The University System of New Hampshire (USNH) Retirement plans are voluntary and designed to provide long-term financial security.
Benefits-eligible staff and faculty may participate in the program immediately upon employment or at any time thereafter. Participants manage contributions by allocating dollars between two investment institutions, TIAA (fomerly TIAA-CREF) and/or Fidelity Investments, and within those companies among any number of investment vehicles. Representatives from TIAA and Fidelity Investments are available on campus 2 or 3 times monthly for individual counseling sessions with employees to answer any questions about their retirement savings plan.
Participants in the USNH 403 (b) plan elect to have contributions withheld from their paycheck on a before-tax basis by making their retirement benefits choices in the online benefits system - MyUSNHBenefits.net. Once signed in, click on ENROLL IN OR CHANGE RETIREMENT BENEFITS and follow the steps to enroll. Important: Enrolling in the retirement plan is a 2-step process. A retirement account must also be opened with the appropriate vendor in order to complete the enrollment process.
Staff and Faculty (excluding Tenured and Tenure-Track)
If the Initial Contribution Level is elected, 6% of the Employee’s base salary will be contributed into the USNH Retirement Plan along with the Employer matching contribution of 6%. Effective the first pay period of the month following one year of active participation, the Employee will be eligible for the Standard Contribution, which provides for a 10% contribution by the Employer.
If the Mid-Level Employee Contribution is elected, 4% of the employee’s salary will be contributed into the USNH Retirement Plan along with a 6% USNH matching contribution.
If the Alternate Employee Contribution Level is elected, 2 ½% of the employee’s salary will be contributed into the USNH Retirement Plan along with a 4% USNH matching contribution.
Once a contribution level is selected, the participant has the option to split the contributions between TIAA and Fidelity.
Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty (AAUP)
Tenured and Tenure-Track faculty (AAUP) hired on or enrolled in the USNH 403(b) retirement plan after October 1, 2012 and the Initial Contribution Level is elected, 6% of the Employee’s base salary will be contributed into the USNH Retirement Plan along with the Employer matching contribution of 6%. Effective the first pay period of the month following one year of active participation, the Employee will be eligible for the Standard Contribution, which provides for an 10% contribution by the Employer.
If the Alternate Employee Contribution Level is elected, 2 ½% of the employee’s salary will be contributed into the USNH Retirement Plan along with a 6% USNH matching contribution.
Once a contribution level is selected, the participant has the option to split the contributions between TIAA and Fidelity.
Adjunct Faculty and Staff are eligible to contribute to the USNH Retirement Plan at the following contribution levels:
Standard Contribution Level - The standard contribution level provides for the employee to contribute 6%.
Alternate Contribution Level - The alternate contribution level provides for the employee to contribute 2.5%. USNH does not make a contribution to either level in this plan. Please contact HR if interested in participating.
Individuals may use the USNH 403(b) Retirement Program to save additional money for retirement as long as they are contributing at a 6% contribution level. The additional contribution may be made to your USNH retirement account via a Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA). The SRA also has a loan and hardship provision (certain criteria apply). For TIAA only, it is required a supplemental retirement account application be processed on their website. Fidelity does not require the additional application. Faculty and staff members who have chosen to make supplemental salary deferrals are also eligible to make salary deferrals in USNH’s 457(b) non-qualified deferred compensation plan. For more information about the plan, click here.
It is important to note that your additional savings are not matched by USNH. As well, current Internal Revenue Service codes establish an annual upper limit on how much you may save on a before-tax basis. To view or make changes to your USNH Retirement Plan go to MyUSNHBenefits.net.
Note: Changes to retirement in the online benefits system can only be made once per month.
Employees are always 100% vested (which means they are entitled to all of the amounts) in their account attributable to the following:
- elective deferrals including catch-up contributions
- employee after-tax contributions
- rollover contributions
The vesting of accrued benefits attributable to contributions made on the employee’s behalf by the Employer does not begin until they first contribute at a level (6% or 2.5%) which entitles them to an employer match. Once they begin contributing at either level, that will mark the beginning of years of service, which must be benefits eligible years of service, which will count for purposes of vesting in employer contributions, and shall be in accordance with the following schedule:
Completed Years of Benefits Eligible Service
Less than 3 Years
3 Years or More
Employees earn a year of service for each year employed by the Employer in a fully benefits-eligible USNH position, beginning with the date an elective contribution is made entitling them to an employer match, without regard to the hours of service completed during the year. The Administrator will track service and will credit employees with years of service in accordance with the terms of the Plan.
Breaks in Service - If an employee has a break in service which occurs prior to achieving 100% vesting, and if that break in-service is more than three (3) years before being reemployed by USNH, the USNH contributions will be forfeited, and past service will not be counted toward the vesting of benefits attributable to service after reemployment. If the break in service is less than three (3) years and an individual is reemployed, past service will be credited back and any accrued benefits derived from employer contributions will be restored, subject to satisfying the vesting requirements.
Definition of Retiree: There are three types of retiree status. For all three types, the former faculty or staff member must have served in a status position for a period equal to ten or more years of service at the time of retirement or departure from USNH active service status
- Retiree (ARC) - A faculty or staff member with the Additional Retirement Contribution Plan (ARC), either by choice or by beginning employment within USNH on or after 7/1/94, and who has reached at least age 62.
- Retiree (Medical Benefits) - A faculty or staff member hired prior to 7/1/94 who has reached at least age 62 and has ten or more years of full-time service and at least ten years of participation in a USNH sponsored retirement plan and who chose the retiree medical coverage option instead of the additional retirement contribution (ARC).
- Retiree (Cooperative Extension) - A former faculty or staff member within Cooperative Extension who meets the requirement under the Civil Service Retirement System.
- Medical Coverage for Retirees Age 62 through age 65.
All faculty/staff members who meet the qualifications of a USNH retiree (see USY V.C.9.2 for definition) and are enrolled in a USNH medical plan prior to retirement and retire, may continue coverage per University System guidelines until they are eligible for Medicare coverage at age 65.
A spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner, eligible under the hardship exception, who is 65 or older and covered under the employee’s medical plan when the employee retires, may continue USNH coverage but must also enroll in Medicare Part B. Medicare will become their primary insurer while the USNH plan will become the secondary insurer.
In order to maintain medical coverage per University System guidelines, effective 1/1/06, retiring faculty/staff members will pay the same premium contributions as active employees up to a maximum period of three years.
- Medical Coverage for Retirees Over Age 65 with the Additional Retiree Contribution (ARC)
The ARC contribution was implemented to provide funds for retirees to purchase a medical plan to supplement Medicare, which takes affect the first of the month in which a retiree attains age 65. There is no option for USNH medical coverage for faculty/staff under ARC, except for those subject to COBRA provisions.
Coverage for family members ends on the same date as coverage for an employee ends.
- Medical Coverage for Retirees Over Age 65 with the Medicare Complementary Plan
In 1994 benefits-eligible faculty/staff members hired prior to 6/30/1994 had the opportunity to choose an additional 1% retirement contribution (ARC) or the Medicare Complementary Plan. Only those who selected the Medicare Complementary Plan at that time are eligible for the plan at retirement. In order to meet the USNH definition of a retiree, faculty/staff in this plan begin accumulating years of service toward this benefit starting at age 52. Faculty/staff must meet all of the criteria of a retiree as defined in USY V.C.9.2 and be participating in a USNH medical program prior to retirement.
To be eligible for continued medical coverage upon the faculty/staff member’s retirement, a spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner who is eligible under the hardship exception, and/or dependent must be covered under the employee’s medical plan at retirement.
If a spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner is age 65 or older, s/he will be transitioned to the USNH Medicare Complementary Plan.
If a Spouse, civil union partner, domestic partner, and/or dependents of the retiree is less than age 65 and eligible for coverage after the faculty/staff members reaches age 65, the faculty/staff member will pay the same premium as active employees for a maximum of three years after the faculty/staff member's retirement date. Following the three years, the faculty/staff member will contribute 50% of the total cost of the coverage.
In the event the retiree dies, the spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner may continue in the Medicare Supplemental Plan for the rest of her/his life or until remarriage or the establishment of a new USNH-defined domestic partnership.
If the faculty/staff member who chose the Medicare Complementary Plan is over age 52 and has at least 10 years of service and dies either while on active service or while on an approved early retirement plan, long-term disability, or chronic worker’s compensation, her/his spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner is still eligible for the Medicare Complementary Plan at age 65, unless made ineligible by remarriage or the establishment of a new civil union or domestic partnership.
In the event a spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner of a retiree covered by the Medicare Complementary Plan dies, the retiree is not permitted to add a new spouse or domestic partner to the plan.
The prescription drug benefit program for retirees with the Medicare Complementary Plan is made available through CAREMARK. A prescription card will be issued to the retiree for use at participating pharmacies. At the time of purchase the retiree, or spouse/civil union partner/domestic partner age 65 or over, will pay the pharmacy a 20% co-payment. The balance of the cost of the prescription will be billed to the USNH; no further paperwork is required.
Both TIAA and Fidelity offer a variety of payout options. You can receive payment monthly, in a lump sum, or a combination of both options. Also, by using annuity products available through either company, you can even guarantee all or a portion of your retirement income for as long as you live. The material you receive from TIAA and Fidelity discusses these options in detail.
TIAA and/or Fidelity forms to request retirement funds distributions should be directed to:
USNH Benefits Office
25 Concord Road
Durham, NH 03824
- Dental coverage - may be purchased for up to 18 months following retirement through COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). This coverage may be continued on a monthly basis for up to 18 months for the retiree, his/her spouse or domestic partner, and dependent children. A complete packet of information regarding the options under COBRA including premium payment deadlines will be sent to the retiring employee's home address. COBRA rates are available on this HR web site under "Benefits".
- Life insurance - ends on the effective date of retirement but may be converted from the employee's current USNH-offered group policies. The insurance carrier will send the employee enrollment information.
- Disability insurance - coverage ends upon retirement.
- Flexible Spending Accounts - Contributions to the retirees’ FSA stop at the date of retirement. Only claims incurred through the last day of employment will be eligible for reimbursement. Claims should be submitted within 90 days of termination date.
- Vacation/Personal Leave / Earned Time - Staff members and fiscal year faculty who retire will be paid for the balance of accrued Vacation/Personal Leave (30 day maximum) or Earned Time available as of the last day of work. When included in the last regular pay check, these supplemental earnings are taxed in combination with regular earnings according to the standard table withholding method.
- Tuition Waiver Benefits - A retired faculty or staff member is not eligible for the tuition waiver program for themselves or any eligible dependents after the date of retirement. Any tuition waiver in effect at the time of separation will be prorated based on the proportionate amount of time the staff member has worked in the fiscal year.
Special Note: Any resident of the State of New Hampshire who is 65 or older may enroll in credit courses offered by Keene State College, Plymouth State College, or the University of New Hampshire tuition-free. The faculty or staff member may, however, be required to pay certain fees and/or registration charges.
NOTE: All insurance coverage premiums and contributions are subject to change.
Other benefits offered to retirees of UNH
- Access to the Library
- Retired faculty emeritus and Extension Educators are offered a non-expiring UNH ID card and parking permit
Notify the following departments in writing prior to your retirement date: your department, campus Human Resources, and the USNH Benefits Office. Faculty and PAT staff are expected to provide a minimum of 120 days, and Operating Staff are expected to provide a minimum of 60 days written notice.
Contact the Social Security Administration:
To obtain a projection of Social Security benefits, apply for Social Security payments, obtain Medicare information and enroll in Medicare A & B, if you are age 65 or older. If you plan to work past age 65, you should apply for Medicare Part A when you turn 65. You should apply for Medicare Part B when you actually retire. You must be enrolled in both Medicare Parts A and B to be eligible for full coverage under the Medicare Complementary Plan. The USNH Benefits Office will need a copy of your Medicare card for coverage in the retiree medical plan.
Participants in the Operating Staff Retirement Program should contact the USNH Benefits Office for benefit calculations at 862-0930.
- Be sure you and your spouse/dependents have medical coverage through USNH in the year you retire. Medical coverage may be added each fall during the "open enrollment" period.
- Define a budget. Determine your fixed expenses, how much money you will need to maintain your desired lifestyle and what sources of income you have.
- Confirm other sources of retirement income such as prior employer-provided retirement plan, IRA's, Supplemental Retirement Accounts (SRA's).
- Consult a financial planner or use the resources available through TIAA/CREF and/or Fidelity. Get a projection of retirement payment options.
- Plan your estate. Consider a will, establishing trusts or giving gifts. Consult a financial planner or your attorney to determine what is best for your situation. Update your beneficiary designations.
- Where will you live? You may consider downsizing, moving to another region of the country, a retirement community, or senior housing.
- Consider current and future medical needs. Living wills, healthcare proxy, and long term care insurance are options. Put your medical records in order.
- Talk to your family and loved ones about your wishes for final arrangements, tax records, safe-deposit boxes, bank accounts, debts, emergency funds, and other records.