What is the Optional Retirement Program (ORP)?

The ORP is offered to you as a Texas public higher education employee as an alternative to the Teacher’s Retirement System (TRS).

When do I need to enroll?

If you are eligible for the ORP, you must enroll within 90 days from the date of your eligibility for ORP.  Once you choose between ORP and TRS, your choice is irrevocable.

What if I die before I retire?

Your named beneficiary will receive the total current cash value of your account, or may select a settlement option.  If your spouse is your beneficiary and wants to delay receipt of the income for tax purposes, he/she can do this up until the time you would have reached age 70½.

For the 403(b)(1) variable annuity contract only, a guaranteed death benefit is available.  If the beneficiary requests a lump sum payment or an annuity payout option within six (6) months of the participant's death, the death benefit is guaranteed to be greater of:

a) the account value minus any outstanding loan balances, or

b) total contributions made to your account minus any loans, withdrawals or annuitizations.  The guarantee is based on the claims paying ability of VRIAC.

What happens if I change employers?

Your account is portable and can be continued on a tax-deferred basis if your new employer sponsors a retirement plan that allows rollovers of such amounts.  Or, you may leave your assets in the account and continue to receive tax deferred investment experience until you elect to receive them.

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