Refer to 29 U.S.C. 623; 29 U.S.C. 631; Labor Code 21.101
There is no mandatory retirement age for any tenured faculty.
A faculty member who has five years of Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) service credit and is at least 55 years of age or has a combination of age and service credit that equals 80 is eligible for retirement. To be eligible for the State of Texas group insurance as a retiree, a faculty member must complete ten years of service; however, the ten years can include other state service such as other community colleges, state universities, and public schools as long as the funds have not been withdrawn from the other service. Questions regarding various combinations of service should be directed to Personnel Services.
To be considered officially as an Amarillo College retiree, the faculty member must retire from Amarillo College with at least 10 years of consecutive service at Amarillo College immediately prior to retirement. For those faculty who were employed by Texas State Technical College (TSTC) at the time of the merger, the TSTC service will count toward the required 10 years as long as there has been no break in service since the merger on September 1, 1995. Amarillo College retirees will be honored with a College-wide reception and other gratuities as determined by the College. Also, Amarillo College retirees are eligible for the tuition scholarship benefits.
A faculty member shall not be considered an Amarillo College retiree if a resignation occurs prior to meeting the above eligibility rules or if the faculty member is otherwise eligible but continues elsewhere in public higher education in Texas.
Although the Board policy requires at least a two week notice of retirement or resignation, it is advised to give the department a written notice one semester prior to separation. This allows for a smoother transition for the department.
The first step in retiring is for faculty who are in the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) to write a letter of intent to retire to the TRS and attach a completed TRS Form 18 at least two months and preferably three months before the anticipated retirement date. This form is available in Personnel Services or at http://www.trs.state.tx.us/ if you have the right computer software to download the form. For Optional Retirement Program participants, the faculty should contact the applicable ORP carrier and request information about options for retirement decisions.
The second step is for faculty to write a letter of retirement to the department chair. When faculty who are in TRS receive the retirement packet from TRS, it is advised that the faculty should visit with a Personnel Services representative and discuss the retirement options. The TRS normally sends a representative to Amarillo twice each year to make a pre-retirement presentation. These presentations are announced well in advance in the TRS News publication.
The third step is to contact Personnel Services about two weeks prior to retirement and visit with the Benefits Coordinator about completing the retiree insurance forms and the College exiting packet can be picked up during the same visit. Before the final College pay can be processed, the exiting packet must be completed and returned to Personnel Services. Failure to complete this process may result in problems in receiving the final pay on a timely basis.
There is no formula for calculating benefits from the Amarillo College Benefit Program since it is a defined contribution plan. A distribution of benefits to an employee/beneficiary can take place only after an employee leaves the College or dies. One does not have to take any distribution when one leaves; one may leave the funds to continue earning for the future. The IRS rules require that a minimum distribution begin in the tax year in which a person reaches age 70. A withdrawal prior to age 59 may be subject to an early withdrawal penalty. Under certain circumstances, the early withdrawal penalty may not apply. If questions arise regarding the early withdrawal penalty, an income tax advisor may neet to be consulted. The College representatives cannot give tax advice. Distributions may be made on a periodic basis such as monthy, quarterly, or semi-annually or distributions may be made on an as need basis. The faculty member decides upon when and the amount.
A retired faculty is eligible for the same medical and dental coverages as an active working employee and for the same premiums. The term-life insurance is reduced to $2,500 for retirees. There is also coordination with Medicare and certain decisions one must make regarding Medicare at age 65.
Retired faculty and their spouses may enroll in Amarillo College classes tuition free on a space available basis. Payment of laboratory fees and any other fees assessed on a class will be required. Some special classes are excluded from this benefit. The tuition scholarship policy should be reviewed for more detailed information. It can be found on the Amarillo College WEB page in the Board of Regents Manual, Section DEB.
Source: Personnel Office, September 30, 2000
Approved: August 20, 1991