The annual open enrollment period for active participants of the State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) is January 1 to March 1 of each year. During this period, you may change your State ORP service provider or, if eligible, may irrevocably elect to participate in the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS). Changes made during the 2024 annual open enrollment period become effective on April 1, 2024.
State ORP service provider change
During open enrollment, you may change to one of the four service providers:
If you wish to change service providers, log in to your Member Access account where you will see an option to change providers during the open enrollment period. If you are unable to change your service provider online through Member Access, you may complete Form 1162 and submit it to your employer for approval and submission to PEBA.
If you change service providers during annual open enrollment, you may transfer your existing account balance, subject to the current State ORP service provider’s contractual limitations, to your new service provider. This process does not happen automatically, and is not handled through PEBA. Such a transfer is considered an in-plan (provider-to-provider) transfer, and funds may be transferred only between your previous and current State ORP service providers. You must initiate the transfer process by contacting your previous service provider to ask about their required process. It’s important that you wait to request a transfer after the change becomes effective on April 1. You should also confirm that all your contributions prior to April 1 post to your account at your previous service provider before submitting a transfer request. This will ensure you transfer your full account balance and do not leave residual contributions with your previous service provider. Note that the transfer check may be mailed to the address on your State ORP account, depending on your service provider. If you receive a check, you will be responsible for submitting the check to your new service provider along with paperwork they may require for the incoming transfer.
You may also choose to leave funds on account with your prior service provider.
Irrevocable election to participate in SCRS
You are eligible to change from State ORP to SCRS during the 2024 open enrollment period if at any point during the open enrollment period it has been at least one year, but not more than five years, since the date of your initial enrollment in State ORP (i.e., initial enrollment between January 1, 2019, and March 1, 2023).
If you wish to irrevocably elect to participate in SCRS, you should request that your employer submit an SCRS enrollment through EES. EES will prompt your employer to confirm that the enrollment is an irrevocable election to change from State ORP to SCRS. You will then be contacted to confirm the change. If your employer is unable to submit an enrollment through EES, you and your employer should complete Form 1100 and return it to PEBA for processing.
If you do not change to SCRS within the allotted time, you will, by default, continue State ORP participation. If you change to SCRS during the allotted time, you may purchase service credit for all or a portion of your State ORP participation at any time after joining SCRS. You will not receive service credit for your State ORP participation under SCRS unless you do so. Funds from your State ORP account may be rolled over to PEBA to purchase service credit; however, certain restrictions may apply. It is important to contact PEBA for assistance if you wish to purchase State ORP service.
The service credit cost calculation is based in part on your current age and service credit, as well as your career highest fiscal year earnable compensation at the time PEBA receives the service purchase request. The cost, which is actuarially determined, will not be less than 16 percent of your career highest fiscal year compensation for each year purchased. State ORP participation that is established in SCRS is considered earned service for the determination of the SCRS minimum service requirement for benefit eligibility. Please note that earnings associated with established State ORP participation will be considered for possible inclusion in the calculation of your average final compensation.
If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Service department.