Becoming a Member of the Retirement System
You become a member of the Retirement System on your date of hire if you are:
- a permanent full-time teacher or employee of a State-supported board of education or community college,
- a permanent employee of the State (or any of its agencies, departments, bureaus, or institutions) and work at least 30 hours per week for nine months per year, or
- a permanent employee of a charter school whose board has elected to participate in the Retirement System, and work at least 30 hours per week for nine months per year.
Who Pays for the System
You, and the State, and the investment earnings on total contributions pay the cost of providing your retirement benefits.
Your share of the cost, which is automatically deducted from your paycheck, is 6% of your compensation. Your compensation includes all salaries and wages paid to you, from public funds, which you earn at your covered job while working for the State.
On and after July 1, 1982, your contributions to the Retirement System are tax-sheltered for federal and North Carolina income tax purposes.
The State bases contributions on the calculations prepared by an actuary. The State contribution rate for the 2012-13 fiscal year is 14.23% of all members' salaries to pay for the benefits for you and other members.
How to Qualify for Benefits
You become vested in the Retirement System once you have completed a minimum of five years of membership service (10 years if you became a member on or after August 1, 2011). This means that you are eligible to apply for lifetime monthly retirement benefits based on the formula, and the age and service requirements described in the retirement employee handbook, provided you do not withdraw your contributions. You may also be eligible for retiree health coverage as described on page 22 in the employee handbook.
Service Retirement (Unreduced Benefits)
You may retire with an unreduced service retirement benefit after:
- you reach age 65 and complete five years of membership service,
- you reach age 60 and complete 25 years of creditable service, or
- you complete 30 years of creditable service, at any age.
Early Retirement (Reduced Benefits)
You may retire early with a reduced retirement benefit after:
- you reach age 50 and complete 20 years of creditable service, or
- you reach age 60 and complete five years of membership service
Your early retirement benefit is determined by the same formula as a service retirement benefit multiplied by a reduction percentage based on your age and/or service at early retirement. Since your benefits may be paid over a longer period of time than if you waited until you were eligible for service retirement, they will be reduced.
Please access the Retirement Benefits Handbook
for more detailed information and answers to your retirement benefit questions.