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Division of Human Resources

Retirement Benefits

Whether retirement is just around the corner or a long way down the road, it is important to make smart decisions now about your financial future.  The University of South Carolina offers several great options to help you prepare for a secure retirement.

Retirement Benefits

You have 30 days from the date of hire to elect non-membership or enroll in your retirement plan and designate beneficiaries for your retirement account. 

Most employees will have the opportunity to select between the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) and the State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP). The Select Your Retirement Plan guide and the It's Your Choice video below can help you better understand these programs and select the option that is best for you.


Some employees may qualify for the Police Officers Retirement System (PORS). This retirement plan is primarily for public safety employees of state agencies, public school districts and charter schools, public higher education institutions.


Retirement Initial Enrollment Process

Eligible employees have 30 days from their date of hire or date of eligibility to make a selection in state retirement benefits.

Enrollment into retirement benefits is initiated by the South Carolina Public Benefit Authority (PEBA). PEBA will send an email notification to your work or personal email that will prompt you to make your state retirement enrollment or non-membership selection. 

Important:  If you want to enroll in ORP, or if applicable, elect non-membership (refuse enrollment), you must actively respond to the enrollment notification from PEBA. If you do not respond to the email from PEBA within 30 days of your initial date of hire you will be automatically enrolled in SCRS (or PORS if applicable), which is irrevocable. 

After this initial enrollment, your retirement membership will be managed using Member Access. Follow these instructions to set up a new Member Access account.


Voluntary Retirement Programs

The University of South Carolina offers two additional voluntary retirement programs to help you meet your retirement goals. You can enroll in these programs or change your voluntary contributions at any time.

The South Carolina Deferred Compensation Program (SCDCP) offers a unique opportunity for you to save for your future. It is a straightforward way to work toward the retirement income you desire. You can contribute to a 401(k) and 457(b) plan and elect to contribute before tax or choose the Roth option to make after-tax contributions. 

The SCDCP, administered by Empower Retirement, is available to most employees covered by the South Carolina Retirement Systems.

Visit the PEBA Deferred Compensation Program to learn more.  To enroll online, please follow the instruction in the SCDCP Enrollment Guide You can also call Empower Retirement at 877-457-6263.

The 403(b) Program is a tax-sheltered annuity plan sponsored by the University of South Carolina and has many providers to meet your individual retirement goals. To enroll the program you will need to sign up with the university and with the annuity provider:

  1. Sign up with the university. New participants can start a contribution through Employee Self Service

    When you log into Employee Self Service use the drop down menu in the top center of the page to navigate to My Workplace, select the Benefits Enrollment Tile, and then select the 403(b) eform. Each step of the enrollment process is described on the 403(b) tip sheet [pdf].

  2. Contact the annuity provider [pdf] directly to complete paperwork to allocate investment funds and designate a beneficiary, etc.

    If you do not contact the annuity provider [pdf], your account will not be setup appropriately. Depending on the vendor your contribution may be applied to a designated default account or even returned to USC. 

If you have any questions regarding enrollments in a 403(b) plan, please contact your Campus Benefits Office.


Additional Retirement Resources

Get quick access to more information about your retirement benefits.

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