Full-time employees are automatically members of the Teachers’ and State Employees Retirement System. The System provides benefits for employees and their families in case of disability, retirement or death after completion of certain eligibility requirements.
Six percent of the salary of eligible employees is automatically deducted from the employee’s paycheck before taxes. The System adds an additional amount based on the calculations of an actuary.
An employee can retire with unreduced monthly benefits at age 65 with five years of membership service in the Retirement System; with 30 years of creditable service in the system regardless of age, and at age 60 with at least 25 years of creditable service.
After 5 years of service, an employee becomes “vested” in the System. If one leaves the system before retiring, contributions may be left in the system and the employee may draw a retirement income beginning at age 60.
An employee may withdraw all savings in the System if one leaves employment before retiring. If vested, an employee will receive interest on the contributions. If an employee chooses to withdraw the money, it will take at least 60 days after the last day of work before refunds can be received. If one later returns to service for at least 5 years, time towards retirement may be purchased.
Retirement intentions should be communicated to one’s immediate supervisor and the Director for Finance 30 days prior to the intended separation date.
The System provides for a death benefit. If an employee dies while in active service or within 180 days of one’s last paid day, after one year as a contributing member their beneficiary will receive a single lump sum payment. The payment equals the highest 12 months’ salary in a row during the 24 months before death. This amount is at least $25,000 but no more than $50,000. This death benefit is not transferred if one leaves employment.
The Department of the State Treasurer, Retirement Systems Division, has published a handbook detailing retirement benefits. The book Your Retirement Benefits is available through the Blue Ridge Community College Business Office. Additional information and forms regarding retirement may be obtained online through the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer.