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Police Officers Retirement System

The South Carolina Police Officer's Retirement System (PORS) is a defined benefit plan available to some Coastal Carolina University employees. Members of PORS contribute a percentage of their salary as mandated by State Legislature on a pre-tax basis. The University contributes an appropriate amount (as defined by the State) to fund the plan. Members joining prior to July 1, 2012 are vested after(5) five years of earned service and eligible to file for a monthly annuity upon attaining age 55. Members joining after July 1, 2012 are vested after (8) years of earned service. Benefits are defined by the retirement formula. Enrollment is required within 30 days of the hire date.

Membership
To be a member of PORS, you must work for a covered employer and be required by the terms of your employment, by election or appointment, to preserve public order, protect life and property, and detect crimes in the state; or to prevent and control property destruction by fire; or you must be a peace officer employed by the Department of Corrections or the Department of Juvenile Justice. You must also earn at least $2,000 and devote at least 1,600 hours per fiscal year to this work. Magistrates are required to participate in PORS for service as a magistrate.

Terminating Employment
If you terminate employment, you may choose to have the funds paid directly to you, roll over the funds into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), a 401(k) plan, or 401(a) eligible plan, a 403(b) plan, or a 457 plan, or leave your contributions in your retirement account. If you terminate employment with at least five (5) years of earned service and leave your contributions in your account, you will be eligible to receive an annuity at age 57. (Applies to those individuals who joined prior to July 1, 2012.) If you joined after July 1, 2012 and terminate employment, you must have at least (8) eight years of earned service and leave your contributions in your account to be eligible for an annuity at age 57.

If you terminate employment, you may request a refund of your employee contributions, but you forfeit your rights to any future service retirement or disability annuity. You are not required to withdraw your contributions and interest at termination. Employer contributions are not refunded.

By law, there is a minimum 90-day waiting period from your date of termination until a refund can be made. The Retirement Systems must withhold federal taxes of 20 percent on any portion of your taxable refund not transferred directly into another qualified retirement plan. Other taxes may apply as well.

Beneficiaries
You may name as many beneficiaries and/or trustees as you wish. Multiple beneficiaries share equally in survivor annuities. You may name your estate; however, monthly payments cannot be paid to an estate. As an active member, you may name trustees or contingent beneficiaries in case of death of the primary beneficiaries. All primary beneficiaries must be deceased before any contingent beneficiaries are paid. You may change your beneficiaries at any time before retirement.

Establishing Service Credit
While you are an active member, you may establish service credit for various types of previous employment, leaves of absences, and up to five years of non-qualified service. You may purchase service credit by a lump-sum payment, an installment service purchase (after-tax, plus interest), or a tax-deferred rollover from an IRA, a 401(k) plan, a 401(a) eligible plan, a 403(b) plan, or a 457 plan.

You may purchase each type of service credit once within a fiscal year. Payment for service purchases must be remitted in full prior to your retirement date or termination.

Service Retirement
You must file an application to retire; it is not automatic. We encourage you to file your application as early as six months prior to your desired effective date of retirement but no later than 90 days afterward; however, before an effective date of retirement can be established, you must be removed from your employer's payroll.

Please refer to the South Carolina Retirement Program web site, http://www.peba.sc.gov/  for specific eligibility requirements, or you may contact benefits personnel in the Office of Human Resources at Coastal Carolina University.

Returning to Covered Employment
A member who retires from SCRS or PORS after January 1, 2013, and returns to covered employment after having been retired for at least 30 consecutive days may earn up to $10,000 each calendar year without affecting his retirement benefits. If a retiree continues in service after earning $10,000 from covered employment during a calendar year, his retirement benefit is discontinued during his period of employment for the remainder of the year. The earnings limitation does not apply if the member retired before January 2, 2013, was at least 57 years old (PORS) at retirement (or 62 years old at retirement for SCRS members).

Retired members (SCRS and PORS) who work for a covered employer are required by state law to contribute to the SCRS or PORS. The University is required to pay its portion as well.

SCRS, PORS and ORP members who return to covered employment will be eligible for an increased group life insurance benefit similar to that provided for active members.  S.618 legislation provides that if a retired SCRS, PORS or ORP member who has returned to covered employment dies while employed by an employer covered by group life insurance and while making the active employee contribution, his or her beneficiary could receive a benefit equal to the dollar amount of the retiree’s annual salary. This benefit would be provided in lieu of the retired member group life insurance benefit of $2,000, $4,000 or $6,000.

For more information about the Police Officer's Retirement System go to: http://www.peba.sc.gov/