Staff Retirement Plan Benefits - Plan B

  • What is Plan B?

    This basic staff retirement plan, Plan B, provides Case Western Reserve University staff members with retirement benefits that count. This plan which is provided by the university, reflects our commitment to offer you a sound level of retirement benefits. Each year, CWRU credits an amount of money to an account in your name. The money will earn an annual rate of interest (a minimum rate is guaranteed), which accumulates tax-free. When you reach retirement age, the full value of your account will be used to provide benefits for you.

  • Who is eligible?

    The plan year is July 1 through June 30. Plan B benefits all regular employees working half-time to full-time and who are not eligible for Retirement Plan A. You enter the plan on January 1 or July 1 after you have completed one year of service at CWRU. (Your years of employment with another accredited college or university--or one-year related research experience--can be used to help you meet this requirement for participation). Your participation in the plan is automatic; you do not need to enroll. To receive retirement benefits from the plan you must be vested.

  • How do I become vested?

    You will be fully vested after you have completed three years of credited service at CWRU. You will receive one year of credited service for each full year of employment. Your period of service begins on your date of hire and continues until your date of severance due to termination, retirement, death, or a 12-month absence for any other reason.

  • How does my account grow?

    On the last day of each plan year you work at CWRU, the university will credit 7 percent of your pay to your account. Your pay for plan purposes is defined as your base salary (excluding overtime) received during the plan year, up to certain Internal Revenue Service limits. Your pay includes any pre-tax contributions you make for Benelect benefits or a supplemental retirement account. Example: For a staff members who earned $25,000 during the plan year, the annual contribution credited on June 30 of the following year would be .07 x 25,000 = $1,750. If you leave the university after you are vested, the university will credit your account with an amount equal to 7 percent of the pay you received from the beginning of the plan year to your last day of employment. In addition, your account balance grows with annual interest. Interest will be credited on the last day of the plan year to the account balance at the beginning of the plan year. The annual rate of interest will be the five-year Treasury bill rate effective on the last business day in June of the prior plan year. The plan guarantees a minimum annual rate of 6 percent. However, interest rates used to credit the accounts will be reviewed annually. Example: If a staff member's account balance on July 1 of a given year is $10,000, and the one-year Treasury bill rate on the last business day of June of that year is 6 percent, the interest credited on June 30 of the following year would be $10,000 x 0.06 = $600.

  • How do I know what's in my account?

    You will receive an annual statement showing the single life annuity amount you can expect to receive at normal retirement age. Participants also have the opportunity to view their benefit on-line.

    • Go to http://www.tiaa-cref.org/case
    • Click on "Plans and Investments"
    • Click on "More about this plan and investment choices under the Case Western Reserve University Employee’s Retirement Plan B"
    • Click on the “Milliman Online” link

    Your default ID is your Social Security number and your default password is your birth month and year -- MMYY

    You will be prompted to change your password to a combination of letters and numbers with a minimum of six and a maximum of 10 characters. Note that the password must begin and end with an alphabetic character.

    Once you have logged in you will view the "At-A-Glance" screen providing a snapshot of your benefit. Click on the Benefit Calculation tab to run estimated calculations.  The system provides default assumptions that will calculate a benefit based on your leaving the university on the current date and commencing benefit at age 65. If you plan to work another five, ten or more years, click the “add” link and change the termination date to run additional calculations.

    Further details are provided in the Milliman On-line Instructions

  • When can I receive my retirement benefits?
  • Because this is a retirement plan--and its purpose is to provide income after your working career has ended--the money in your account will stay in the plan and earn interest until you reach normal or early retirement age. Your normal retirement date occurs when you reach age 65 and have earned three years of credited service. You may retire early, anytime after reaching age 55, if you have at least 15 years of credited service. Your benefit will be based on the value of your account balance at retirement. If you decide to work beyond age 65, your account in the plan will continue to be credited with annual university amounts and interest until your employment ends.

  • What if I leave before my retirement?
  • No benefit is payable from the Staff Retirement Plan if you leave CWRU with less than three years of credited service. If you are vested, your account will remain in the plan, be credited with annual interest and become payable to you when you meet the requirement for early or normal retirement. If you die and have less than three years of credited service, no benefits will be payable from the plan. But if you have at least three years of vested service, the current value of your account balance will be paid to your beneficiary as a lump sum, with an option to elect an annuity.

  • How are my retirement benefits paid?
  • You can choose from several payment option designed to meet a variety of retirement needs. Keep in mind that if you select an annuity, the monthly amount payable will depend on the option you choose and the ages of you and your beneficiary (if any) at the time payments begin.

    1. Life Annuity. Under this option, you will receive the highest monthly income available based on the value of your account and your age when payments begin. When you die, payments stop.
    2. Joint and Survivor Annuity. A reduced monthly income is payable to you for life. When you die, all or part of your reduced benefit will continue to your beneficiary for life. You can continue 50 percent, 66 2/3 percent, 75 percent or 100 percent of your benefit to your beneficiary. Your benefit reduction will depend on the percentage you choose to continue and the ages of you and your beneficiary when benefits begin. The 50 percent joint and survivor annuity--with your spouse as beneficiary--is the automatic form of payment if you are married. Federal law requires that you must have your spouse's notarized consent if you elect another form of payment or name someone other than your spouse as beneficiary.
    3. 5- or 10-year Certain and Life Annuity. You receive a reduced monthly benefit for life. However, if you die before receiving payments for a specified period (5 or 10 years), monthly benefits for the balance of that period will be paid to your beneficiary.
    4. Account Balance Lump Sum. The value of your plan account (or minimum benefit, if applicable) can be paid to you in a single lump sum.

  • Are my benefits affected by Social Security?
  • Staff retirement plan benefits are not affected in any way by the Social Security benefits you receive. Your Social Security benefits will be paid in addition to your plan income.

  • How should I be planning for retirement?
  • The staff retirement plan is an important part of your financial planning for retirement. It will provide a competitive, consistent benefit. People often underestimate how much they'll need to live comfortably when they retire. But it's important to think of your Staff Retirement Plan B benefit as just one part of your retirement income. In addition to contributing to your Social Security pension, CWRU offers a tax-deferred savings and investment plan that is a convenient and tax-effective way for you to save for retirement--Plan C.

  • What is Plan C?
  • Plan C is an optional, supplemental retirement plan for Plan B participants, which allows you to contribute either to a tax-deferred retirement plan with the university matching a portion of your contribution and/or to an after-tax Roth with no university match. The combination of Staff Retirement Plan B, Social Security, and your personal savings through Plan C offers you valuable benefits for meeting your needs for retirement. Further details are provided in the Staff Supplemental Retirement Plan C: Time to focus on your future document.