Phased Retirement Program
The Phased Retirement Program (PRP) is intended to facilitate retirement decisions by allowing eligible faculty the option to continue participation in academic life and mentoring of students while preparing for the future. PRP was first introduced in 1988 to allow eligible tenured faculty to receive retirement benefits and work part-time for NC State on a three-year academic contract. Tenured faculty who qualify will receive a letter from the Provost extending an opportunity to participate in the Phased Retirement Program.
Full-time tenured faculty members with at least five (5) years of NC State University service who participate in the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) or Optional Retirement Program (ORP) are eligible to apply for PRP participation if they:
- are at least age 62 [for TSERS participants] or at least age 59 ½ [for ORP participants] upon entering the Phased Retirement Program; and
- are eligible to receive a benefit under the TSERS or ORP plans.
(A break in service is not required prior to entering PRP because the ages listed above meet “normal retirement age” requirements for the purposes of this program.)
Additional eligibility details can be found within Regulation 05.57.01, Phased Retirement Program for Tenured Faculty.
Notification for participation in the Phased Retirement Program is sent via email during the month of September. Notification for the 2022-2025 PRP will be communicated in September/October 2021.
The faculty member formally applies to the PRP by submitting an unsigned UNC Phased Retirement Program Application and Re-Employment Agreement (the “Agreement”) directly to the department head. Details for the department about the application process are explained in the Phased Retirement Program Department Guidelines. You negotiate individually with your academic department head to determine your specific Phased Retirement Program work plan duties (summer school duties are not included). Free feel to use the optional phased retirement workplan template (Word Doc).
Eligible faculty members may elect to begin receiving the benefits accrued under the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) or the Optional Retirement Program (ORP), but they are not required to do so. State Health Plan benefits [if eligible] are not provided unless in receipt of a monthly retirement benefit.
Faculty participating in the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) may begin the retirement process no sooner than 120 days prior to the effective date of retirement while participants of the ORP should begin at least 90 days prior to the retirement effective date. Even though retirement processing time frames are in place, planning generally begins at least a year in advance of the retirement date.
Faculty members who retire from TSERS or receive a monthly annuity benefit from the ORP carrier are eligible for retiree health benefits. Dependent coverage premiums are deducted from monthly TSERS payments. ORP participants will be direct-billed by the State Health Plan and may set up payment by bank draft. During the 3-year PRP period, most other benefit deductions continue through payroll deducted.
Those in Phased Retirement are limited to 50% of their faculty base salary paid out in the last 12 months prior to the start of phased retirement. This means no summer session pay, grants, distance ed classes, etc. after phased retirement begins. After phased retirement, there are currently no earnings limitations for ORP retirees; however, TSERS plan rules impose specific earnings limitations for retirees who return to service, including PRP participants. The allowable earnings limit is adjusted annually on January 1 by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index, a national measure of increase in the cost of living from one year to the next.
Refer to the PRP Frequently Asked Questions for more information about how summer session earnings are affected by the earnings limitation.
- TSERS Re-employment Earnable Allowance Information (see page 32)
Full retirement age (FRA) as defined by Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligibility for SSA benefits is determined by a retiree’s date of birth.