General Frequently Asked Questions
How do I change my name on my account?
To update your name on your account, please send a copy of your Social Security card, a certified copy of your marriage license, divorce decree or other duly executed court order verifying your name change to the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) Retirement Benefits at the following address:
South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority
Attention: Enrollment Department
Post Office Box 11960
Columbia, South Carolina 29211-1960
How can I update my address?
You may change your address by calling our Customer Services department, updating it with your employer or by logging into Member Access and selecting the Change Address link. You may also send a written notification to our office which includes your signature, printed name, Social Security number and new address. Notice of an address change may be mailed to: South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority, Retirement Benefits, Attention: Enrollment Department, Post Office Box 11960, Columbia, South Carolina 29211-1960.
Can I obtain my account balance online?
Yes. If you have not received a refund of your contributions, you may view or print a member statement by logging into Member Access and selecting the Statement link.
May I borrow money from my South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) Retirement Benefits account?
No. There are no provisions that allow a member to borrow funds from retirement accounts held at the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority.
How do I withdraw money from my PEBA Retirement Benefits account?
If you leave your job and terminate all employment with any employer covered by PEBA Retirement Benefits and do not retire before you are eligible to retire, you may elect to receive a refund of your accumulated member contributions and interest by completing a Refund Request (Form 4101) and returning it to PEBA. You may submit your refund request immediately upon termination; however, by law, payment may not be issued less than 90 days after you cease to be an employee. If you receive a refund, you forfeit your rights to any future service retirement or disability benefit. Employer contributions are not refunded. If you are working for two or more covered employers and/or contributing to more than one retirement account (i.e., working two jobs and paying into a South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) and a Police Officer Retirement System (PORS) account), you must stop working in all correlated systems to be eligible to receive a refund from any account. PEBA Retirement Benefits is required to withhold federal taxes of 20 percent on the taxable portion of any refund that is eligible for a rollover but is not transferred directly into another qualified retirement plan. Other taxes or penalties may apply as well. Be sure to check with an accountant or tax advisor regarding your tax liability.
How do I change my beneficiary?
If you have not retired, you may change your beneficiary designations by submitting an Active Member Beneficiary Form (Form 1102). You may complete and print this form from our website or contact our Customer Services department at 803-737-6800 or 800-868-9002 (within S.C. only) to request a form be mailed to you. All beneficiary changes require that your signature be notarized. Completed forms may be mailed to PEBA Retirement Benefits, Attention: Enrollment Department, Post Office Box 11960, Columbia, South Carolina 29211-1960.
How is my average final compensation (AFC) calculated and how is unused annual leave pay factored into my monthly benefit?
Your monthly retirement benefit is calculated using your average final compensation (AFC), years of service credit and a benefit multiplier which varies among systems. Under current law, if you are a Class Two member your AFC is calculated by adding the total of your 12 highest consecutive quarters of earnable compensation (utilizing quarterly information reported to PEBA Retirement Benefits by your employer) and dividing by three. For Class Three members your AFC is calculated using your 20 highest consecutive quarters of earnable compensation. Also under current law, an amount up to and including pay for 45 days of unused annual leave from your last termination payment may be included before averaging your 12 highest consecutive quarters of earnable compensation for Class Two members only. For work performed after December 31, 2012, your AFC does not include any overtime pay not mandated by the employer. Your employer provides this information to PEBA Retirement Benefits when you retire.
Can I schedule an appointment with a PEBA Retirement Benefits' counselor and if so, what do I need bring to bring to the appointment?
Yes, you may schedule an appointment for an individual consultation with one of our retirement counselors. Please bring your driver’s license, Social Security card and a copy of your birth certificate, as well as the birth certificate of your beneficiary(s) if you are planning to choose a survivor payment option. Options B and C are survivor options that provide for a continuing monthly annuity to be paid to your surviving beneficiaries upon your death. When completing the retirement application, the counselor will ask for the Social Security numbers of your beneficiary(s). You may also bring your latest check stub so we may use that information in calculating benefit estimates for you and a voided check for completion of a direct deposit form.
If I choose to name multiple beneficiaries, how are the payments dispersed?
If you select Opion A (maximum) benefit payment option and multiple beneficiaries, then each surviving beneficiary will receive an equal share of any contributions and interest in your account that was not paid to you in the form of a retirement benefit. If any beneficiary predeceases you, the remaining beneficiaries will receive equal shares of any unpaid contributions and interest. If you select Options B or C which provide survivor benefits and multiple beneficiaries, then each beneficiary will receive an equal share of the monthly benefit. If any beneficiary predeceases you, the deceased beneficiary’s share ends and the remaining beneficiaries will continue to receive only their original share of the benefit.
I'm currently a State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) participant. Can I switch and become an SCRS member?
Each year, there is an annual enrollment period from January 1 to March 1. During this time, you, as a State ORP participant, may irrevocably switch to SCRS if you have at least one but no more than five years of State ORP service at the time of the open enrollment period.
If, as a State ORP participant, you do not make the change within the allotted time, you will, by default, continue your State ORP participation and forfeit your one-time opportunity to elect SCRS membership. If you join SCRS during the allotted time, you may purchase all or a portion of your State ORP service at any time after joining SCRS. The cost, which is determined by PEBA’s independent actuary, will not be less than 16 percent of your career highest fiscal year compensation for each year purchased.
Who can purchase additional service credit?
Only active members are eligible to purchase additional service credit. Active members are those members currently working for an employer participating in a retirement system administered by PEBA, who are earning service credit, making regular contributions, and who have not retired or terminated from covered employment.
How much does it cost to purchase additional service credit?
Effective January 2, 2013, legislation was implemented which changed the process for calculating the cost of certain types of service credit to be at least equal to the true actuarial cost. The actuarial neutral cost involves a complex calculation that takes into account the member’s age, service credit, salary, average final compensation (AFC), and portion of service to be purchased. In addition, there is a minimum statutory cost which must be at least 16 percent (qualified service) or 35 percent (nonqualified service) of the member’s current or career highest fiscal year salary for each year purchased.
How long does it take to get an invoice?
In order to process your service request we may need verification from you, your current or former employer(s) or other agencies. Because each type of service credit requires a variety of verification we cannot provide a definite response time. However, our goal is to provide you with a payment invoice(s) within 30 days after receiving all documentation and verification needed to process your request.
How much service credit can I purchase?
There is no limit on the numbers of years you may purchase for most service types. However, you may only purchase six years of military service and five years of nonqualified service.
May I purchase a portion of service credit?
Yes. You may purchase all or any portion of each type of service credit. However, you may purchase the same type of service only once within a fiscal year.
Can I obtain a cost estimate for any service type?
The Service Purchase Cost Estimate Calculator provides an unofficial cost estimate to purchase certain types of service based on an actuarially neutral cost. If you are a member of a retirement system administered by the S.C. Public Employee Benefit Authority, you can access the calculator through Member Access by clicking the Member Login button at the top of this page. The calculator does not provide cost estimates for withdrawn service, workers’ compensation, transfer SCRS to PORS, and Convert Class I to Class II. To receive a cost estimate to purchase those types of service, please contact Customer Services at 803-737-6800; 800-868-9002 (within S.C. only).
Will I be notified when my payment is received?
Yes. You will be notified by our Service Accounting Department upon receipt of your lump sum payment, rollover, or your election to participate in the Installment Service Purchase Program.
To access more FAQs, please visit our Retiree Frequently Asked Questions page. Our Customer Services Call Center is dedicated to assisting you with matters related to your retirement benefits. You may contact Customer Services at 803-737-6800, toll free at 800-868-9002 (within S.C. only), or through our online contact form.
THE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS MEANT TO SERVE AS A GUIDE AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A BINDING REPRESENTATION OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA RETIREMENT SYSTEMS. TITLE 9 OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA CODE OF LAWS CONTAINS A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF THE RETIREMENT BENEFITS, THEIR TERMS AND CONDITIONS, AND GOVERNS ALL RETIREMENT BENEFITS OFFERED BY THE STATE. STATE STATUTES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY. PLEASE CONTACT THE RETIREMENT SYSTEMS FOR THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION.