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Division of Human Resources

Benefits Orientation for New Employees

The steps below will guide you through a process that will allow you to properly prepare for and enroll in the appropriate benefits coverage.

The following information is in preparation for employment which qualifies for full benefits eligibility and does not create a contract in the event employment in that capacity is not extended. Please refer to your UofSC Insurance Benefits Summary [pdf] for information regarding eligibility.

Congratulations, and welcome to the University of South Carolina!

Please be prepared to make your benefits selections within seven days of your start date with UofSC .

Our Two Step Enrollment Process

There are two mandatory steps that must be completed. Step 1 requires that you complete your insurance orientation by reviewing a PowerPoint presentation and filling out the appropriate forms for your selections. Step 2 requires that you review your pension options and make your retirement selection.

Step 1: Complete Your Insurance Orientation and Forms

Generally, the university requires that most benefit options be selected within 31 days following the date you begin employment. Each eligible person must submit their Notice of Election (NOE) Form [pdf] and indicate their benefit elections or their refusal of benefits.

If you do not enroll within this time, you may be able to do so within 31 days of a special eligibility situation (marriage, loss of coverage, divorce etc.) or during an open enrollment period. Open enrollment is held in October every year and coverage elected during this time will become effective January 1 of the following year.

Please review the Insurance Orientation and Education [pdf] presentation for important information that will prepare you to make the best coverage selections for your needs. You may also want to review other resources provided by PEBA to help you navigate your benefits. 

Note: If you or your eligible dependents are entitled to Medicare and are extended a right to active group coverage, you may enroll in or refuse coverage. We encourage you to contact the Medicare office at 800-633-4227 to ensure you are informed of all of your options before making your choice. If you are enrolled in PEBA's retiree insurance, and you or your covered dependents are Medicare eligible, you will be required to refuse retiree's coverage upon qualifying for active group coverage.

Insurance Forms

Once you have finished viewing the insurance orientation presentation, please complete the following forms:

Please return your paperwork to the Benefits Office, located at 1600 Hampton Street, Suite 801, Columbia, S.C. 29208.

Step 2: Review Your Pension Options and Make Your Retirement Selection

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Employees

If you are employed in a FTE position, you are required to participate in a retirement plan.

Temporary and Research Grant or Time-Limited (RG/TL) Employees

If you are employed in a RG/TL position that does not offer retirement benefits, you are required to opt out of enrolling in a pension program.

If you are employed in a RG/TL position that offers retirement benefits or a temporary position, you may choose to opt out of enrolling in a retirement plan as long as you have no funds currently on deposit in a South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) account and you are not a South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) system Teacher and Employee Retirement Incentive (TERI) participant or retiree returning to work. However, you must make this decision within 30 days of your date of hire or you will automatically default into the SCRS, and will not be able to switch.

If you already have funds on deposit in the SCRS from another employer, or if you are a PEBA system TERI participant or retiree returning to work, you are generally required to continue participation in the same retirement account and do not have the option to opt out of participation. More information can be found in the Retirement Program Guidelines for Temporary Employees [pdf].

Please note it is imperative that TERI/retiree participants accurately report their status to avoid adjustments to pay deductions in the future. Additionally, for retirees returning to work, a $10,000 earnings limitation will apply if your retirement date is January 2, 2013 or later and you were younger than age 62 (under SCRS) or age 57 (under PORS) at the date of retirement. The earnings limitation will not apply while in TERI status. Please refer to the guidelines provided on the PEBA website for further clarification.

Retirement Plans

If you participate in one of the State’s pension programs, it will require that 8.16% of your salary be deducted from your gross pay. These contributions will be made to the plan you choose: SCRS or the State Optional Retirement Plan (State ORP). If you are employed in a position that falls under the Police Officers Retirement System (PORS), you will participate in this plan and contributions will be made at the rate of 8.74%. 

Watch It’s Your Choice: SCRS or State ORP or review Select Your Retirement Plan [pdf] for detailed information about these plans and additional enrollment requirements. Visit PEBA's website to take a glance at each plan, and to see what happens if you leave the retirement system early.  

Make Your Retirement Selections

You will receive an email from PEBA Retirement System asking you make a retirement selection. Please respond promptly. If you do not select an option within 30 days of your initial date of hire, you will automatically default into the SCRS and will not be able to switch. Please note that PEBA cannot initiate this email unless they have a valid email address. Please be certain to provide one to your department so they can include it with your hiring paperwork.

For those employees who are opting for an Optional Retirement Plan (State ORP), you must also complete a vendor's enrollment form, which is obtained directly from the vendor [pdf].

If you are participating in a retirement plan, you must also complete one of the following beneficiary forms, based on your selected option:

  1. Active Member Beneficiary (Form 1102) (SCRS Pension Plan) or
  2. State ORP Beneficiary (Form 1106).

Please return your beneficiary paperwork to the Benefits Office, located at 1600 Hampton Street, Suite 801, Columbia, S.C. 29208. These forms must be notarized. For your convenience, the Benefits Office offers free notary services, but please remember that all forms must be signed at the time of notarization. 

Other UofSC Insurance Product Offerings

Discount Savings Programs

State of South Carolina employees are eligible to participate in the following discount savings programs.

  • PerksCard Program

    This program allows members to save on many everyday purchases and services from local and national vendors. Cards are distributed by UofSC’s Benefits Office and need to be registered at For more information, visit the S.C. Department of Administration’s website or contact the Benefits Office at 803-777-6650.
  • WeSave Program

    Similar to the PerksCard Program, this program provides members discounts from local members, national chains and an online mall where you can earn up to 20 percent cash back with every purchase. To take advantage of these discounts, please visit the WeSave website and create a username and password or visit the S.C. Department of Administration’s website for more information.  
  • TicketsatWork Program

    This program offers discounts, special offers and access to preferred seating and tickets to top attractions, theme parks, shows, sporting events, movie tickets, hotels and much more. To take advantage of these discounts, visit TicketsatWork, click on “Become a Member” and create a username and password using your personal email address. When prompted, enter the company code SCDSHR. For more information, please visit the S.C. Department of Administration’s website or contact TicketsatWork at 1-800-331-6483. 

Visit the benefits section of our website to learn about other family-friendly privileges and unique discount opportunities that are designed exclusively for UofSC employees.

Drug-Free Workplace

The Drug-Free Workplace policy [pdf] details the university’s guidelines and expectations regarding the abuse of drugs and alcohol in conjunction with employment at the university.