Faculty Retirement Incentive Program

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Who is eligible for the Faculty Retirement Incentive Program?

Eligible tenured faculty are those who as of January 1, 2021 (i) are active tenured faculty members in good standing at Rice during the 2020-2021 academic year, (ii) are at least age 70, (iii) have at least 10 years of continuous tenured service at Rice, and (iv) are not already in the Faculty Phased Retirement Program (FPRP) or subject to an individual retirement agreement.

When can I sign up for the program?

The sign-up period for this one-time Program is November 16, 2020 through 5 p.m. central standard time, February 1, 2021

What is the deadline to sign up for the program?

Participants must sign and return the Faculty Retirement Incentive Election and Agreement by no later than 5pm central standard time on February 1, 2021 to Joan Nelson, AVP Human Resources by either mail, a return Federal Express envelope or electronically through Adobe Sign.

What are the financial benefits of participants in the program?

In exchange for agreeing to retire on June 30, 2021 and timely executing and not revoking the Faculty Retirement Incentive Election and Agreement, a participant will receive a lump-sum payment equal to 150% of his or her base FY 2021 salary in the first payroll of July 2021.

With this program, will I be eligible for emeritus status?

Faculty will be eligible to receive emeritus status at the retirement appointment level consistent with University Policy 201.

Can I return to work at Rice after I retire?

All Rice retirees may be eligible to return to Rice employment after retirement, subject to the University’s policies on retiree hiring, if there is a need for their services, including the Glasscock School. If rehired, retirees may become benefits eligible, as defined in University Policy 403.

How much tax will be withheld from the lump-sum payment?

The IRS considers a lump sum payment supplemental wages and as such requires the university to withhold 22% for federal income tax withholding. In addition, Rice will also withhold 6.2% (up to the first $142,800 in social security wages for the calendar year), 1.45% for Medicare and an additional 0.9 % for any Medicare wages greater than $200,000 during the calendar year.

What other items will be withheld from my check?

Since this check represents a lump sum retirement payout, the only withholding will be for required taxes. There will not be any withholding (or employer contribution) for retirement of any other before or after tax deductions.

Benefits

What Benefits will I receive as a Rice Retiree?

If you are currently covered under the Rice medical, dental and/or vision plans, you may continue coverage as a Rice Retiree. You will have 30 days from the date of retirement to enroll as a retiree to continue your benefits. Please contact a benefits specialist at Benefits@rice.edu for additional information about enrollment.

Do I have to enroll in Medicare Part B?

Since you are over 65, you will need to enroll in Medicare Part (B) as soon as you decide to retire. You are encouraged to apply at least three months in advance. You can apply for Medicare online, at www.ssa.gov. Rice can provide you with a Certificate of Creditable coverage, which you will need if you apply online or in person at the Social Security Office. You can email benefits@rice.edu or call our office at 713-348-6074.

What happens to my Supplemental Life, Spousal Life and Child(ren) Life Insurance and/or Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage?

You will receive forms to continue your coverage once you retire. You will receive a portability form from the Benefits Office pertaining to your supplemental life, spousal life and child life as well as Accidental Death and Dismemberment. You can decide which coverage to port when you receive the forms.

What will happen to my Flexible Spending or Health Savings Accounts?

Your flexible spending card will be inactivated on your June 30, 2021. However, you can continue to incur eligible expenses until September 15, 2021. You have until October 28, 2021 to submit claims with the “pay me back” or “pay my provider” options to WageWorks for expenses incurred by September 15, 2021. You will not have access to plan year 2022 flexible spending account elections made during annual enrollment in March of 2021.

Unlike a Medical Flexible Spending Account, Health Savings Account (HSA) funds roll over and accumulate year to year if not spent. You will take any account balances with you when you leave Rice.

Can I continue my Long-Term Care Insurance?

Your Long-Term Care coverage is portable and you can take it with you as long as you are covered at the time you retire from Rice University. The Benefits Office will send you the forms which must be completed and returned to UNUM within 30 days of your retirement date. You will need to set up a direct payment method with UNUM.

How do I contact a representative about my retirement accounts?

You can schedule a meeting with a retirement consultant by calling TIAA at 800-842-2776 or Fidelity Investments at 800-343-0860 regarding your retirement account(s).

Do I have to withdraw my retirement account with Fidelity and/or TIAA?

Rice’s 401(a) and 403(b) plans do not require you to withdraw your retirement account with Fidelity and/or TIAA, but you may be required to take mandatory required minimum distributions (RMDs) per Federal Law. Please see this article which explains it more thoroughly: https://www.fool.com/retirement/plans/401k/required-minimum-distributions/.

For the 457(b), you have some choices about how your funds are disbursed to you, but there are definite time frames and deadlines for you to make those elections. Your account balance will be distributed to you 120 days following the date you terminate employment from the University or as soon as administratively practicable thereafter (the “120-Day Default Distribution Date”) in the form of a lump sum, unless you make an election to defer the 120-Day Default Distribution Date to a later date and/or form of payment as described in in the Plan Document .

You should contact your 457(b) recordkeeper (TIAA or Fidelity) for more specifics or to obtain the necessary forms. Additionally, it is important to review your account(s) to be sure your beneficiaries are up to date. Please call the numbers above, or you can visit their website, at https://www.fidelity.com/ or www.TIAA.org.

Are my dependents still eligible for Tuition Remission?

Yes, as a Rice Retiree, your eligible dependents are still eligible for the Tuition Remission benefits. Please see http://people.rice.edu/benefits-rewards/tuition/ for more information.

Will I be eligible to receive unemployment benefits?

No, since you are voluntarily leaving Rice, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Staying Connected to the Rice Community

Are Rice Retirees issued a Rice University ID?

Yes, you may visit the Rice University Police Department (RUPD) after your retirement date to obtain a new “retiree” ID badge.

Do I retain my Rice email account as a Rice Retiree?

Yes, your Rice email will be converted to a Rice Gmail account which will allow you to continue to receive communications from the University.

When will I get my Retiree Tree?

You are eligible for a Rice Retiree Tree as long as you have 20 years of service with the University. You will be contacted once a tree is available to be named in your honor.

How do I stay involved on campus once I retire?

We encourage Rice Retirees to sign up for the all departments mailing list at: https://oit.rice.edu/guidelines-alldepts-mailing-list to stay informed of campus events.

Can I continue to be a member of the Faculty Club as a Rice Retiree?

Yes, you may access the application via this link https://facultyclub.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs3261/files/2020-01/rice-university-faculty-club-membership.pdf

Can my family and I continue to be members of the Rec Center?

Yes, you may access membership information on this link https://recreation.rice.edu/memberships

Will I have access to office space at Rice?

Rice recognizes and values the contributions of emeritus faculty and supports their ongoing scholarly and professional activity. On a space available basis, emeritus faculty may occupy shared office space when they are actively engaged in ongoing teaching, research, publication, and/or service to the University. Assignment of a private office to an emeritus professor must be approved by the Provost as an exception to policy and should be based on a level of activity comparable to that of a full-time faculty member. Deans must certify annually to the Provost that the assignment of offices to emeriti faculty in their school will meet the criteria above. The Provost may review all faculty emeritus office assignments each year.

Research Grants and Other Funding

Can I continue to serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) on research grants after I retire?

Retired faculty members are sometimes able to continue to serve as PIs on research grants. This is usually accomplished by their department initiating a request to bring them back to “active” status as a retiree with an adjunct (unpaid) research professor appointment. These appointments are of limited term. Retired faculty requesting to continue their PI status will need to apply for PI Eligibility through SPARC (https://rice.box.com/v/PIEligibilityform).

I have ongoing research grants. If I retire, what actions do I need to take?

You should contact SPARC for options. If you don’t want to continue as PI (see above), contact SPARC for options, such as naming a new PI or terminating the project. See also Faculty Departure Procedures and Checklists on the VPAA website.

Appointment Contact Information

I would like to schedule an appointment with a benefits representative or a financial counselor. Who do I contact?

Benefits benefits@rice.edu 713-348-4662
TIAA Financial Counselors www.TIAA.org 800-842-2776
Fidelity Financial Counselor https://www.fidelity.com 800-343-08/60

Important Dates for June 30,2021 Retirement

Action

Deadline

Submit signed Agreement to Human Resources - Joan Nelson Monday, February 1, 2021
Request a Certificate of Credible Coverage Thursday, April 1, 2021
Contact Social Security Administration (SSA) to enroll in Medicare Part B Friday, April 16, 2021
Contact TIAA/Fidelity to schedule a meeting with a financial consultant Friday, April 30, 2021
Retirement Date - Take a picture at RUPD for your Retiree ID card Wednesday, June 20, 2021
WageWorks Flexible Spending Account is no longer active Wednesday, June 20, 2021
Continued enrollment in Long-Term Care Insurance Friday, July 30, 2021