Employee Retirement And Income Security Act (ERISA)
Muskingum University complies with the regulations set forth by the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act of 1974, commonly referred to by its initials -- ERISA. The law was enacted to protect the interests of employees in pension and welfare benefit plans connected with employment. ERISA rights and statements are included in each benefit summary plan description. Also, please refer to the following amendment to the summary plan description that took effect on September 1, 2020.
Muskingum University is a participant in the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA) and the University Retirement Equities Fund (CREF). Eligible employee means all employees except employees working less than 1,000 hours a year or if employment is incidental to an educational program. Employees working 1,000 hours the previous year are required to participate in this plan at their first year anniversary of employment or age 21, whichever comes later. To maintain eligibility, employees must continue to work 1,000 hours each plan year. If an employee does not complete the required hours of service by the first anniversary date of employment, the hours completed do not count towards establishing a year of service. Years of service with an eligible organization during the period immediately preceding the eligible employee’s date of employment with the Institution will be counted for meeting the eligibility requirements of 403(b)(1) and for satisfying this requirement. Former employees who are reemployed by the institution and who satisfied the service requirement before terminating employment will begin participation in the plan immediately after reemployment.
Annuity premiums may be allocated between TIAA and several CREF funds in designated proportions including full premium to either company. TIAA funds are invested in fixed-dollar obligations providing a traditional annuity with guaranteed principal and interest. CREF funds can be invested in CREF Common Stock Fund, CREF Global Equities Account, CREF Equity Index Account or CREF Growth Account. Also available is the CREF Bond Market, TIAA Real Estate Market, CREF Money Market Account, CREF Social Choice Account and CREF Inflation-Linked Bond Account. Refer to the TIAA-CREF web site as investment avenues may be established or altered from time to time.
Members share in the CREF total as in a mutual investment fund. The dollar amount of the annuity received from CREF funds therefore varies from year to year. The University pays an amount equal to 7% of the participant's base salary into the plan while the member contributes a minimum of 5% of base salary or wages through payroll reduction. Under an agreement approved by the Internal Revenue Service, income tax on both the employee and University contributions is deferred until retirement income begins. Normal retirement age is 65. The actual retirement income is dependent upon the amount of contribution plus interest and dividends as well as the settlement option chosen. Every retirement annuity may provide a life income for the retired member, a life income for an annuity partner and several other available options.
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Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA)
The Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) plan is available through TIAA/CREF to employees to provide additional retirement income by allowing additional tax-deferred contributions and is available for employees not wishing to wait one year to join the University Retirement Plan. Participation in the tax-deferred SRA plan is voluntary, with no University contribution. Like tax deferred contributions to the basic plan, federal and state income taxes on one's personal contributions and the earnings of one's accumulated funds in the annuities are deferred until benefits are received. City income taxes, however, are paid on gross salary.
A loan provision of up to 45% of one’s TIAA/CREF SRA Account is available through the SRA using such accumulations as collateral. Unlike a regular TIAA/CREF annuity, a participant can withdraw an SRA in whole or in $1,000 increments in certain circumstances. In addition to any tax penalties that may apply, withdrawals and distributions from an SRA are fully taxable as current income for the calendar year in which they are received. Such contributions may be made in any amount, provided the University's contribution to TIAA/CREF and the total salary reduction authorized by the employee for the regular retirement annuity plan and the SRA plan do not exceed the limitations set forth in Section 403 (b) and 415 of the Internal Revenue Code. See the Office of Human Resources for information on other TIAA/CREF investment possibilities such as IRAs, Teachers Personal Annuity and TIAA/CREF Mutual Funds.
Cash Withdrawal Of Retirement Accumulations Upon Leaving Employment
The University provides for cash withdrawals of up to 100% of CREF accumulations by employees leaving Muskingum University at any age and with no limits as to years of service. The withdrawal may be made from total accumulations including both employee and University contributions. TIAA limits cashability of TIAA funds upon leaving Muskingum University over a ten year payout period. Any cash withdrawals from either program may have serious tax implications and tax counsel is recommended.
Post Retirement Health Insurance Benefits
Faculty and administration who have worked for the University on a full-time basis for a minimum of 5 years and whose age and years of services total 70 at retirement (provided they have attained age 58 at such time) may, along with their spouse at time of retirement, remain on the then current group health insurance plan (or a Medicare Supplemental Plan upon attaining age 65) by paying the cost of all premiums for such plan.
Social Security (FICA) provides for a Federal system of old age, survivors and disability insurance (OASDI) and health insurance (Medicare). The University is required to withhold and submit to the agency Social Security taxes up to an annually announced wage base matched by the University and Medicare taxes with no wage base limit matched by the University.