April 3, 2009

Staff Retirement Incentive program enters next phase

The deadline for applying to the Staff Retirement Incentive program expired March 31. Now comes the waiting.

But not for long. First, applications will be reviewed to ensure that all who applied were eligible to do so. The university leadership will then determine how many applications it will be able to accept. Acceptances will be based on the service length of Cornell staff, union and non-professorial academic staff. Letters will be sent to all applicants no later than April 10 informing them of the status of their application and of their next steps.

Those who are accepted into the program then need to meet with their supervisor, department head and/or HR lead to work out a smooth transition to retirement, effective no later than June 30. They should also meet with retirement vendors to review their retirement accounts. They are encouraged to meet with Benefit Services staff to review benefits during retirement and to determine any additions to a Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) that can be made from the retirement lump-sum salary payment to lessen taxation, and any changes they might wish to make in the distribution of their Cornell University Retirement Program account as a result of the university's additional payments.

Contract college participants, whose applications have been accepted in the SRI, must contact Benefit Services as soon as possible, even if their retirement date is later in June. The retirement and health plan systems run by New York state have very strict rules that must be followed to take advantage of benefits in retirement.

Because of the number and complexity of some of these decisions, Benefit Services staff will be available for individual appointments and will hold special information sessions for SRI participants in the colleges and units during April.

Those who applied to the SRI but were not accepted into the program will continue in their current positions and remain eligible to retire at any time under Cornell's regular retirement programs.