Retirement Eligibility and Benefits

When you retire, you may receive benefits from more than one source depending on choices you made throughout your career. This page describes retirement eligibility and benefits for OU retirement, your retirement investment accounts, and Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System (OTRS). 

Benefits eligible employees become eligible for OU retirement when they meet one of these criteria. 

OU Retirement Eligibility Requirements

  • At age 62 with at least 10 years of benefits eligible OU service.
  • When age plus (at least ten) years of benefits eligible OU service equal 80 or more (Rule of 80);
  • Any age with 25 years of benefits eligible OU service.
  • An employee is eligible to apply for disability retirement with OU at any age with at least 10 years of benefits eligible OU service.
Service Credit- All benefits eligible university employees, with a continuous appointment, who work 20 hours or more per week for six months or longer, can accumulate university service years toward OU retirement eligibility.

Employees who have been long-term or career university employees are rewarded for years of OU service. “University Service” consists of all benefits eligible University of Oklahoma experience. This does not include temporary time. Employees who were hired prior to January 1, 2002, may receive one year of OU service credited for every four years of verified employment experience in other qualified institutions of higher education. Up to a maximum of five years may be credited.

OU does not provide service credit for accumulated short-term disability hours.

Termination Prior To Retirement - Employees who terminate before satisfying the eligibility requirements for university retirement do not receive the retiree benefits package. However, the university does honor all prior OU benefits eligible service when determining retirement eligibility. Eligibility for retirement from Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System does not guarantee eligibility for OU retirement. Qualifications for OU retirement must also be met in order to receive the retiree benefits package.

Retiree Insurance & Benefits

You may have retirement savings in investment accounts through OU. These savings plans are 401(a) defined contribution plans or 403(b) and 457(b) voluntary savings plannings. Throughout your career, OU may have contributed to a 401(a) plan on your behalf and you may have saved your own money for retirement through a 403(b) or 457(b) plan.

Rules for the distribution of your savings depend on age, continued employment at OU, and vesting in the plans. Employees are vested in the 401(a) plan and own the savings after three years of participation in the plan. Vesting in the 403(b) and 457(b) plans is immediate.

OU permits the transfer of this savings to other retirement investment accounts such as a private IRA or a Roth IRA when an employee leaves OU. 

Review more information about retirement income here.

Retirement Income 

You can receive a retirement estimate from Fidelity or TIAA-CREF at any time by contacting the companies or logging in to their websites and using the income estimating tools. 

When you retire from the university, you can keep your full balance in your account or receive a portion of your retirement funds through an income arrangement made with the investment company. You have many income options to choose for your retirement funds.

Taxation of Benefits

Federal and state taxes will be withheld from the retirement income distributed to you from your investments.  If you make a withdrawal before age 59½, you may pay an additional tax of 10%. This tax is 10% of the part of the distribution that is considered gross income for tax purposes. It is in addition to any regular income tax owed on the gross income amount.

Federal tax regulations may subject you to tax penalties if you are age 70 ½ or approaching age 70 ½ and have not started receiving income from your investment savings. Your retirement company can provide you with further information.

Cash Withdrawal Policy

Cash withdrawal is available following termination or retirement.  If you would like to receive a lump-sum payment from your retirement funds, you must request, complete and return the appropriate form to your retirement company.  If you have funds in the TIAA Traditional fund, restrictions apply if the withdrawal request is received after 120 days from your last day at work.

Transfer Policy

OU does permit the transfer of accumulations to other retirement investment accounts such as a private IRA or a Roth IRA.

 

Early in your career you may have made a choice to contribute a portion of your paycheck to the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System (OTRS). You can find the contribution noted on your paycheck earnings statement if you're not sure.

OTRS provides a defined benefit while you're in retirement, like a pension plan. It's a life-time, guaranteed dollar amount. The amount of your benefit is based on the formula below. You can get an estimate of your benefits at any time by contacting the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System.

Full Years of Service x 2% x Average Total Compensation for your five highest-paid years = Your OTRS Retirement Benefit

Eligibility Requirements for Retirement with OTRS Benefits

OTRS members who joined prior to July 1, 1992, can retire with full benefits from OTRS:
  • At age 62 with at least 5 years of OTRS service credit OR
  • When age plus years of OTRS service credit equal 80 or more (Rule of 80).
OTRS members who joined on or after July 1, 1992, and before November 1, 2011, can retire with full benefits from OTRS:
  • At age 62 with at least 5 years of OTRS service credit OR
  • When age plus years of OTRS service credit equal 90 or more (Rule of 90).

OTRS members who joined on or after November 1, 2011, can retire with full benefits from OTRS:

  • At age 65 with at least 5 years of OTRS service credit OR
  • When age plus years of OTRS service credit equal 90 or more (Rule of 90).

OTRS Retirement with Partial OU Retirement

Retirees who are eligible for retirement with Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System and who are beginning their OTRS benefits but don’t fully meet the eligibility requirements for university retiree benefits may qualify for “partial” OU retiree benefits. Review the details below.

For employees hired before January 1, 2008:
  • With at least 10 and up to 15 years OU service and eligible for OTRS retirement: Eligible to purchase university’s health and basic dental coverage by paying 100 percent of the cost.
  • With at least 15 and up to 20 years OU service and eligible for OTRS retirement: University will offer health and basic dental coverage and pay 25 percent of the cost of the retiree premium only.
  • With at least 20 and up to 25 years OU service and eligible for OTRS retirement: University will offer health and basic dental coverage and pay 50 percent of the cost of the retiree premium only.
For employees hired January 1, 2008 or after:
  • With at least 10 years of OU service and eligible for OTRS retirement: Eligible to purchase university’s health and basic dental coverage by paying 100 percent of the cost.

In addition to the retirement benefits you earn as an employee of OU, both you and OU pay into the Social Security system on your behalf. You should consider your Social Security benefits when evaluating your sources of income during retirement. You can request a statement from the Social Security Administration that shows your projected Social Security retirement benefits. To request a statement and learn more about Social Security benefits, visit Social Security Administration's web site.