PRIMARY RETIREMENT BENEFITS

UC RETIREMENT CHOICE PROGRAM (PENSION CHOICE OR SAVINGS CHOICE)
UC RETIREMENT PLAN (UCRP)

UC’s primary retirement benefits provide a strong foundation to help you plan for retirement, with costs shared by you and UC. For an overview, select the appropriate tier based on your hire date (for new hires), or rehire or eligibility date (for those with prior UC service). For details, please see the Summary Plan Descriptions.

Are you represented by a union? Your retirement benefits are governed by your union’s contract with UC. As a result, your benefits may be different than the benefits outlined here. Please refer to your collective bargaining agreement for details.

UC Retirement Plan – 1976 Tier

The UC Retirement Plan (UCRP) is a traditional pension plan that offers a predictable level of lifetime retirement income and includes benefits for you and your eligible survivors, as well as disability income if you become totally and permanently disabled before retirement. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you automatically become a UCRP member and deductions are taken.

How it Works

As a UCRP 1976 Tier member, you can elect to retire and receive benefits at any time after you become eligible — that is, when you reach age 50 and leave UC employment with at least five years of service credit. When you retire, you may choose a lifetime monthly benefit or a lump sum cashout. For additional details, please refer to UCnet.

Components

One component: Pension benefit through the UCRP based on eligible pay.

Shared Contributions

Employer and employee contribution rates are set periodically by the UC Regents.

  • Currently, most UCRP members contribute 8% of regular pay. Contributions are made on a pretax basis. 
  • The total UC contribution rate to UCRP for all members is currently 14% of eligible pay.

Employee contributions and the UCRP provisions described here are subject to collective bargaining for represented employees.  Please refer to the appropriate collective bargaining agreement, as benefits and other provisions may vary.

Your Retirement Income

If you are eligible, your UCRP benefit is based on your age, your years of UCRP service, and your highest average consecutive 36 months of pay.

You become vested in your future UCRP benefit when you have five years or more of UCRP service credit; essentially, five years of membership in UCRP if you work full time. Once you're vested, you can begin taking your UCRP benefits as either monthly payments or a lump sum when you leave UC and are at least age 50. Since your contributions are generally made on a pretax basis, your UCRP benefits are generally taxable.

Monthly payments:

  • Payments will be made over your lifetime. When you die, your surviving spouse or domestic partner automatically receives 25% of your monthly retirement benefit.
  • You may choose a reduced benefit over your lifetime in order to provide an additional benefit over the lifetime of your survivor or other designated recipient.
  • UCRP benefits can be no more than 100% of your highest average pay and may be subject to IRS limits.

Lump sum payment:

  • A lump sum payment is available if you are eligible to retire and have never previously received monthly retirement income from UCRP.
  • Think carefully before you choose a lump sum payment. When you take a lump sum, you give up the right to other UCRP benefits, including monthly survivor income, and will not be eligible for retiree health care coverage. 

If you have had a break in service, please contact the UC Retirement Administration Service Center at 1-800-888-8267 to determine your benefits under UCRP.

UC Retirement Plan – 2013 Tier

The UC Retirement Plan (UCRP) is a traditional pension plan that offers a predictable level of lifetime retirement income and includes benefits for you and your eligible survivors, as well as disability income if you become totally and permanently disabled before retirement. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you automatically become a UCRP member and deductions are taken.

How it Works

As a UCRP 2013 Tier member, you can elect to retire and receive UCRP benefits at any time after you become eligible — that is, when you reach age 55 and leave UC employment with at least five years of service credit. When you retire, you may choose a lifetime monthly benefit. For additional details, please refer to UCnet.

Components

One component: Pension benefit through the UCRP based on eligible pay. 

Note that, if you were a career employee prior to 2010, you previously made mandatory pretax contributions to the DC Plan. If so, those contributions remain in your account. When you retire, you can draw retirement income as needed from your account.

  • You select investments for your DC Plan account, choosing from a menu of available investment options. Your account balance depends on your own contributions, plus investment performance over time. The value of your account can go up or down.
  • No loans are available from this plan. Withdrawals and rollovers are not allowed while actively employed at UC unless you are age 70½ or older. Your withdrawals are normally subject to taxes. Your account is portable, so you can normally rollover part or all of your account balance into another employer’s retirement plan or an IRA whenever you are no longer working at UC. All distributions are subject to Plan rules.

Shared Contributions

Employer and employee contribution rates are set periodically by the UC Regents.

  • Currently, most UCRP members contribute 7% of regular pay. Contributions are made on a pretax basis. 
  • The total UC contribution rate to UCRP for all members is currently 14% of eligible pay.

Certain union employees are members of the Modified 2013 Tier. Please refer to your collective bargaining agreement for contribution and plan benefit provisions.

Your Retirement Income

If you are eligible, your UCRP benefit is based on your age, your years of UCRP service, and your highest average consecutive 36 months of pay.

You become vested in your future UCRP benefit when you have five years or more of UCRP service credit; essentially, five years of membership in UCRP if you work full time. Once you're vested, you can begin taking your UCRP benefits when you leave UC and are at least age 55. Since your contributions are generally made on a pretax basis, your UCRP benefits are generally taxable. (UCRP provisions are subject to collective bargaining for represented employees.)

You will receive monthly payments, made over your lifetime.

  • You may choose a reduced benefit over your lifetime in order to provide a benefit over the lifetime of your survivor or other designated recipient.
  • UCRP benefits can be no more than 100% of your highest average pay and may be subject to IRS limits.

Certain union employees are members of the Modified 2013 Tier. Please refer to your collective bargaining agreement for contribution and plan benefit provisions.

If you have had a break in service, please contact the UC Retirement Administration Service Center at 1-800-888-8267 to determine your benefits under UCRP.

Retirement Choice Program – 2016 Tier

When it comes to your primary (required) retirement benefits, you have two options: Pension Choice or Savings Choice. Both offer a valuable retirement income opportunity, but each works differently. For more details, see these resources:

You have 90 days to make your choice. The sooner you decide which option is best for you — Pension Choice or Savings Choice — the sooner you start receiving UC contributions (and service credit under Pension Choice.) If you don’t choose a primary retirement option, you automatically will be enrolled in Pension Choice at the end of the 90-day period.

Once you've decided which option is best for you, make your choice. Register and log in when prompted, then select the option you’ve decided works best for you. You’ll receive a confirmation statement reflecting your choice. Your contributions will begin to be deducted from your paycheck following your choice (usually within one to two pay periods).

How it works

PENSION CHOICE

Pension Choice is a pension benefit under the UC Retirement Plan (UCRP), offering a predictable level of lifetime retirement income. Your pension benefit applies to eligible annual pay1 up to the PEPRA maximum ($121,388 in the current plan year).

Along with the pension benefit, all eligible faculty, and employees whose eligible annual pay is higher than the PEPRA maximum, build retirement savings through a supplemental 401(k)-style account.

UC invests the money in the UCRP. If you are eligible for the supplemental benefit, you select the investments from available fund options.

Key facts about your choices: Switching from Savings Choice to Pension Choice.

SAVINGS CHOICE

Savings Choice works much like a 401(k) plan. Your individual pretax contributions, and contributions from UC (based on your eligible pay1), accumulate in a tax-deferred retirement account.

Under Savings Choice, you select how you want to invest the contributions made to your account from a menu of available funds and you assume the investment risk. UC provides tools, resources, and one-on-one guidance to help you understand how to plan and invest for retirement.

Guidance provided is educational.

Components

PENSION CHOICE

New to UC?

Two components:

  1. Pension benefit through the UCRP based on eligible pay up to the PEPRA maximum ($121,388 in the current plan year);
  2. 401(k)-style supplemental account for designated faculty, and for all other eligible staff and academic appointees with eligible pay above the PEPRA maximum.

Previous UC employee or eligible for UCRP/CalPERS reciprocity?*

One component:

  1. A pension benefit through the UCRP based on eligible pay up to the annual IRS pay maximum ($275,000 in the current plan year).

Key facts about your choices: Eligible pay, eligible earnings maximums, and designated faculty.

* You are not subject to the PEPRA maximum (and your retirement benefits may differ) if you: previously worked for UC in an eligible appointment (i.e., were previously a UCRP member before 7/1/16); were hired before July 1, 2016, and became eligible for retirement benefits after July 1, 2016; or were a “Classic Member” under CalPERS and are eligible for reciprocity with UC. Employees in the latter group need to self-identify by contacting the UC Retirement Administration Service Center at 800-888-8267.

SAVINGS CHOICE

One component:

  1. A stand-alone 401(k)-style benefit based on eligible annual pay up to the annual IRS pay maximum ($275,000 in the current plan year).

Key facts about your choices: Eligible pay, eligible earnings maximums, and designated faculty.

Shared Contributions

PENSION CHOICE

New to UC?

  • You contribute 7% of annual eligible pay, before taxes, up to the annual IRS pay maximum. Your contributions on pay up to the PEPRA limit go into UCRP; your contributions on pay above the PEPRA limit go into the supplemental account.
  • For the pension benefit for all employees, UC contributes 8% on pay up to the PEPRA maximum to UCRP.
  • For the supplemental account for designated faculty, UC contributes 5% on all eligible pay up to the annual IRS pay maximum.
  • For the supplemental account for eligible staff and other academic appointees, UC contributes 3% on eligible pay above the PEPRA maximum, up to the annual IRS pay maximum.

Previous UC employee or eligible for UCRP/CalPERS reciprocity?*

  • You contribute 7% of annual eligible pay, before taxes, up to the annual IRS pay maximum.
  • UC contributes 8% of your eligible pay up to the annual IRS pay maximum.
  • No supplemental account contributions.

Key facts about your choices: Contribution rates.

Note: Contributions are made only on pay you earn after you are enrolled, subject to payroll processing cycles.

* You are not subject to the PEPRA maximum (and your retirement benefits may differ) if you: previously worked for UC in an eligible appointment (i.e., were previously a UCRP member before 7/1/16); were hired before July 1, 2016, and became eligible for retirement benefits after July 1, 2016; or were a “Classic Member” under CalPERS and are eligible for reciprocity with UC. Employees in the latter group need to self-identify by contacting the UC Retirement Administration Service Center at 800-888-8267.

SAVINGS CHOICE

You contribute 7% of your eligible pay, before taxes, up to the annual IRS pay maximum ($275,000 in the current plan year).

UC contributes 8% of your eligible pay, up to the IRS pay maximum.

Key facts about your choices: Contribution rates.

Your Retirement Income

PENSION CHOICE

You will "vest" (become eligible to receive pension benefits, subject to plan rules) once you have earned five years of UCRP service credit. You begin to earn service credit (based on your time worked) when you start making contributions.

New to UC?

  • Pension benefit is based on UCRP service credit, highest average 36 months of eligible pay (up to the PEPRA maximum) and age at retirement.
  • Balance of supplemental account, if applicable, depends on contributions from you and UC, plus investment performance.

Previous UC employee or eligible for UCRP/CalPERS reciprocity?*

  • Pension benefit is based on UCRP service credit, highest average 36 months of eligible pay (up to the IRS pay maximum) and age at retirement.

UCRP also includes benefits for your eligible survivors, as well as disability income if you become totally and permanently disabled before retirement. At retirement, you can choose someone like a spouse or child to receive lifetime monthly income upon your death.

Your contributions to your supplemental account, if any, will vest immediately. UC’s contributions will vest after you have earned five years of UCRP service credit or, if earlier, on the date of your death, provided you are actively employed on that date. If you leave UC employment prior to vesting, you are eligible to leave your contributions in UCRP where they accrue interest, or take a refund of your contributions.

When you retire, you will be able to draw retirement income from your supplemental account. The balance of your account will depend on the amount contributed by you and UC and on the performance of the investments you select.

Money you don’t take out of your supplemental account can be left to your heirs.

* You are not subject to the PEPRA maximum (and your retirement benefits may differ) if you: previously worked for UC in an eligible appointment (i.e., were previously a UCRP member before 7/1/16); were hired before July 1, 2016, and became eligible for retirement benefits after July 1, 2016; or were a “Classic Member” under CalPERS and are eligible for reciprocity with UC. Employees in the latter group need to self-identify by contacting the UC Retirement Administration Service Center at 800-888-8267.

SAVINGS CHOICE

Your contributions to your account will vest immediately. UC’s contributions will fully vest if you are actively employed one year after your eligibility date or, if earlier, on the date of your death, provided you are actively employed on that date. Distributions are governed by plan rules.

When you retire, you will be able to draw money from your account or take the vested benefits with you if you leave UC. The balance in your account will depend on the amount contributed by you and UC and on the performance of the investments you select.

Savings Choice does not include disability or survivor benefits, but money you do not take out can be left to your beneficiaries.

If you are eligible for retirement benefits under more than one tier, you will be subject to the provisions of multiple tiers and your retirement benefits will be calculated taking the benefits accrued under the multiple tiers into account.

If you’re represented by a union, your retirement benefits are governed by your union’s contract with UC. As a result, your benefits may be different than the benefits outlined here. Please refer to your collective bargaining agreement for details.

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