Instagram Combined Shape quotation Created with Sketch. 69

Potsdam Voluntary Separation Program

Potsdam Voluntary Separation Program (“VSP”) Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to participate in the program?

All SUNY Potsdam full-time employees who are NYS retirement eligible, with at least 10 years full-time NYS service as of June 30, 2024, and in good standing at time of application may apply for the program.

Am I required to meet with Human Resources (“HR”) as a condition of participating in the VSP?

Yes, the Campus wants to ensure that participants are making an informed decision regarding participation.     

I am a rehired retiree currently employed by Potsdam. May I participate in the VSP?

No, this program is not available to employees who have already retired.

When do I need to commit to a separation ?

Participants must hand deliver an irrevocable letter of resignation in black or blue ink to Human Resources, within five (5) business days of receipt that your application was approved by the President.

I am not sure if I am eligible to participate in this program. How can I obtain additional information?

Contact Nicole Bacon-Ward at (315) 267-2090. HR will verify that you meet the eligibility requirements. If you are eligible, you will receive additional VSP specific information.

From which date will my years of eligible State service be calculated?

You must have completed 10 or more full-time years of NYS service as of June 30, 2024.

Will my payout be prorated for a partial year of service?

No, the lump-sum payment will be based on full years of service only.

May I use my vacation leave time to carry me to my separation date?

Yes, if operational needs are met, your supervisor may approve the use of vacation and holiday compensatory time (Professional, MC and classified service employees only).  Use of accruals does not allow you to extend your retirement date beyond June 30, 2024.

If I am vested in one of the NYS retirement systems (ERS, TRS or the Optional Retirement Program), what will I need to do?

ERS: If you are eligible to retire from NYS Employees Retirement System (ERS), you will need to complete a service retirement application. This application must be filed with ERS at least 15 days, but not more than 90 days, prior to your retirement date. Call (866) 805-0990 for more information regarding the application process and/or your benefits.

TRS: If you are eligible to retire from the NYS Teachers Retirement System (TRS), you should contact them at (800) 348-7298. You may file a service retirement application up until your effective date of retirement but no sooner than 90 days before your retirement date.

ORP: If you are eligible to retire through the Optional Retirement Program (e.g.: TIAA, Fidelity, Corebridge Financial or VOYA), you should contact them.

TIAA - Call (866) 662-7945 or contact your individual agent directly.

Fidelity - Call (844) 367-7869 or contact your individual agent directly.

Corebridge Financial - Call (800) 448-2542 or contact your individual agent directly.

VOYA - Call (800) 584-6001 or contact your individual agent directly.

What will happen with my medical insurance should I be approved to participate in the VSP?

If you are age 55 or more with at least 10 years of benefits eligible service and you are currently enrolled in NYSHIP (the NYS Health Insurance Program), you are eligible for the lifetime retiree health insurance benefit. This benefit provides you with the same medical and prescription drug coverage you have as an active employee either with the Empire Plan or an HMO. Your rate will be calculated and discussed with you during the HR consult.

What will happen with my dental and vision benefits should I be approved to participate in the VSP?

Please contact your union for additional information.

What will happen to my Flex Spending Accounts (e.g.: Health Care Spending or Dependent Care) should I be approved to participate in the VSP?

Contact the Flex Spending Account at (800) 358-7202 or go to

How will I receive my VSP lump-sum payment?

Approved participants will receive a one-time VSP lump-sum payment. This amount will be taxable income.

May I have the lump-sum VSP payment direct-deposited into an account of my designation?

No. Potsdam requires that employees personally pick-up (in HR) the VSP check and sign to acknowledge receipt of same.

May I defer a portion of my lump-sum payment?


May I defer a portion of my vacation and lag payment?

Consult with your financial advisor or tax professional to determine your ability to do so.

When will I receive my lump-sum payment?

Approved participants will receive their lump-sum payment by no later than the end of July 2024.

How will I receive my vacation payout?

Approved participants who accrue vacation will receive payment for accrued and unused vacation up to a maximum of 30 days through a one-time lump-sum payment from SUNY Potsdam, subject to approval by the Office of the State Comptroller. The amount of the vacation payment will be provided to participants during the mandatory one-on-one consultation with HR. Employees are responsible for ensuring that their attendance record is submitted and approved.

Will the lump-sum payment include SUNY contributions into my ORP account or contributions into my Supplemental Retirement account (“SRA”) or NYS Deferred Comp account?


Can I elect to have contributions into my Supplemental Retirement account (“SRA”) or NYS Deferred Comp account?


Will I be eligible for unemployment insurance?

While Potsdam does not make unemployment eligibility determinations, it is the university’s understanding that an employee who voluntarily separates (e.g.: resign or retire) from their position is not eligible for unemployment insurance.

Who should I contact if I still have questions?

Contact Nicole Bacon-Ward, Human Resources Associate, at (315) 267-2090.

What kind of support is available for employees considering this program?

Please contact Human Resources at extension 2094 to schedule a consultation meeting.

You may also visit the following website which has additional information regarding the VSP and retirement.

What services and facilities at SUNY Potsdam will I have access to post-separation?

For unclassified employees you must follow the emeritus request process (Chapter 2, section N of the faculty handbook) which will determine what services and facilities you will have access to.  For classified employees, you may request to keep your email through CTS.

Can I retract my resignation once it is submitted but has not yet been approved?

Once you have submitted your signed letter of resignation you may not retract your resignation.