55.34 - Retirement Preparation and Procedure

July 21, 2009 (formerly APM 50.34)

A. General. UI classified employees, as well as faculty and non-faculty exempt employees hired prior to July 1, 1990 who did not elect to participate in the optional retirement program, are enrolled in the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho (PERSI). Faculty and non-faculty exempt employees hired on July 1, 1990 or later, as well as those employees who made an irrevocable election to participate in the optional retirement program (ORP), are enrolled in either Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) or the Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (AIG VALIC). Cooperative Extension faculty and non-faculty exempt employees may be enrolled (depending on date of hire and subsequent election) in either PERSI or the ORP, or one of the following federal retirement programs: Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or CSRS Offset.

B. Process. Employees contemplating retirement should contact appropriate offices and agencies up to a year in advance of retirement in order to estimate retirement income and identify the options they wish to select. Employees with continuing appointments are also encouraged to discuss retirement plans with their supervisors so that their supervisors can plan for an orderly transition of responsibilities.

C. Procedure.

C-1. One Year in Advance of Intended Retirement Date.

i) Contact Benefit Services. An employee should notify Benefit Services approximately a year in advance of the date that he or she is considering retiring. The discussion with the Specialist should include establishing a retirement date and confirming the number of months of state, university or federal employment.

ii) Contact Appropriate Retirement Program Office.

a) Employees whose intended retirement date is within one year or less and who are enrolled in PERSI should contact their local representative (Coeur d'Alene, (800) 962-8228; Pocatello, (800) 762-8228; Boise, (800) 451-8228) to request a calculation of their retirement benefit on the target date of retirement and to verify the total amount of credited PERSI service.

b) In addition to requesting information on basic retirement benefits and on options 1 and 2, employees considering retiring before attaining age 65 should request calculation of benefits under options 3 and 4 which coordinate PERSI benefits with Social Security benefits to produce a more level future income stream.

c) Employees enrolled in the ORP may request a projection from their respective vendor; i.e., TIAA-CREF or AIG VALIC.

d) Employees enrolled in CSRS, FERS, or CSRS Offset may request a calculation of estimated retirement annuity and verification of their total credited federal service from the Specialist in Benefit Services.

ii) Contact the Social Security Office. (800) 772-1213 or see SSA Website.

iii) Review Tax Deferred Annuities. Employees who have been participating in a tax deferred annuity plan should contact their agent and ask for a projection of monthly income benefits and information regarding alternatives available to them. Employees may also request assistance from the agent in determining their total monthly retirement income from all sources.

iv) Determine Total Estimated Retirement Income. Employees who have a financial advisor should consult with him or her at this point to review all of the information they have gathered to date and to ask that individual to assist them in evaluating the adequacy of the income level with respect to their anticipated costs of living during retirement as well as other asset management alternatives available to them.

v) Discuss Intentions with Departmental Administrator. The employee considering retirement is encouraged to inform the appropriate departmental administrator of the anticipated retirement date up to a year in advance, if possible.

a) At the beginning of the fiscal year of the employee’s intended retirement, the department will enter an Electronic Personnel Action (EPAF) form noting the intended retirement date. This date will be communicated to the retirement plan in which the employee is a member approximately three months prior to the retirement date.

C-2. Three to Four Months in Advance of Retirement. The employee finalizes his or her retirement decision and notifies his or her dean, director, department head, and supervisor of the date of the intended retirement. In addition, the employee should contact:

i) Benefit Services. The employee should schedule an appointment with the Specialist in Benefit Services to discuss confirmation of the retirement date; whether he or she qualifies for UI emeritus or honored staff retiree status and the benefits that accompany that status; other options to continue health insurance; social security and Medicare questions; and life insurance questions. The employee should prepare for this meeting by reviewing the Faculty-Staff Handbook sections 3710, 3730 and 3740 in advance.

ii) Social Security Office. The employee should formally notify the Social Security Office, in writing, of his or her intended retirement date if he or she has not already done so. A copy of the employees signed Social Security Card and birth certificate or other proof of age should be included with the notification. Also see SSA Website .

iii) PERSI (if applicable). If enrolled in PERSI, the employee should notify the regional representative of the intended retirement date and the retirement benefit payment option he or she wishes to elect. Also see PERSI Website .

iv) ORP (if applicable) Employees enrolled in the ORP should notify their plan representative of their intended retirement date and elect their retirement benefit option. Once elected, payout options cannot be altered.

a) TIAA-CREF. Employees enrolled in TIAA-CREF should call the Benefit Information Center at (800) 842-2777 for answers to questions and to obtain the appropriate retirement application forms. Also see TIAA-CREF Website .

b) AIG VALIC. An employee enrolled in AIG VALIC should call the agent who handles his or her account. Employees in north Idaho can call the regional AIG VALIC representative at (208) 777-4721 or (800) 892 5558to get appropriate forms and benefit calculations. Also see VALIC Website .

v) Federal Retirement Programs. Employees enrolled in one of the federal retirement programs; he or she should contact the Specialist in Human Resources (208) 885-3608 to request an application form for immediate retirement. Also see OPM Website .

C-3. During Last Pay Period Prior to Retirement.

i) Electronic Personnel Action (EPAF) Form. The employee should confirm with his or her department that an EPAF has been processed for his or her retirement and that the date of the intended retirement is correct. The date shown on the EPAF Form is the official retirement date the University will communicate to the employee’s retirement plan provider.

ii) Employee Exit Checklist. The employee should schedule an appointment with HR Employment Services to complete the UI Employment Exit Checklist. [See APM 50.22] This process will ensure that return of keys, credit cards, and other UI property is appropriately documented. In addition, this will ensure that annual leave pay-off status is accurately calculated and recorded.

C-4. Post Retirement. Depending on eligibility, an employee should expect or can elect to receive the following benefits:

i) Health Coverage for Emeriti or Honored Staff Retirees. Approximately one month after the retirement Electronic Personnel Action Form (EPAF) has been processed, Benefit Services mails to the eligible retired employee a letter confirming eligibility for continued health benefits, for emeritus or honored staff retiree status. Qualified participants who have a cost to pay will receive quarterly billing statements providing a variety of payment options. Statements and payments are directed through the UI Cashiers Office Payment options for dependent premiums may be set up by contacting (208) 885 7447.

a) Prospective retirees wishing to continue making payments for dependent medical insurance and who do not receive a letter should call Benefit Services (208) 885-3697.

b) Retirees who do not qualify for Emeritus or Honored Staff Retiree status and who wish to continue health insurance by converting unused sick leave should inquire about procedures at Benefit Services.

ii) ID Cards. Retirees can obtain new university ID cards from the Vandal Card Office (Wallace Complex) or Student Union Building.

iii) Parking Permits. Emeriti and Honored Staff Retirees can obtain a gold parking permit from Parking and Information Services at the North Campus Center. The retiree’s permit is for the retiree’s use only and is not transferable to an active employee or dependent, such as a spouse or child.

D. Information.

D-1. Receipt of Retirement Income Payments.

i) PERSI Retirees.

a) Employees retiring under PERSI can expect to receive the first benefit check on or about the first of the month following the effective retirement date, provided the application was complete and was submitted by the last working day of the month prior to the retirement date.

b) If the first check is delayed, expect it to be paid along with the second check one month later.

c) Retirement checks are issued on the first day of the month for which that payment is effective, i.e., the June retirement check is issued June 1.

ii) ORP Retirees.

a) Prospective ORP retirees should be aware that it takes approximately six weeks for the ORP providers to process the retirement application and plan accordingly for any temporary interruption of income flow.

b) ORP retirees may elect to receive their annuities monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually.

iii) Federal Retirement System Retirees.

a) For those employees retiring under one of the federal retirement plans, HR mails the employment record and application for retirement (previously completed by the employee) to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) during the week following the last paycheck.

b) When the application and records arrive at OPM's Record Center, the application for retirement and the records from the last employing office are attached to other records of earlier periods of federal employment (if any) and assigned a claim number.

c) OPM has indicated that the average OPM processing time after receiving a fully developed retirement application is 60 days.

d) Based on available service records, the retiree is placed into a special pay status. The amount of special pay is an approximation of the amount that the individual will receive when his or her service annuity case is adjudicated. The amount is generally lower than the actual annuity rate so the individual may receive an additional payment when the case is adjudicated.

e) Once special payments have been authorized, it generally takes at least 20-24 days for the retiree to receive the first payment. Thereafter, annuity checks are received on the first business day of each month.

D-2. UI Retirees Association. UI retirees and prospective retirees are encouraged and invited to consider joining the UI Retirees Association (UIRA) and maintaining their contacts with the university and with other retirees. For more information on the association, contact UIRA, UI Alumni Relations, Alumni Center Building, Moscow, ID 83844-3232. Or call UI Retirees Association at (208) 885-6154.