Virginia Commonwealth University

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Planning resources

When planning for your retirement, there are many aspects to consider. Retirement income, health and life insurance are just some of these topics. When the time comes, contact VCU Benefits at or (804) 827-1723 at least 90 days prior to your retirement date so you can arrange to complete all of your retirement paperwork. This action will help ensure your retirement check and related benefits will not be delayed.

For more information, consult the following topics:

Retirement income
Retiree health insurance
Retiree health care credit
Retiree life insurance
Long-term care insurance
Retirement forms
Retirement tools
Tax-deferred annuity (TDA) program and cash match plan
Social Security
Other retirement resources

Retirement income

Virginia Retirement System (VRS) members can receive a monthly income benefit for life during retirement. A number of payment options are available, including survivor benefits and PLOP (Partial Lump-Sum Option Payment). VRS provides a comprehensive pre-retirement planning Web page that allows you to calculate your own estimated VRS benefit and obtain information on your retirement options and purchasing service.

See also the VRS Member Handbook.

VCU Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) faculty participants obtain their retirement distributions from their chosen retirement vendors. A variety of distribution options are available, ranging from annuities or systematic withdrawals, to lump-sum distributions. However, faculty must start an ongoing periodic annuity or withdrawal for life to be considered retired from the university and eligible to receive retiree health care coverage. Distributions are also subject to federal and state taxes and possibly a 10 percent penalty, depending on age at time of distribution and method of distribution.

ORP faculty should contact a retirement counselor with their respective ORP vendor.

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Retiree health insurance

Faculty and staff who immediately begin receiving a retirement income from either the VRS or the ORP, as applicable when they leave the university, may also apply for coverage under the state retiree health insurance program. Application for retiree health is required within 31 days of retirement.

See also Comprehensive Overview of Retiree Health Options.

Note: Health care costs may fluctuate from year to year. Anticipate possible increases when planning your retirement.

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Retiree health care credit

Faculty and staff with 15 or more years of state service may be eligible for the state’s retiree health credit. The health credit is designed to help offset the cost of retiree health care.

Read more about the retiree health care credit on the VRS website.

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Retiree life insurance

To be eligible for retiree life insurance, you must meet minimum age and state service requirements, as indicated below:

  • VRS, VaLORS and ORP Plan 1 members (retirement plan membership date prior to July 1, 2010) must be at least age 50 with 10 years of state service or age 55 with five years of state service.
  • VRS, VaLORS and ORP Plan 2 members (retirement plan membership date July 1, 2010 or later) must be at least age 60 with 5 years of state service, or the sum of your age and years of state service must equal 90.

The value of your retiree life insurance is either your current basic life insurance amount at retirement or two times your highest annual base state salary if you have 20 or more years of state service; and it reduces by 25 percent each year on January 1, beginning after the first full year of retirement. Once your basic life insurance reaches 25% of its value, there are no further reductions.

  • Retiree life insurance is administered by VRS and is automatically provided to VRS and VaLORS retirees.
  • Retiree life insurance is not automatically provided to ORP retirees. They must obtain written certification from VCU Human Resources (on VRS Form 65-D) and return the completed form to VRS within 15 days of retirement to obtain retiree life insurance coverage; coverage for ORP retirees is not available if this requirement is not met. 

Click here to view more information about basic life insurance.

If you have participated in optional life insurance for a minimum of 60 months at the time you retire, you may retain a portion of this coverage in retirement. The coverage value reduces at specified ages and terminates at age 80. To retain your coverage in retirement, complete the retiree continuation election form (VRS from 39-R pdf icon).

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Long-term care insurance

If you retire from a VSDP-covered position and wish to retain your VSDP long-term care coverage, you may do so by completing the election form (VRS-170 pdf icon) and returning the completed from to the carrier within 31 days of leaving your covered position.

If you currently participate in the Commonwealth of Virginia's voluntary long-term care insurance program, contact Genworth, the plan provider, before you retire to find out how to continue this insurance coverage after retirement.

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Retirement forms

Click here for the most current versions from VRS.

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Retirement tools

Click here for more information.

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Tax-deferred annuity (TDA) program and cash match plan

Visit the TDA page for your options upon retirement.

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Social Security

For information pertaining to Social Security, visit the Social Security Administration website.

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Other retirement resources

VCU retiree program

Our interest in faculty and staff doesn't end upon their retirement from VCU. The VCU retirement connection program and the VCU retiree roster offer retired faculty and staff an opportunity to stay involved by filling short-term vacancies at the university. 

For more information on VCU’s retiree program, click here.

VCU Retired Faculty Council

For more information on the VCU Retired Faculty Council, click here.  

Retirement checklist

Step 1

Step 2

  • Choose a retirement date
  • Gather important documents
    • Birth/marriage/divorce certificates, as applicable, for you and your spouse
    • Beneficiary(ies) Social Security number(s) and birth date(s)
    • Payroll and banking information
    • Federal and state tax information
  • Review your retirement statements
    • Virginia Retirement System (VRS) or Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), as applicable
    • Annual Social Security benefit estimate
  • Review your retirement healthcare options
    • Contact the Social Security Administration about benefits and Medicare eligibility information
    • Consider the feasibility of coverage on your spouse’s benefit/pension plan
  • Review your life insurance and estate planning (will, living will, durable power of attorney) needs 

Step 3

  • Get your finances in order
    • Review financial goals
    • Obtain financial and legal advice
    • Adjust savings and investments
    • Reduce debt
    • Consider your financial status if you get divorced or if your spouse dies
    • Factor in costs to maintain professional memberships in retirement
    • Prepare a retirement budget

Step 4

  • Calculate your estimated retirement benefits
  • Attend a pre-retirement seminar, if available
  • Schedule a retirement counseling session with a VCU Benefits representative. Contact VCU Benefits at or (804) 827-1723.  

Step 5

  • Enjoy your retirement!


Retirement presentations

For additional questions

If you have questions or you need further assistance with your retirement benefits, contact VCU Benefits at or (804) 827-1723.