Providing Notice of Eligibility and Election Period
Each campus must identify any employees who are newly eligible for participation in the Optional Retirement Program. Campus administrators must inform these employees of their eligibility for ORP coverage on a timely basis.
Timing of Notice
Campus administrators must provide a formal "Notice of Eligibility" to every newly eligible employee within ten (10) business days of the employee being actively at work in their new, eligible position, or if later, within ten business days of the date the administrator learns the employee is at work.
The Plan Administrator has drafted a sample Notice of ORP Eligibility (.DOC) for campus use. Campus administrators may copy the sample text onto their institutional letterhead and edit the text for their specific needs. However, campus administrators must not omit any material information contained in the Notice.
Other Materials to Provide
Campus administrators must also provide the ORP Enrollment Guide and DHE enrollment forms for newly eligible employees on a timely basis. Most administrators include these as a package with their Notice of Eligibility.
Newly eligible employees are entitled to a 180-day Election Period during which to choose their retirement coverage: Optional Retirement Program (ORP) or State Employees Retirement System (SERS).
Employees' elections to participate in either the ORP or the SERS are irrevocable.
Beginning of Election Period
The Election Period is 180 calendar days, beginning when the eligible employee is actively at work (or if later, when the administrator learns that the employee is at work), having begun performing services for the institution. In cases of current employees becoming eligible for an Election Period, the 180 calendar day period begins when they start performing services under their new position.
Since not all academic employment follows simple and singular patterns, campus administrators should contact the Plan Administrator to discuss any questionable situations.
Eligible employees who do not make any election before their Election Period expires are enrolled, irrevocably, in the SERS.
Temporary Assignments for ORP Participants
Active ORP participants may be given a temporary assignment in a position that is not eligible for ORP coverage. Such an employee is not eligible for a new Election Period if the institution reasonably expects the employee to return to their ORP-eligible position. If the institution does not reasonably expect the person to return to their ORP-eligible position, then the employee should be enrolled in the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS).