FAQs

New Hires

What is PSERS? What is Voya?

The Public School Employee Retirement System (PSERS) is a governmental, cost-sharing, multi-employer retirement plan to which the public school employers, the Commonwealth, and school employees (members) contribute. Depending on your membership class, you may have a Defined Benefit (DB) Plan, a Defined Contribution (DC) Plan, or a hybrid with both DB and DC components. PSERS is a DB plan. Voya is a retirement and insurance company that houses contributions to a DC plan.

Why am I auto-enrolled into the PSERS pension plan?

PSERS membership is mandatory for qualifying employees of Pennsylvania public school entities. Qualification is determined by employment type and the amount of service rendered during a school year (July 1 – June 30) as defined by PSERS, not the employer.

Does the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) contribute (match) to my plan?

If you are in classes TG, TH or DC, the SDP contributes to your Voya plans. The SDP does not contribute to any pension plans with PSERS. However, the SDP pays PSERS over 30% of all employees’ salary four times a year for employees to be able to have a pension plan.

How do I change my pension class enrollment?

You have 90 days from entering the plan to contact PSERS and change your membership from the default hybrid plan, Class TG, to either Class TH or Class DC. Please keep in mind that switching to Class DC means you will not have a defined benefit pension plan and that switching classes is irrevocable. If you do not switch from the default class, you will remain in Class TG as a lifetime election. If you were previously a plan member, you may not change your membership class, as it a lifetime election.

Can I waive my pension contributions?

Yes, if you are scheduled to work less than 25 hours a week or if you are hourly or per diem paid employee.

What if I see two retirement deductions?

You should only see two deductions if you are enrolled in the hybrid plans, Class TG or Class TH. Your class enrollment is outlined in the letter you get from PSERS as a new or returning member of PSERS. You can also see this information online in the link in the answer to question 7.

What if I miss a deduction or overpay a contribution?

While this is not common, missed deductions require recoupment by the Retirement department. This is to ensure all salary reportable to PSERS has been reported. This benefits the employee to ensure more is saved and more salary is considered if vested. This is in addition to your regular contribution. If too much was contributed, you will be reimbursed. You will receive an email in either instance.

How can I see the salary, days worked and how much I have saved in my pension balance?

Visit PSERS’ Member Self Service portal to review salary, days worked and pension contributions reported on your behalf. If there are any discrepancies for a specific school year on what has been reported, our office can be contacted to review. You will need your PSERS ID to register in the self-service portal which can only be obtained directly from PSERS (they are also typically on documents mailed from PSERS).

Why am I being redirected to PSERS for my specific questions about my pension?

We are not able to see balances, beneficiaries, etc. We are also not permitted to provide financial advice in deciding how and when to withdraw your pension, however, PSERS can assist with this

Can I borrow or withdraw my contributions from PSERS or Voya?

No-you must be separated from service. “Borrowing” in the form of loans is also not permitted.

Are there other ways to save?

Yes! You may open a 403b and/or 457b plan. These plans do allow for eligibility to withdraw contributions While working. The eligibility to withdraw is based upon IRS criteria and is at the discretion of the investment provider. You may also start an After-Tax Contribution (ATC) plan with Voya. Employees may not withdraw or borrow from the ATC plan while working.

 

Separating Employees

Who do I contact about separating from the School District of Philadelphia (SDP)?

Email Talent Support Services (TSS) separations@philasd.org your Retirement/Resignation Form or for questions about separating. We also encourage you to review the resignation checklist or attend TSS office hours. You may also visit https://www.philasd.org/benefits/retirement/leaving-employment/ for more information, however all separating questions should be directed to TSS.

How can I see the salary, days worked and how much I have saved in my pension balance?

Visit PSERS’ Member Self Service portal to review salary, days worked and pension contributions reported on your behalf. If there are any discrepancies for a specific school year on what has been reported, our office can be contacted to review. You will need your PSERS ID to register in the self-service portal which can only be obtained directly from PSERS (they are also typically on documents
mailed from PSERS).

Why am I being redirected to PSERS for specific questions about my pension?

While the Retirement department can give general guidelines about accessing your pension, we are not able to see balances, beneficiaries, etc. We are also not permitted to provide financial advice in deciding how and when to withdraw your pension, however, PSERS can assist with this

What if I also have a plan with Voya?

Only employees who contributed to PSERS for the first time July 1, 2019 to the present, will have a DC plan with Voya. If you are enrolled in a hybrid plan, please be sure to contact Voya to withdraw any eligible funds. Only employees who have contributed to PSERS for the first time 7/1/2019-present would be enrolled in a hybrid plan. Otherwise, you would only have a pension with PSERS.

When can I withdraw my pension?

You must be separated from employment. Once you are separated from service, it is not necessary for you to contact PSERS to inform them of your separation. This information will only be accepted coming from the SDP. We will provide your date of termination and final pay the month following all final pay has been issued from the Payroll Department. This includes but is not limited to any reserve pay (Example: Final wages given February 2019, reported to PSERS March 2019). If you are in a DC plan, PSERS will inform Voya of your termination.

How do I know if I am vested?

Contact PSERS. Eligibility to be vested means you are able to take in all that you contributed plus a monthly pension check and any contributions made to your Voya plan by the SDP if you have a DC plan. Also contact Voya if you have a DC plan.

What should I consider when separating relative to PSERS?

  • Scheduling “Exit Counseling” with a PSERS rep-this is not required but strongly encouraged
  • That PSERS will process your pension withdrawal application within 30-90 days after they receive the date of termination and final pay. However, the SDP cannot guarantee when the balance will be disbursed.
  • Eligibility for Premium Assistance
  • Health Options Program-this is an optional Medicare supplemental plan offered by PSERS
  • Contacting Benefits for a CMS form if you were eligible to, but did not enroll in Medicare because you were still working

How do I contact PSERS? How do I contact Voya?

PSERS: 1-888-773-7748
PSERS Website: https://www.psers.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx#
PSERS Member Self Service: https://psersprodmss.v3locity.com/login/home

Voya: 1-833-432-6627
Voya Website/Self Service: https://shorturl.at/gjstW