Employees in certain types of roles are eligible to choose to participate in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) instead of TRS (Teacher Retirement System). Some examples of these roles are full-time faculty, executives, coaches, and librarians.
- Eligible employees are officially notified of their eligibility upon being hired (or when they are promoted to an ORP-eligible role) via email by HR Benefits and have 90 days to elect ORP in lieu of TRS.
- To participate in ORP, you must officially elect to enroll via the TRS 28 form and UNTS Optional Retirement Program Acknowledgment form that will be provided in your official invitation. Once enrolled, you will receive additional information and instructions via email to setup your account, choose your vendor, and your investment(s). You will not be able to create your account until HR Benefits has enrolled you in the ORP.
Retirement income will be based on contributions and investment performance. ORP participants do not have age or service requirements to meet for retirement (to draw retirement income). Of note, however, there are age/service requirements for the retiree health insurance benefit that do apply.
ORP participants contribute state-mandated amounts monthly to their account and the institution also contributes a set percentage of salary:
- Employee: 6.65%
- Employer 6.6%
Vesting in ORP is one year and one day. Once vested in ORP, participants are entitled to both their contributions and the employer's contributions.
Employees in ORP choose and manage their investment products from a vetted list of investments managed by certified vendors (AIG, Fidelity, TIAA and Voya).
Once enrolled in ORP, participants have access to their ORP account portal where they choose their vendor(s) and select their investments.
ORP vendors' customer service numbers:
Information about the four vendors and their investment products are available via the UNT System Netbenefits (ORP) portal, which is managed by Fidelity as the current lead record keeper for UNT.
- Election of ORP is “for life.” If an employee does not elect ORP when first eligible, they cannot elect it later.
- Once enrolled in ORP, the employee “vests” after participating one year and one day, at which time they are entitled to both their own contributions and those made by the employer/employing institution.
Retiring Under ORP
- ORP participants should contact their retirement account vendor about 60-90 days prior to the expected departure or retirement date for financial advisement/planning assistance.
- If retiring from service, contact your campus Benefits Advisor to schedule a Retirement Meeting. You should meet with a benefits advisor at least 60-90 days before retirement to have questions answered, complete exit paperwork, and discuss other benefits – including the retiree health insurance benefit. Your Benefits Advisor will help determine what benefits you are eligible for and enroll you.
- Retirement eligibility: while there is no age or service minimum for ORP retirees to retire, there are tax penalties for taking distributions from your ORP retirement account prior to age 59.5. ORP retirees must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) at age 72 effective January 1, 2020.
To be eligible for retiree health insurance, ORP retirees must:
- Have 10 years of service (full 120 months) with a Group Benefit Plan employer and/or a State agency and
- Be 65 years of age or meet “Rule of 80” as if in TRS (age plus years of service = 80) and
- Maintain an open/active ORP account with some funds once retired
- TRS Brochure Comparing TRS and ORP
- Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board ORP resources page
- ERS (not TRS) administers our retiree health insurance. Information about retiree health insurance can be found here. Retirees must have 10 years of service with a Group Benefit Plan employer AND meet retirement eligibility for the retiree health insurance benefit. State agencies listed here are also GBP employers.
- Retiree Insurance Benefit Information (includes information on insurance eligibility)
- Contact your campus Benefits Advisor if you have questions. Everyone’s situation is different and we're here to help. While we need to meet with you when you're ready to retire, we're also here to help you plan ahead so that you know what retiree benefits you can expect and how they fit into your plans for your future.
UNT System ORP Plan Administration Document