Human Resources » Benefits & Retirement » Transition Benefits

Transition Benefits

Benefits Transition     Benefits Transition RIF

Generally, your participation in UT-sponsored benefit plans stops when your UT employment ends. You may, however, be able to continue some benefits for a limited time.

Retirement Benefits: If you are eligible and want to retire, contact your HR Office for information.

Distributions from Retirement Savings Program: If you want to take a distribution from your Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) or Deferred Compensation Plan, contact these providers or your HR office. Some restrictions and penalties may apply.

Address Changes: If you leave with service credit or accumulations in a retirement plan, notify Benefits & Retirement if you change your permanent address.

Beneficiary Designations: In the future, you may wish to change the person(s) you have named to receive benefits from your retirement and savings plans in the event of your death. You may change your beneficiary(ies) at any time by obtaining forms at www.tennessee.edu/benefits or the sepcific company websiter or by phone at 865-946-8847 or 888-444-8847 statewide.

Retirement:
To determine if you are eligible or are unsure of which retirement plan you participate in, contact your HR Office. For employees who terminate employment before retirement, the following options are available under:

Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) plan:
a. If an employee terminates and accepts employment at another state agency, membership and contributions are continued at the new agency.
b. To be eligible for a benefit, an employee must have 5 years of creditable service. If an employee has vested service (5 Years), funds may be left intact until a benefit is requested at age 60.

Optional Retirement plan (ORP) and Joint Contributory Retirement System (JCRS):
a. If an employee transfers to another participating institution, membership and contributions may be continued at the new institution.
b. All funds contributed by the university and before July 1, 1981, by the employee remain intact and continue to accrue interest and dividends until retirement. An exception may apply to employees who have separated service and have a de minimis amount ($14,000 for 2010 increasing by $1,000 a year until the de minimis amount reaches $15,000 in 2011) in total accumulations in the ORP. Depending on the ORP company regulations, such employees may be eligible for a lump sum distribution, a rollover to an Individual Retirement Account, or a rollover to another qualified plan as specified in section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS):
a. If an employee terminates and accepts another federal appointment, membership and contributions are continued at the new agency.
b. If an employee has vested service (5 Years), funds may be left intact until a benefit is requested at retirement.

Deferred Compensation Plans:
401(k) Upon separation, accumulations may be rolled into another qualifying retirement account
Or
If 59 1/2 years of age, distributions can be made without penalty (10% penalty if under age 59 1/2)

403(b) Upon separation, accumulations may be rolled into another qualifying retirement account
Or
If 59 1/2 years of age, distributions can be made without penalty (10% penalty if under age 59 1/2)

457 Upon separation, accumulations may be rolled into another qualifying retirement account Or Distributions can be made without penalty at any age

Once separated from service, you may no longer contribute to any of the University of Tennessee tax deferred plans. For 401(k) (form) /457 (form) distributions or roll-overs  Contact Great West at 1-800-922-7772.  For 403(b) distributions or roll-overs.  If you have an outstanding 401(k) or Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) loan, you must either repay it in full or arrange to make monthly electronic funds transfers (EFTs) directly to the company. If you do not take any action within 90 days of your last day in an active pay status, the outstanding principal will be reported as a distribution and will be subject to income tax and, if applicable, state and federal penalties. For information on 401(k) loan repayment, you may call 1-800-922-7772 or visit www.greatwest.com for more information. For information on a TSP loan repayment you may call 1-877-968-3778 or visit www.tsp.gov.

Insurance Plans:
At the University of Tennessee, insurance premiums are paid one month in advance. For example, if your last paycheck is in December...you will have paid for coverage through January.
Medical & Dental - Coverage ends on the last day of the last month for which premiums are paid. You and/or your eligible family members are eligible to coverage under COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) for a period of eighteen months. You have 60 days from the date you lose coverage to apply form COBRA coverage. The State of Tennessee will provide the COBRA information and application once your coverage is scheduled to end.  You may be eligible to continue medical coverage as a retiree.
Basic Life Insurance - Coverage ends on the last day of the last month for which premiums are paid. You may, however, convert this coverage to an individual policy. When your group coverage ends, you have 31 days to apply for conversion. When you convert coverage, you pay premiums directly to the carrier. Please note that an individual policy is generally more costly and may provide fewer benefits.
Optional Life, Disability* & Long Term - Coverage ends on the last day of the last month for which premiums are paid. You may, however, convert the coverage to an individual policy. When your group coverage ends, you have 31 days to apply for conversion. When you convert coverage, you pay premiums directly to the carrier. Please note that an individual policy is generally more costly and may provide fewer benefits. *Not available in retirement
Accidental Death & Dismemberment - Coverage ends on the last day of the last month for which premiums are paid.

Accumulated Leave:
Annual Leave - Upon termination of employment, unused annual leave, not to exceed the maximum allowable carryover, is paid to the employee. Any excess is converted to sick leave.
Sick Leave - Unused sick leave is not paid at termination. Upon termination of employment, any unused sick leave is held in inactive status. For members of Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS), Joint Contributory Retirement System (JCRS) or Civil Service Retirement System, all unused sick leave is considered creditable service toward retirement.  All university retirement plans include unused sick leave in years of service to determine retiree insurance premiums.
Longevity - Faculty and staff on a 12-month service base must be in an active pay status at least one day during their longevity anniversary month to qualify for the longevity payment for the current fiscal year. Employees who terminate before their longevity anniversary month are not eligible to receive the longevity payment. Faculty on a 9-month service base or staff on a flex-year appointment whose longevity anniversary month is August or September (October for part-time employees) must complete the academic year or flex-year and have a termination date no earlier than July 31 to qualify for the payment.
Personal Leave - Regular, non-exempt employees are not eligible to receive payment for unused personal leave upon termination from the university.