• All newly hired state, public school (kindergarten through grade 12), and higher education employees are eligible to choose between the two available plans. 
     South Carolina Retirement System  The State Optional Retirement Program
     The South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) is a defined benefit plan. In a defined benefit plan, the state bears the investment risk and provides a guaranteed monthly pension based on a statutory formula, not on your account balance. State Optional Retirement Program  (State ORP) is a defined contribution plan. In a defined contribution plan, you invest your funds within the plan’s investment choices and then bear the risk, or enjoy the benefit, based on the performance of your investments. Your retirement benefit is based on the balance in your account when you retire. 
    Effective July 1, 2017, employees will contribute a tax-deferred 9 percent of their gross pay regardless if they are enrolled in the SCRS or State ORP. Eligible employees include all permanent, full-time employees, temporary and part-time employees, and political appointees. You must select one of the two available retirement plans unless state law exempts your position. Your employer can tell you whether your position is exempt from mandatory membership.