Human Resources » Benefits & Retirement » Optional Retirement Program

Optional Retirement Program (ORP)

Add'l Service Credit     ORP Company Contacts     ORP Forms     Withdrawals     FAQ's       Enroll in ORP Online

Tennessee's state retirement system is a qualified retirement plan under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. All full-time state employees are required to participate in the state's retirement system as a condition of employment. Certain part-time employees have the option of participating. Faculty and exempt employees of the University of Tennessee or the Tennessee Board of Regents may choose between membership in Group I of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) and membership in the system's Optional Retirement Program (ORP). (Refer to POLICY HR0375, RETIREMENT PLANS) 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, but less than six years of service.

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.

Effective July 1, 1981, the retirement system became noncontributory for state employees, including employees of the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Board of Regents. Employees may not make any type of contributions (salary reduction, voluntary, before-tax, after-tax, etc.) to the Tennessee Optional Retirement Program at any time. Higher education employees who wish to set aside supplemental retirement savings on a before-tax basis may make salary reduction contributions to a 403(b) plan or to the state's 401(k) plan or 457 plan.

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Campus/Institute Contacts:
Family Practice- Chatt. 
Health Science Center  
Knoxville Area    
UT Memorial Hospital

Deferred Compensation (401k, 457, 403b) Forms:
     Total Rewards/ Benefits & Retirement Office
     600 Henley St, #115
     Knoxville, TN  37996-4115

Insurance Forms:
     Insurance & Retirement
     P115 Andy Holt Tower
     1331 Circle Park
     Knoxville, TN  37996-0100

Retirement Forms:
     Total Rewards/ Benefits & Retirement Office
     600 Henley St, #115
     Knoxville, TN  37996-4115

Other Links:
Deferred Compensation (State site)
Deferred Compensation (Empower Retirement site)
Optional Retirement Program (ORP State site)
Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS State site)
Office of Personnel Management- OPM (CSRS & FERS)