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FAQs

1) Is my retirement under the TSERS Phased Retirement Plan calculated any differently than if I were to retire under the normal retirement plan in TSERS?

No.  Those eligible for Phased Retirement are those who meet TSERS age and service requirements for at least an “early retirement”.  If you are a TSERS participant who is eligible for early retirement your monthly benefit under the Phased Retirement Program is still subject to the same formula as any other early retiree.

2) Can I earn money outside of the three-year teaching contract with the University without threatening my retirement?

With both TSERS and ORP, you can earn unlimited money from any employer other than the State of North Carolina and not affect your retirement benefit in any way.  TSERS limits your State of North Carolina employment to 50% (indexed for increases) of your gross 12-month pre-retirement salary (excluding termination payments) or the maximum amount provided by TSERS annually, whichever is greater. (The maximum amount is $31,600 for 2016, and subject to change effective January 1 of following years.)

3) How will salary increases for TSERS members be handled in subsequent years?

TSERS establishes a cost-of-living index cap for retirees who simultaneously receive benefits and work for the State of North Carolina.  You will be allowed to earn up to the State earnings cap and will be notified of your increase in the same way that all other faculty members are notified of increases.  You are responsible for monitoring your income to insure that you do not exceed this limit.

4) Can I teach during the summers?

If you and your department agree, you may teach during the summer in which you retire.  Thereafter, earnings for TSERS retirees are limited by the TSERS rule that earnings from State of North Carolina employment is limited to 50% (indexed for increases) of your gross 12-month pre-retirement salary (excluding termination payments) or the maximum amount to be announced for 2017 ($31,600 in 2016), whichever is greater.  If there is not a TSERS conflict, and you and your department agree, you may teach summer session to earn additional money, providing this is not part of your half-time work plan.

5) What happens to annual and sick leave when a 12-month faculty member steps into a 9-month position in order to take advantage of Phased Retirement?

A maximum of 240 hours of Annual leave and any unused Bonus Leave can be paid to the retiring faculty member upon his/her request, providing he/she has not cashed out Annual leave with a past 12- month appointment. 

TSERS will credit retiring members with one month of service for every 20 days of unused sick leave.

6) Do I have to receive a monthly retirement benefit to enter the Phased Retirement Program?

You do not need to receive a monthly retirement benefit to enter the Phased Retirement Program.  You can elect to receive your benefit in a lump sum or in some other increment.  However, when you accept a monthly retirement benefit from either TSERS or the Optional Retirement Plan, you become eligible for retiree health coverage.  Only those receiving monthly benefits are eligible for the retiree health benefit.