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The following employees are eligible to participate in the State ORP:

  • Employees of South Carolina public school districts.
  • Employees of South Carolina state-supported colleges, universities, and technical colleges. 
  • Employees of the state of South Carolina or any of its departments, agencies, bureaus, commissions, and institutions. 
  • A person who was a participant in the South Carolina Higher Education Optional Retirement Program as of June 30, 2002. 
  • Individuals first elected to the South Carolina General Assembly at or after the general election in November 2012.

Eligible employees have 30 days from their date of hire to enroll in the State ORP. If an employee does not elect to enroll in the State ORP within that time period, he/she will automatically become a member of the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) Defined Benefit Plan.

Starting early has its advantages


  • Each participant shall contribute monthly to the program the same amount(s) he would be required to contribute to the South Carolina Retirement System if the participant were a member of that system (currently, 9% of your salary). 

  • Your employer contributes an amount equal to 5% of your salary each pay period, on a pre-tax basis.


You are always 100% vested in employee and employer contributions to your State ORP account.

Accessing your money before retirement


The State ORP is designed to encourage long term savings so that participants can enjoy a secure retirement.  Money can be withdrawn from your State ORP account in these events:

  • Retirement or separation from service (distributions where the employee retires or separates from service on or after age 55 are not subject to the 10% early withdrawal federal tax penalty)

  • Your death or total disability

Bear in mind that income taxes are payable upon withdrawal and that a 10% federal tax penalty can apply to withdrawals prior to age 59½. 

In addition, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires you to take Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) withdrawals from your retirement account(s) annually beginning the year you reach the RMD eligible age. RMD eligible age is:

  • Age 73 if you were born January 1, 1951, or later (The RMD eligible age will increase to age 75 after December 31, 2032)
  • Age 72 if you were born after June 30, 1949, and before January 1, 1951 (For individuals turning age 72 in 2023, no RMD payment is required in 2023)
  • Age 70 ½ if you were born before July 1, 1949.

Corebridge Retirement Services offers many distribution options, allowing you to tailor your benefits to meet your individual needs. Depending on your employer’s plan provisions, your withdrawal options include:

  • Transferring or rolling over your vested account balance to another tax-advantaged plan that accepts rollovers

  • Receiving systematic withdrawals

  • Taking a lump-sum distribution

  • Choosing one of the many annuity options available from Corebridge Retirement Services

  • Deferring distributions until a later date, allowing your account to continue to grow tax-deferred (Required Minimum Distributions apply)

Important considerations before deciding to move funds either into or out of a Corebridge Retirement Services account
There are many things to consider. For starters, you will want to carefully review and compare your existing account and the new account, including: fees and charges; guarantees and benefits; and, any limitations under either of the accounts. Also, you will want to know whether a surrender of your current account could result in charges. Your financial professional can help you review these and other important considerations. Consult a tax professional before making a decision to move funds either into or out of a Corebridge account.


Loans are not available under the State ORP.

RO 3246092 (11/2023)