Vesting


Vesting refers to the amount of time you're required to work for FRS employers before you "own" your benefit. If you're not vested in your plan benefit when you leave FRS employment, you could lose your benefit.
 
FRS Pension Plan FRS Investment Plan
If you enrolled in the FRS prior to July 1, 2011, you need to have 6 years of service with an FRS employer to be vested in your Pension Plan benefit. If you enrolled in the FRS on or after July 1, 2011, you must have 8 years of service to vest. If you terminated FRS-covered employment before July 1, 2001, the vesting period varied.1
 
Vesting is based on total service in both the Pension Plan and the Investment Plan. Service is the total of all whole and partial years you worked with an FRS employer in a covered position. It also includes any additional service that you may have purchased. (Some purchased service, such as out-of-state service, does not count toward the number of years you need to be vested.)
 
Any benefit amount you transfer from the Pension Plan to the Investment Plan will still be subject to the Pension Plan's 6-year or 8-year vesting requirement rather than the Investment Plan's 1-year vesting requirement.
 
If you leave FRS employment before you're vested in your Pension Plan benefit, you won't be entitled to any benefit (except for a refund of employee contributions - see below). If you're rehired by an FRS employer at any time in the future, the service credit you previously earned will be combined with any future service credit and applied toward vesting.
 
Employee contributions are always 100% vested. This means that if you terminate employment prior to meeting the vesting requirements of the Pension Plan, you will be entitled to a refund of your employee contributions. However, taking such a refund may not be a sound financial decision because, if you return to FRS employment at a later date and wish to restore all service associated with the refund, you will be required to work for 1 year to become eligible to purchase back the refunded service plus interest.
 


1If you terminated FRS-covered employment before July 1, 2001, vesting varied based on membership class:
  • Members of the Regular Class, Special Risk Class and Special Risk Administrative Support Class vested in the FRS Pension Plan after completing 10 years of creditable service.
  • Members of the Elected Officers' Class vested in the FRS Pension Plan after completing eight years of creditable service.
  • Members of the Senior Management Service Class vested in the FRS Pension Plan after completing seven years of creditable service.

 
If you were more than one year away from vesting at the time you terminated FRS-covered employment before July 1, 2001, you must return to covered employment for one work year in order to be eligible for six-year vesting. However, if you were within one work year of vesting under the provisions of law in place when you terminated employment, you will vest upon working the number of months that were required for you to vest before you terminated.
 
You need to have 1 year of service with an FRS employer to be vested in your Investment Plan benefit. Vesting is based on total service in both the Pension Plan and the Investment Plan. Service is the total of all whole and partial years you worked with an FRS employer in a covered position.
 
Any benefit amount you transfer from the Pension Plan to the Investment Plan will still be subject to the Pension Plan's 6-year or 8-year vesting requirement rather than the Investment Plan's 1-year vesting requirement.
 
If you leave FRS employment before you're vested in your Investment Plan benefit, you won't be entitled to any benefit (except for a distribution of employee contributions - see below). Your account balance will be placed in a suspense account, where it will accrue actual investment earnings. If you return to work for an FRS employer within 5 years of your termination date, your account balance plus any earnings will be returned to you and combined with any future service credit and applied toward vesting of your account. If you never return to work for an FRS employer or if you return to work for an FRS employer 5 years after your termination date, you will forfeit your unvested account balance.
 
If you leave FRS employment after vesting in your Investment Plan benefit, but before your transferred Pension Plan benefit has vested, you may only receive your vested Investment Plan benefit. However, if you take any distribution from your Investment Plan benefit, the Pension Plan benefit you transferred into the Investment Plan will be forfeited. If you do not take a distribution of your Investment Plan benefit, the Pension Plan benefit you transferred into the Investment Plan will be placed in a suspense account, where it will accrue actual investment earnings.
 
If you return to work for an FRS employer within 5 years of your termination date, your prior service will be combined with any future service credit and applied toward vesting of your transferred Pension Plan benefit. If you never return to work for an FRS employer or if you return to work for an FRS employer 5 years after your termination date, you will forfeit your unvested transferred Pension Plan benefit.
 
Employee contributions are always 100% vested. This means that if you terminate employment prior to meeting the vesting requirements of the Investment Plan, you will be entitled to a distribution of your employee contributions. However, taking such a distribution may not be a sound financial decision because you will forfeit any unvested employer contributions and service credit associated with the service and be declared a retiree.
 
If you return to FRS-covered employment after taking a distribution (effective for reemployed service on or after July 1, 2017), you are considered a "reemployed retiree" or "renewed member." As a reemployed Investment Plan retiree, you are required to participate in the Investment Plan, unless you are reemployed in a position eligible to participate in the State University System Optional Retirement Program (SUSORP) or State Community College System Optional Retirement Program (SCCSORP).