South Carolina Retirement System

The South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) is a defined benefit retirement plan for employees of state agencies, public and charter school districts, public higher education institutions, and other local subdivisions of government that have joined SCRS, as well as individuals first elected to the South Carolina General Assembly at or after the general election in November 2012. SCRS provides a fixed monthly benefit based on a formula that includes your average final compensation, years of service credit and a benefit multiplier, not on your account balance at retirement. The plan assumes life expectancy and investment risk.

Eligibility

To be a member of SCRS, you must be employed by and receiving compensation from an employer that participates in the system.

Contributions

You contribute a tax-deferred 9 percent of gross pay. Your account earns 4 percent interest compounded annually until you retire, or your account becomes inactive.

Benefits

  • Monthly retirement benefit is based on a formula (1.82 percent of average final compensation multiplied by years of service), not on your account balance at retirement.
  • Current state law provides for an annual benefit adjustment of 1 percent of your annual benefit up to a maximum of $500 per year.
  • Monthly retirement benefit is payable until your death.
  • Three payment options for monthly retirement benefits are available at retirement. Two of these options provide survivor protection.
  • Service purchase options.
  • Disability protection. Eligibility is tied to the receipt of disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
  • Incidental death benefit if provided by your employer.

Retirement eligibility

As a member of SCRS, you need to meet the plan’s eligibility requirements to retire and receive a benefit. These requirements vary depending on when you first became an SCRS member. Currently, there are two classes of membership: Class Two and Class Three.

Class Two Members: membership effective prior to July 1, 2012

  • You can retire and receive an unreduced monthly retirement benefit after 28 years of service or at age 65 or older.
  • You can retire early, at age 60, or at age 55 with 25 years of service, and receive a reduced monthly retirement benefit.
  • You must have at least five years of earned service to receive a benefit.

Class Three members: membership effective on or after July 1, 2012

  • You can retire and receive an unreduced monthly retirement benefit once your age and years of service total 90, or at age 65 or older.
  • For example, if you begin covered service at age 22 and work continuously for a covered employer, you would be eligible for service retirement once you reach 56 years of age and have 34 years of service credit.
  • You can retire early at age 60 and receive a reduced monthly retirement benefit.
  • You must have at least eight years of earned service to receive a benefit.

Retiree insurance eligibility

It’s important to understand that eligibility for retiree group insurance is not the same as eligibility for retirement. Only PEBA can make retiree insurance eligibility determinations. You are encouraged to contact PEBA before making final arrangements for retirement.

Planning for your future

PEBA’s retirement awareness series, Be Aware and Prepare, provides you with information that can help you make smart decisions about your financial future. Regardless of how we define retirement awareness, PEBA believes it’s important to plan for a secure financial future and think about what life will be like after you quit working. We encourage you to use these resources and act now to help secure your financial future.