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Determining Eligibility for the ORP

Eligibility Criteria
How Employees Become Eligible
How Employees May Lose Eligibility

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility for participation in the ORP is based on three criteria:

  1. Eligible Position: All employees are eligible for ORP participation except:
    • Unit and non-unit classified employees,
    • Residents at the UMass Medical School,
    • Post-doctoral employees at UMass, and
    • Students whose employment is incidental to their education (e.g,. graduate students).
  2. Minimum Workload: Eligible Employees must meet the minimum workload requirement defined in Chapter 32 of the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) External Link; generally, 50% Full Time Equivalency (FTE). This is the same minimum workload requirement for the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS).
  3. Non-Vested Status: Eligible Employees must not be vested in any plan governed by Chapter 32 (MGL). These plans include the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS), the State Teachers' Retirement System (STRS), and many county and municipal retirement plans.

SPECIAL NOTE: It is imperative that you confirm the newly eligible employee’s vesting status under the MSERS. You should call your routine contact at the State Board of Retirement to ask if an individual who elects ORP coverage is vested in that plan.

How Employees Become Eligible

Newly eligible employees may include:

  • an employee who is newly hired,
  • a current employee who changes from a non-eligible to an eligible position,
  • a current employee in an eligible position whose workload is newly increased to meet the minimum workload requirement, and
  • a former employee of the Commonwealth who was an ORP participant and accepts a position that is eligible for ORP coverage.

How Employees May Lose Eligibility

Employees losing eligibility may include:

  • an employee who changes to an ineligible position,
  • an employee whose workload is reduced to less than 50% FTE, and
  • an employee who is terminated.

Temporary assignments: 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).

Contact the Plan Administrator with questions about an employee's eligibility.

 

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