Voluntary Retirement Incentive Option – Policy

Voluntary Retirement Incentive (VRI) Option: An Alternative to Five-Year Partial Reemployment for Tenured Faculty Members

The Voluntary Retirement Incentive (VRI) option is an alternative retirement benefit available to eligible tenured faculty members, whereby they elect to forego their vested right to partial (40%) reemployment in exchange for a tax-free medical expense account. The faculty retiree and eligible dependents can use the fund to pay medical expenses after retirement. It is operated in accordance with rules established in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

Program Election

On an annual basis, the Provost will determine whether to offer the Voluntary Retirement Incentive (VRI) option to eligible tenured faculty members. When the availability of the VRI is announced it will include an open election period for a specified retirement period. The open election period is the only time a pre-retiree may elect to participate in the VRI for the announced retirement period. The applications of all eligible pre-retirees will be approved. If approved and upon election, the tenured faculty member will be required to enter into a written contract, which will be irrevocable after a seven-day revocation period.

Eligibility

Tenured faculty members, with full or partial tenure, who are eligible to retire under their retirement plan, qualify for partial (40%) reemployment, and have reached age 62 or greater within the VRI retirement window are considered eligible for the VRI option.

Contribution Calculation

The VEBA Medical Expense Account (MEP) will receive a one-time lump-sum contribution from the state-funded position in the school, college or campus that the tenured faculty member is vacating on retirement. The contribution will be based on the faculty member’s nine or twelve month state funded (tenure-backed) position. The contribution will amount to 25% of the five-year value of the state funded 40% reemployment. The following contribution limits will apply to 100% tenured faculty members: $25,000 is the minimum and $100,000 is the maximum. Proportional contribution limits will apply to faculty members with partial tenure (e.g., 50% tenured faculty members will have a minimum contribution of $12,500 and a maximum contribution of $50,000).

Contribution Examples

Nine-month tenured faculty member, regardless of history of summer funding:

  • Base annual salary: $90,000 ($10,000 per month)
  • Annual 40% reemployment: $36,000 ($90,000 x .40 = $36,000)
  • 5 year value of 40% reemployment: $180,000 ($36,000 x 5 = $180,000)
  • 25% of five year value: $45,000 ($180,000 x.25 = $45,000)
  • One-time lump sum contribution to VEBA: $45,000

Twelve-month 50% tenured faculty member:

  • Base annual salary: $120,000 ($10,000 per month)
  • 50% state funded salary: $60,000
  • Annual 40% reemployment: $24,000 ($60,000 x .40 = $24,000)
  • 5 year value of 40% reemployment: $120,000 ($24,000 x 5 = $120,000)
  • 25% of five year value: $30,000 ($120,000 x .25 = $30,000)
  • One-time lump sum contribution to VEBA: $30,000

VRI Option Approval

The Board of Regents approved the adoption of a Voluntary Retirement Incentive option for tenured faculty members.

Information on the VEBA (Voluntary Employee’s Beneficiary Association)

Please note that information on the VEBA is maintained by UW Benefits & WorkLife. The most recent information can be found at:

http://www.washington.edu/admin/hr/benefits/insure/retiree/veba.html

Eligible Dependents

The dependents that are eligible for medical expense payments from the plan include:

  • The retiree’s spouse
  • The retiree’s dependent children
  • The retiree’s other dependents as defined by the IRS

Unused Funds

Eligible dependents upon a retiree’s death will continue to receive medical benefits until the account is used up. If a deceased retiree has no surviving eligible dependents, any remaining funds will be forfeited and redistributed pro rata among the remaining participants from your employer.

NOTE: IRS Revenue Ruling 2006-36 does not permit the payment of benefits to non-dependent heirs in the event a deceased participant has no surviving spouse or dependent(s).

Eligible Medical Expenses

IRS-approved uses for the VEBA-MEP currently are quite broadly defined and provide access to funds for a variety of insurance premiums as well as expenses not covered by PEBB or other insurances.

Using these tax exempt monies, a VEBA-MEP could pay for some out-of-pocket health-related expenses. Examples include Medical Insurance Premiums, Drugs (prescriptions) and medical supplies, and Eyeglasses & Exams.

Questions?

Contact vri2013@uw.edu for VRI questions.

Additional Resources