Information & Tools for Campus Employees

Home > For Campus Employees > Optional Retirement Program > Choosing A Retirement Plan > Comparison of Key Features

Comparison of Key Features

The Basics
Contributions, Investments and Services
Retiring
Additional Benefits

The Basics

Description ORP SERS
Plan Type Defined Contribution Defined Benefit
Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a) 401(a)
Vesting Immediate 100% After 10 years of creditable service

Contributions, Investments and Service

Description ORP SERS
Contribution Rate 9% of annual regular salary to $30,000, plus 11% of annual regular salary above $30,000 9% of annual regular salary to $30,000, plus 11% of annual regular salary above $30,000
Contribution from the Commonwealth 5% employer match Commonwealth ensures full funding for promised benefits
Plan Investments Participants select the investments for their own accounts Commonwealth manages all investments
Ability to Purchase Years of Service Not applicable. See FAQs 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Members may purchase past years (including military service and possibly state contract work) to increase their retirement income
Re-employment Before Retirement A former ORP participant may participate in the ORP immediately upon re-employment in an eligible position A former SERS member may participate in the SERS immediately upon re-employment

Retiring

Description ORP SERS
Eligibility to Begin Benefit Payments Any time after terminating employment with the Commonwealth Eligible after 10 years of service at age 55, or 20 years at any age
Benefit Amounts Benefit amount is based upon account balance and payment method selected Amount of income is based on:
- age
- length of creditable service
- level of salary
- group classification
- payment option
Payment Options Variety of payment options ranging from lifetime income to lump sums Lifetime income, payable under options which can provide survivor benefits
Exempt from Massachusetts Tax Yes, when paid to retirees residing in Massachusetts Yes, when paid to retirees residing in Massachusetts
Cost-of-Living Adjustments Participants should structure their investments during retirement to ensure their incomes keep pace with or exceed inflation Adjustments are provided by legislative act each year
Re-employment After Retirement Participants may continue or discontinue their retirement income. No maximum workloads are imposed. Members may continue their retirement income with maximum workload requirements. Members may discontinue their retirement income to work without limitation of their hours.

Additional Benefits

Description ORP SERS
Retiree
Health Care, Dental & Life Insurances
Eligible after 10 years of service at age 55, or 20 years at any age. Retirees must maintain sufficient funds in their accounts. Eligible after 10 years of service at age 55, or 20 years at any age
Disability Benefits Long-term disability insurance provided as part of the ORP Disability pensions are payable to vested participants. Benefits are payable to non-vested participants if they are disabled on the job. SERS participants often purchase supplemental disability insurance through the Group Insurance Commission.
Pre-retirement Death Benefits Your ORP retirement account balance and ORP life insurance proceeds are payable to your beneficiaries. Participants may also purchase optional life insurance through the Group Insurance Commission. Depending on your vested status, lifetime income or lump sum benefits can be payable to your spouse or survivors. Members may also purchase optional life insurance through the Group Insurance Commission.
In-service Withdrawals & Loans Not Available Not Available
Portability Participant accounts may remain in the plan or be rolled into either another employer’s plan or a Rollover IRA. Employer-funded benefits are not forfeited at termination of employment. Non-vested members may withdraw their contributions to roll into another employer’s plan or a Rollover IRA. Vested members may withdraw their contributions to roll into another employer’s plan or a Rollover IRA, but would forfeit their rights to an employer-funded pension.

 

Contact Us | Subscribe to Our E-Newsletter | Email the Webmaster | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Accessibility Statement

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. All Rights Reserved. ©2000-2014
One Ashburton Place, Room 1401, Boston, MA 02108   617-994-6950