payable.

The death benefit is payable after retirement. It will be reduced by 50 percent at the time of retirement, and by an additional 25 percent upon completion of the first year of retirement. At the beginning of the third year of retirement, the benefit will equal 10 percent of the benefit in force at age 60, if any, or at the time of retirement, if retirement preceded age 60.

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2. ACCIDENTAL DEATH BENEFITS

In addition to the above outlined ordinary death benefits, accidental death benefits are payable on behalf of members who die as the direct result of on-the-job accidents. There is no minimum service requirement for the accidental death benefit.

TIERS 3 AND 4: The accidental death benefit is paid in monthly installments with the annual amount equal to 50 percent of the member's last year's earnings.

IMPORTANT! Supervisors should keep the Office of Human Resources (267-4816) informed in any case of serious injury or illness of an employee, which may result in either disability or death. This is necessary in order for the employee to apply for all applicable disability/survivor benefits and to counsel family members.

3. SUNY OPTIONAL RETIREMENT PLAN (ORP) BENEFITS

Should an employee who selected the ORP die before his/her annuity benefits begin, the full accumulations (both the employee's and the State's contributions and all investment earnings) are payable to the employee's designated beneficiary. Death benefits after retirement, if any, will be determined by the retirement income option selected.

Detailed information concerning this benefit can be obtained from the Office of Human Resources.

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4. SURVIVOR'S BENEFIT PROGRAM FOR STATE EMPLOYEES

This program insures a minimum death benefit for your survivors, should you die and not otherwise qualify for an ordinary death benefit that is equal to one half of your annual salary, subject to a maximum of $10,000. It also provides for a lump-sum payment of $2,000 if you are otherwise entitled to the ERS accidental death benefit.

This benefit is free to you, and you automatically participate in the plan after you have been employed for 90 days, providing you work at least 20 hours per week, or your annual salary exceeds $2,000.

Detailed information concerning this program is contained in the pamphlet, The Survivor's Benefit Program for State Employees, can be obtained from the Office of Human Resources.

5. SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

The U.S. Social Security Administration may provide a death benefit for those who are either currently insured or fully insured. The exact amount payable is determined by such factors as salary at the time of death, number and age of dependents, and whether any of the dependents has a disability. A lump-sum benefit of $255 may also be payable. Additional information concerning these benefits can be obtained from the Social Security Administration (Phone 800-772-1213).

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For more information, please contact the Office of Human Resources, Assistant Vice President Mary Dolan
or e-mail: dolanmk@potsdam.edu.