Search
Sign In

ORP plan

An excellent way to save for retirement

Welcome to the website VALIC has created especially for you, as an employee eligible to participate in the Tennessee Board of Regents Optional Retirement Plan (ORP).  As a provider for your retirement plan, VALIC is committed to providing personal service whenever and wherever it is convenient for you. 

The plan highlights are only a brief overview of the plan's features and are not a legally binding document. The information in this section does not modify the terms of the plan and in the event of a conflict, the terms of the plan control.

Take advantage today

  • Faculty and exempt employees of the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Board of Regents may 
    choose between membership in the ORP and membership in the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement 
    System (TCRS).
  • Certain part-time employees have the option of participating.

Once an employee elects to participate in the ORP, that election is irrevocable except for a one-time window to transfer upon attaining five years of service, but less than six years. 

This information is intended to provide a general introduction to some of the provisions applicable to participants in Tennessee's Optional Retirement Program. This information is subject to legislative change and judicial interpretation. It does not supersede nor restrict procedures or authority established under state statute. The provisions of the Optional Retirement Program and the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System are set forth in Chapters 34-37 of Title 8 of Tennessee Code Annotated. Participants in the Optional Retirement Program may be subject to additional conditions established by the annuity contract(s) they select.

Starting early has its advantages

Mandatory Enrollment in the Plans and University Mandatory Matching Contributions
 

  • The ORP is a "defined contribution" retirement plan, which means that the amount of any future benefit will be determined by the member's account balance.

  • Employer contributions are credited to each ORP member's account during service to a Tennessee higher education institution. The employer contributes 10% of gross salary covered by Social Security and 11% of salary in excess of the Social Security Wage Base.

Vesting
An ORP participant attains vesting rights immediately. A vested member is one who has accrued a right to a retirement benefit upon termination of service. 


This information is intended to provide a general introduction to some of the provisions applicable to participants in Tennessee's Optional Retirement Program. This information is subject to legislative change and judicial interpretation. It does not supersede nor restrict procedures or authority established under state statute. The provisions of the Optional Retirement Program and the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System are set forth in Chapters 34-37 of Title 8 of Tennessee Code Annotated. Participants in the Optional Retirement Program may be subject to additional conditions established by the annuity contract(s) they select.

Accessing your money before retirement

Payout methods available to members

Following separation from service, members may select a single life annuity, a joint and survivor annuity, periodic payments for their life expectancy, or a minimum distribution payout beginning at age 70½. Members whose Tennessee ORP accounts total less than $15,000 in 2012 may file a Lifetime Distribution Exception form to qualify for a lump-sum payment. In addition, any member who is beginning a lifetime payment plan may elect to receive a partial lump-sum payment of up to 50% of the account balance at the time the lifetime payout or annuity payment begins.
 

Access to your contributions

Generally, the money in your account may be distributed under any of the following circumstances:

  • Separation from state service 

    ORP members are eligible to begin drawing benefits at any age after separation from service has occurred. Upon retiring or otherwise terminating employment, an ORP member may elect to receive a cash withdrawal of up to fifty percent (50%) of such employee's accumulated account or accounts, if the employee applies for and begins receiving a lifetime distribution of the remaining portion of such employee's accumulated account or accounts. Please note that a person participating in the ORP who has a balance less than $15,000 does not have to elect a lifetime distribution. 

    An ORP member who has separated from state service may elect to begin benefits at any time prior to age 70½. Any member who leaves state service but does not begin drawing benefits by age 70½, may become subject to a penalty tax assessed by the federal government.

  • Retirement  

    Following separation from state service, retiring members may select various  payout options offered by VALIC. Funds accumulated in Tennessee's ORP may not be withdrawn in a lump sum except in the event of the member's death prior to retirement or in the event that a member who has separated from service has less than the de minimis ORP account balance set by state statute, which is $15,000 in 2012.

  • Disability 

    The ORP provides no special disability benefits; therefore, participants may wish to consider obtaining disability insurance. A disabled member may request an annuity settlement or life expectancy distribution based upon the account balance at the time of disability upon disability retirement. A member who is receiving Social Security disability benefits is also entitled to elect a partial lump sum distribution of his account balance each year, subject to the provisions of VALIC. The partial distribution may be $25,000 in 2012.

  • Death 

    In the event of the member's death prior to retirement, the value of the total accumulation is payble to the named beneficiary or, if no beneficiary exists, to the member's estate. Any beneficiary named would be entitled to a refund of the account balance. If the value of the accumulation is sufficiently large, the beneficiary may be eligible to elect an annuity payout. A member may change beneficiaries at any time prior to retirement by submitting the applicable change form to VALIC. 

  • Rollovers  

    Any participant who is eligible for a lump sum payment under the ORP may request to rollover the taxable portion of such payment directly to certain eligible retirement plans. Contact your financial advisor or plan administrator for more information.

Please remember, income taxes are payable upon withdrawal. Federal restrictions and a 10% federal tax penalty may apply to withdrawals prior to age 59½ unless an exception applies.  


Loans

Loans are not permitted in the Tennessee ORP plan. 

This information is intended to provide a general introduction to some of the provisions applicable to participants in Tennessee's Optional Retirement Program. This information is subject to legislative change and judicial interpretation. It does not supersede nor restrict procedures or authority established under state statute. The provisions of the Optional Retirement Program and the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System are set forth in Chapters 34-37 of Title 8 of Tennessee Code Annotated. Participants in the Optional Retirement Program may be subject to additional conditions established by the annuity contract(s) they select.