Mandatory Retirement FAQs

Q: Is contributing to a retirement plan mandatory?
A:
Employees under the age of 60 must contribute to a retirement program. The employee contributes 5% of his/her salary each pay period. The university contribution varies depending on the selected retirement plan.

Q: If I was employed previously on a temporary basis, am I eligible to receive a refund of my contributions to the Georgia Defined Contribution plan?
A:
Yes, once you are no longer eligible to participate in the program, you can apply for a refund. The process takes approximately six to eight weeks.

Q: What happens to my retirement account if I terminate my employment with GSU?
A:
You have several options under the TRS plan. Employees can rollover their contributions to a qualified plan, leave the contributions in the account or take a lump sum withdrawal (subject to IRS regulations).

Q: What does “vested” mean under the TRS plan?
A:
Vesting under the TRS plan means that you “own” your own contributions you are eligible for a retirement benefit at age 60. You are “vested” after 10 years of participation in TRS.

Q: Can I leave my retirement contributions in my account if I am vested under the TRS plan?
A:
Yes, if you have ten or more years of creditable service and leave GSU, you will be entitled to a service retirement benefit upon attaining age 60 (if you have not withdrawn your TRSGA contributions).

Q: What is the maximum amount of service credit an employee can receive under the TRS plan?
A:
The maximum amount of creditable service an employee can receive under the TRS system is 40 years. This total includes sick leave credit.

Q: What is the formula used by TRS to calculate an individual’s benefit?
A:
TRS uses the average of the highest 24 consecutive months of salary multiplied by 2 percent multiplied by the total years of service.

Q: What is the effective date of retirement?
A:
Your effective date of retirement can be no earlier than:

- the first of the month following the establishment of enough creditable service required for eligibility
- the first of the month following your termination of employment from GSU.

Q: How often can I change the beneficiary(ies) listed on my benefits?
A:
You can change your beneficiaries as often as you wish. Just contact the benefits office to receive the change form. Or you can also access the form by going to http://www.trsga.com/ and click on TRSGA Forms.

Q: What happens if I pass away and have less than ten years of creditable service under TRS?
A:
Your primary beneficiary(ies) will receive a lump sum refund of your contributions and interest.

Q: What happens if I pass away and am vested under the TRS plan?
A:
Your primary beneficiary(ies) can receive either a monthly benefit for life or a lump sum refund of your contributions and interest. The lifetime monthly benefit payable would be the same as if the deceased member had retired and selected Plan B, Option 2 (the 100% survivorship option).

Q: If I previously participated under TRS and withdrew my contributions, am I able to purchase that service credit?
A:
You may be able to re-purchase previously withdrawn accounts under the TRS plan. Review the TRS member guide for further details at http://www.trsga.com/

Q: What forms of payment can be used to pay for TRS service purchases?
A:
You may pay for eligible service purchases with a personal check, money order or with a direct rollover from another eligible plan (i.e. 401(a), 403(a), 401(k), tax sheltered 403(b), a governmental 457 plan or a traditional or rollover IRA). Roth rollovers are not permitted.

Q: Can service be purchased in one-year increments rather than by a lump sum?
A:
Individuals may purchase service as one lump sum or in one-year increments.

Q: Can I purchase additional service credit under the ORP plan?
A:
Participants under the ORP plan are not eligible to purchase service credit, since the benefit is based on amounts contributed rather than years of service.

Q: If I am a participant under the ORP plan, does my sick leave count towards my retirement benefit?
A:
Faculty and staff members who elect to participate in the ORP plan are not eligible to receive sick leave credit for purposes of early retirement