Winston-Salem State University provides a full range of benefit programs and services which support and enhance the employment relationship of faculty and staff.
Comprehensive benefit programs are an essential part of one’s total compensation and are designed to provide income security for future needs, assist with meeting the costs of health care, and provide a generous program of paid time off to help balance the demands of work and family.
Selecting a retirement plan is mandatory!
Retirement Plans and Programs
With a Defined Benefit Plan, benefits are based on salary, years of service and a retirement factor. The retirement benefit is not based on the amount of contributions nor the investment earnings. There is no investment risk for the individual since the state takes on the risk and guarantees the retirement benefit.
The retirement benefit for a defined benefit plan is based on a formula and not on the amount you or the state contribute. The formula for Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) is determined by state statute and is:
- Average salary based on the highest 48 consecutive month of earnings
- Multiplied by a Retirement Factor of 1.82%
- Multiplied by your years of creditable service
The University contributes an amount set by the state legislature each year which funds the:
- Retirement Benefit
- Retirees' Health Care
- N.C. Disability Income Plan
- TSERS Death Benefit
The University contribution to TSERS is not a match to your contribution; it can change each year. It is deposited into a separate account than your 6% contribution to help fund retirement benefits for all members.
Unreduced and Reduced Benefits
You qualify for full (or unreduced) retirement benefits with:
- 30 years of creditable service or
- 25 years of creditable service and age 60 or
- 5 years of creditable service and age 65
You qualify for a reduced retirement benefit with:
- 20 years of creditable service and age 50 or
- 5 years of membership service and age 60
For a detailed discussion of full (or unreduced) and reduced retirement benefits please see the TSERS Handbook.
Retirement benefits are fully vested after you complete five years of membership service. If you leave State employment before completing five years of creditable service, you may request a refund of only your contributions, with such amount subject to any income taxes and early withdrawal penalties, unless you request a trustee-to-trustee transfer (direct rollover) of your refund to an IRA or another qualified retirement plan that will accept your transfer, or leave your contributions in TSERS in anticipation of a return to State service in the future.
Upon receipt of a refund of contributions, you waive any rights to the employer contributions or any other benefit from TSERS and the North Carolina Disability Income Plan.
A vested employee who terminates employment may elect to leave his or her contributions with TSERS and receive a retirement benefit starting at age 50 with at least 20 years of creditable service or, otherwise, at age 60.
- One or more years of service
- Must be an active employee at the time of death
- Highest 12 consecutive months of salary earned during the 24 months preceding your death
- Not less than $25,000
- Not more than $50,000
This amount is paid in addition to your accumulation in TSERS in the event of your death.
If you die while in active service, your beneficiary will receive a refund of contributions and interest.
If you have 20 or more years of service or, if you are at least age 60 with at least 5 years of service at the time of your death, your beneficiary can choose between receiving a refund of contributions and interest or receiving a life-time benefit.
Please note: If you name more than one principal beneficiary the life-time benefit is not an option your beneficiaries can select.
Designating A Beneficiary
There are two beneficiary designations:
- One to receive the refund of your contributions plus interest in the event of your death
- One to receive the Death Benefit
Remember: If you name more than one principal beneficiary a lump sum payment of your contributions will be divided among the beneficiaries listed; there will be no option for life-time payments. If you name more than one principal beneficiary, you cannot name a contingent beneficiary.
With a Defined Contribution Plan, retirement benefits are based on the accumulation (your contributions, the university contributions, and the interest and dividends earned) and your age at the time you begin the benefit. Since you select the investment vehicle(s) for the contributions, you assume the investment risk for your retirement plan.
The annual retirement benefit for the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) is based on:
- Your final accumulation in the plan (contributions, investment and dividend earnings)
- Your age at the time you begin the benefit
- The method of payment you elect at the time of retirement.
The University contributes an amount set by the North Carolina General Assembly each year that funds:
- Your retirement account with the ORP carrier
- Retirees' Health Care
- N.C. Disability Income Plan
Your contribution is 6%. The IRS sets a maximum compensation limit each year so that once your salary exceeds that amount, you no longer continue contributing 6% for the remaining months in the calendar year. However, you do continue receiving those months of retirement credit even though you are not making a contribution.
Options for Investment
You may elect to allocate both your contributions and the University's contributions to one carrier or you may allocate your contributions to one carrier and the University's to another. You can reallocate these contributions and/or switch carriers at any time.
Direct links to each carrier's dedicated ORP microsite are in the column to your right. You will find investment options information as well as helpful financial tools at these sites.
If you have questions about a specific carrier's investment options or services, please contact the ORP carrier directly.
Options for Termination
Less than 5 Years of Service (Not Vested)
Since you are 100% vested in your contributions and earnings, you can either:
- Withdraw your accumulated contributions and earnings as a lump sum or roll them over to an IRA or other qualified plan, or
- Leave your contributions in the plan.
You will become 100% vested in the University's contributions and earnings if:
- Your new employer is a higher education institution that sponsors a substantially similar or "like" retirement plan;
- The "like" retirement plan at your new employer is underwritten by one of the two UNC ORP carriers: Fidelity or TIAA; and
- You begin participation in that successor plan as your "core retirement plan" within 12 months following your termination from the University.
Otherwise, the University's contributions and earnings are returned to the University by the ORP carrier.
More than 5 Years of Service (Vested)
You can keep your contributions, the University contributions and all interest and earnings in the plan and retain your right to the state retiree health insurance. Retiree health insurance is a benefit that is available once you begin receiving monthly retirement income from your ORP carrier.
You can withdraw your contributions, the University contributions and all interest and earnings as a lump sum or directly roll them over to an IRA or another qualified plan, as permitted by the ORP carrier. By withdrawing your funds, you forfeit your rights to retiree health insurance.
In the event of your death, your total account value from both employee and employer contributions is 100% vested and available to your designated beneficiary. Your beneficiary can elect any distribution of retirement assets authorized under the ORP carrier provisions.
Designating a Beneficiary
You designate your beneficiary when you complete your ORP enrollment application with the applicable ORP vendor: Fidelity or TIAA. You may obtain the application directly from the vendor or from the benefits manager, Human Resources, Winston-Salem State University, 601 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive Winston-Salem, NC 27110.
Winston-Salem State University provides eligible full-time tenured faculty members the opportunity to participate in the University of North Carolina Phased Retirement Program. Eligible faculty can use this program to make an orderly transition to retirement through half-time (or equivalent) service for a predetermined period in return for half-time compensation. The following page will provide you with information, policies, forms and contact information about this program.
All University employees are encouraged to supplement their state and federal retirement benefits by participating in one or more of the supplemental retirement savings programs available to them. A significant part of the retirement planning process may include voluntary supplemental retirement plans that offer significant tax advantages. The University makes such plans available to eligible employees as authorized under Sections 403(b)(1), 403(b)(7), 457(b) and 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code. A supplemental retirement plan allows you to make contributions through payroll deductions to a variety of investment vehicles. The supplemental programs available are:
- UNC System Voluntary 403(b) Program
- North Carolina 401(k) Plan
- North Carolina 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan
- Plan Highlights
- UNC 457(b) Plan - Under the Enrollment Form section you will find the "Voluntary Salary Deferral Agreement Form" - Fidelity and TIAA
- UNC 403(b) Program - Under the Enrollment Form section you will find the "Salary Reduction Agreement Form" - Fidelity and TIAA
- UNC 401K & 457B - Prudential
Disability Income Plans of NC
The Disability Income Plan of North Carolina (DIP-NC) is sponsored by the State of North Carolina and governed by the Department of the State Treasurer. This program provides benefits to eligible employees who become continuously unable to perform the duties of their usual occupation due to a mental or physical incapacity while actively employed. The DIP-NC program is provided at no cost to eligible employees. The University pays the full cost for this program.
Permanent employees working 75% time or more (30 hours or more per week) are covered under the North Carolina Short Term Disability Income Plan benefit at no cost after one year of membership in TSERS or participation in ORP.
- Benefits are equal to 50% of your annual base rate of compensation up to a maximum of $3,000/month
- Short Term Disability is payable for a period not to exceed 365 days
- There is a 60-day waiting period before benefits become payable
- Short-term benefits may be extended for as many as 365 days beyond the short-term period, in cases where the disability continues to be temporary and likely to end during the extended period
Information on this program can be found in the N.C. Teachers and State Employees Retirement System handbook. See the link to your right.
Permanent employees working 75% time or more (30 hours or more per week) are covered under the North Carolina Long Term Disability Income Plan after five* years of participation in TSERS or ORP at no cost.
- Benefits are equal to 65% of your annual base rate of compensation up to a maximum of $3,900/month.
- If approved, the benefit continues as long as you remain permanently disabled and until you qualify for a unreduced service retirement.
Information on this program can be found in the N.C. Teachers and State Employees Retirement handbook. See the link to your right.
*May be different for employees with prior state service
This program is sponsored by the University of North Carolina System and administered by The Standard. The Standard plan provides supplemental disability benefits to eligible employees during the period you are not eligible for the Disability Income Plan of North Carolina (DIP-NC). The plan pays benefits for employees who become continuously unable to perform the duties of their usual occupation due to a mental or physical incapacity while actively employed.
Income benefits are equal to 66 2/3% of your basic monthly earnings, up to a maximum of $10,000 a month. This program will coordinate with other income programs, including the DIP-NC program once you are eligible for benefits. Your Optional Retirement Plan contributions, both employer and employee contributions, are also continued while you are disabled and receiving benefits from this plan. There is a 90-day waiting period before benefits become payable.
All permanent full-time employees who work 30 or more hours per week and are participants of the Optional Retirement Program are eligible.
Rates are determined by the employee’s annual income and monthly benefit amount.
If you elect to enroll in the UNC Optional Retirement Program (ORP), in order to provide disability coverage during the period you are not eligible for either the short-term or long-term disability benefit, and to provide additional benefit after you are eligible, you may elect to enroll in a voluntary supplemental disability plan.
Eligibility: Permanent employees regularly scheduled to work 75% time or more (30 hours or more per week) and participating in the ORP.
Carrier: The Standard
Benefit: 66 2/3% of your monthly gross salary up to $10,000 and continued contributions of both the employer and employee ORP contribution amount is deposited into a TIAA-CREF account on your behalf.
Coverage: Provides replacement income while you are ineligible for the State's Disability Income Plan and supplements the State's plan when you are eligible.
Waiting Period before Benefits begin: 90 days
Enrollment: Download the enrollment form for The Standard. If you do not enroll within 60 days of employment and choose to enroll at a later time, you will have to furnish evidence of insurability that is satisfactory to The Standard.
Use The Standard Supplemental Disability Plan Rate Calculation link to calculate your monthly premiums.
Premiums are deducted after taxes so any disability benefit you receive from The Standard will not be subject to taxes.
If you experience any problems, contact Human Resources at 336-750-2830.
As a member of the N.C. Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System (TSERS), in order to provide disability coverage during the period you are not eligible for the State's short-term or long-term disability benefit, and to provide additional benefits after you become eligible, you may elect to enroll in a voluntary supplemental disability plan.
Eligibility: Permanent employees regularly scheduled to work 75% time or more (30 hours or more per week) and participating in TSERS.
Carrier: Liberty Mutual
Benefit: 66 2/3% of your gross monthly salary up to $10,000, coordinated with certain other benefits.
For more information: See link for Liberty Mutual information.
Coverage: Provides replacement income while you are ineligible for the Stateâ??s Disability Income Plan and supplements the State's plan when you are eligible.
Waiting Period before Benefits begin: 90 days
Enrollment: Download the enrollment form for Liberty. If you do not enroll within 60 days of employment and choose to enroll at a later time, you will have to furnish evidence of insurability that is satisfactory to Liberty Mutual.
This program is sponsored by the University of North Carolina System and administered by Lincoln Financial. The plan provides supplemental disability benefits to eligible employees during the period you are not eligible for the Disability Income Plan of North Carolina (DIP-NC). The plan pays benefits for employees who become continuously unable to perform the duties of their usual occupation due to a mental or physical incapacity while actively employed.
Income benefits are equal to 66 2/3% of your basic monthly earnings, up to a maximum of $10,000 a month. This program will coordinate with other income programs, including the DIP-NC program, once you are eligible for benefits. There is a 90-day waiting period before benefits become payable.
All permanent full-time employees who work 30 or more hours per week and are members of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) are eligible.
Rates are determined by the employee’s annual income and monthly benefit amount. Use the Lincoln Financial Premium Calculator below to help you calculate your premiums.
State Employees Association of North Carolina - offers member discounts with savings at more than 3,000 businesses across the state and nation. Searchable database to find discounts in your area.
Verizon Wireless - offers you discounts on wireless products and services based on your employment or affiliation with an organization that has an agreement with us.