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Division of Human Resources

Pension Orientation for Temporary Employees

As a temporary faculty or staff member, you generally have the option of opting out or participating in the university's pension programs. The Benefits Office offers you this online resource to assist you in making decisions about pension options.

Congratulations, and welcome to the University of South Carolina!

To ensure that you receive the pension coverage that you need, please be prepared to make your pension choices within seven days of your start date with the university. Please refer to the Retirement Program Guidelines [pdf] for other important details regarding the pension program.

If you are a new temporary employee with the School of Medicine or with one of our campuses outside of Columbia, the Human Resources Office on your campus will be your primary resource for orientation. Please consult with them prior to completing this information, as their procedures may vary.

If you are a rehire and will continue the same retirement election you initially chose, please refer to your department's Human Resources Contact for further information.

Pension Options

As a temporary employee, you may choose to opt out of enrolling in a retirement plan as long as you have no funds currently on deposit in a South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) account and you are not a South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) system TERI participant or retiree returning to work. However, you must make this decision within 30 days of your date of hire or you will automatically default into the SCRS.

If you already have funds on deposit in the SCRS from another employer, or if you are a PEBA system TERI participant or retiree returning to work, you are generally required to continue participation in the same retirement account and do not have the option to opt out of participation.

Please note it is imperative that TERI/retiree participants accurately report your status to avoid adjustments to pay deductions in the future. Additionally, for retirees returning to work, a $10,000 earnings limitation will apply if your retirement date is January 2, 2013 or later and you were younger than age 62 (under SCRS) or age 57 (under PORS) at the date of retirement. The earnings limitation will not apply while in TERI status. Please refer to the guidelines provided on the PEBA website for further clarification.

Retirement Plans 

If you participate in one of the State’s pension programs, it will require that 8.16% of your salary be deducted from your gross pay. These contributions will be made to the plan you choose: the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) or the State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP). If you are employed in a position that falls under the Police Officers Retirement System (PORS), you will participate in the PORS program, for which contributions will be made at a rate of 8.74%.  

Watch It's Your Choice: SCRS or State ORP or review Select Your Retirement Plan for detailed information about these plans and additional enrollment requirements. Visit PEBA's website to take a glance at each plan, and to see what happens if you leave the retirement system early.  


Step 1: If you are a new employee to the university, you will receive an email from the PEBA asking you to enroll in your selected retirement plan, opt out of participation – if you have this option, or confirm your pension status. If you do not initially select an option within 30 days of your date of hire, you will automatically default into the SCRS and will not be able to switch. Please note, the Benefits Office will require a working email address to provide to PEBA to initiate this email.

If you choose to participate in the State ORP, you must also complete a vendor's enrollment form, which is obtained directly from the vendor. You may find out more information by contacting the applicable vendor [pdf]

Step 2: If you are participating in a retirement plan, you must also complete one of the following beneficiary forms, based on your selected option:

  1. Active Member Beneficiary (Form 1102) [pdf] (SCRS Pension Plan) or
  2. State ORP Beneficiary (Form 1106) [pdf].

Please return your beneficiary paperwork to the Benefits Office, located at 1600 Hampton Street, Suite 801, Columbia, S.C. 29208. These forms must be notarized. For your convenience, the Benefits Office offers free notary services, but please remember that all forms must be signed at the time of notarization. 

Other Tax-Sheltered Annuity Products

For employees who would like to explore savings beyond the SCRS/ORP pension programs, the South Carolina Deferred Compensation websitebrochure [pdf] and video outlines 401(k) and 457(b) savings plan offerings that are currently administered by Great West Retirement Services. You are also welcome to research providers of other tax-sheltered annuity plans [pdf] who offer a number of 403(b) plans.

Visit the South Carolina Deferred Compensation (SCDP) website to enroll in 401(k) and 457(b) plans. All enrollments are coordinated directly with the vendor, and not through the Human Resources department. The vendor will facilitate enrollment with the university’s Payroll department. Please contact Payroll at 803-777-4227 with any questions about deductions.

Drug-Free Workplace

The Drug-Free Workplace policy [pdf] details the university’s guidelines and expectations regarding the abuse of drugs and alcohol in conjunction with employment at the university.

The above information is in preparation for initial temporary employment and does not create a contract in the event temporary employment is not extended.