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NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan and NC 403(b) Program - Supplemental Retirement Plans

 

A common retirement misconception is that your pension and social security benefits will be enough to replace at least 80 percent of your income after retirement, also known as being “retirement ready.” In reality, only about 44 percent of our state and local government employees with just those two accounts are ready for retirement. By contrast, about 71 percent of participants who are enrolled in a pension, social security and at least one supplemental retirement plan are on the right track to retirement readiness.

Image showing percentage of people who are financially prepared for retirement because they have at least one supplemental plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participant Frequently Asked Questions about the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan and NC 403(b) Program

What retirement plans are available from the North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans?

What retirement plans are available from the North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans?

The North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans consist of the NC 401(k) Plan, the NC 457 Plan, and the NC 403(b) Program. The NC 401(k) Plan is a tax-qualified, defined contribution plan under Section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code. The NC 457 Plan is an eligible defined contribution plan under Section 457(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. The NC 401(k) Plan and the NC 457 Plan are single plans that are sponsored by the State of North Carolina and that have multiple participating employers. The NC 403(b) Program allows school districts and community colleges, as 403(b) plan sponsors, to utilize the investments and recordkeeping services offered by the program. The NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans and the NC 403(b) Program are administered by the Department of State Treasurer and the Supplemental Retirement Board of Trustees.

For additional information, please refer to the Plan Comparison Chart and the summaries of the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and NC 403(b) Program.

What are the differences among the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and NC 403(b) Program?

What are the differences among the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and NC 403(b) Program?

To compare the plans, please refer to the Plan Comparison Chart and the summaries of the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and NC 403(b) Program.

How do I enroll in the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, or NC 403(b) Program?

How do I enroll in the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, or NC 403(b) Program?

If you are a state employee who uses the Integrated HR/Payroll System (BEACON), you can enroll online. All employees, including state employees who do not use BEACON and local governmental employees, can print, complete, and mail in an Enrollment Form from the Get Forms section of ncplans.prudential.com. You can also enroll in the plans or get further information and assistance by contacting Prudential Retirement’s Participant Service Center at (866) NCPlans (866-627-5267). 

Will my employer match my contribution?

Will my employer match my contribution?

Some employers offer an additional contribution or match. To find out if your employer offers a match or other contribution, contact your Human Resources/Benefits representative.
 

What investment options are offered by the plans?

What investment options are offered by the plans?

The North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans offer a range of investment options to choose from based on your retirement savings goals and comfort with risk. You can review the fund fact sheets at the Choose Investments link at ncplans.prudential.com. The Supplemental Retirement Plans also offer an optional asset allocation tool called GoalMaker® at no additional cost. GoalMaker offers three risk categories to choose from – Conservative, Moderate, and Aggressive – based on your investment objectives and risk tolerance. Each category has nine model portfolios based on your years to retirement or in retirement – and an age adjustment feature that automatically moves you along the allocations as you move to and through retirement. To learn more about this tool, contact your Retirement Education Counselor.

How do I log in to my account?

How do I log in to my account?

You can set up your online account or log in to your existing account at ncplans.prudential.com

How do I update my address, telephone number, or email address?

How do I update my address, telephone number, or email address?

You can update your personal information by:

How do I update my beneficiary?

How do I update my beneficiary?

You can update the beneficiary for your Supplemental Retirement Plans account by:

Please note that the beneficiaries you designate for the Supplemental Retirement Plans do not transfer to the North Carolina pension plan (e.g., Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System, Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System). Likewise, the beneficiaries you designate for the North Carolina pension plan do not transfer to the Supplemental Retirement Plans. You must designate these beneficiaries separately.

How do I change the amount of my contributions?

How do I change the amount of my contributions?

You can change the amount of your contributions by: 

How do I change my investment choices?

How do I change my investment choices?

You can change your investment choices by:

Who sponsors and administers the plans?

Who sponsors and administers the plans?

The NC 401(k) Plan and the NC 457 Plan are single plans that are sponsored by the State of North Carolina and that have multiple participating employers. The NC 403(b) Program allows school districts and community colleges, as 403(b) plan sponsors, to utilize the investments and recordkeeping services offered by the program. The NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans and the NC 403(b) Program are administered by the Department of State Treasurer and the Supplemental Retirement Board of Trustees.

What is Prudential’s role with the plans?

What is Prudential’s role with the plans?

Prudential Retirement has been hired by the Department of State Treasurer and the Supplemental Retirement Board of Trustees to provide the recordkeeping and communications services for the NC Supplemental Retirement Plans. These services include hosting the plans’ participant website, providing account statements, accepting and processing contributions from your employer, and processing distributions, hardship withdrawals, and loans. The recordkeeping and communications services contract is awarded through a competitive bid process. Prudential Retirement has served in this role since 2003 for the NC 401(k) Plan, since 2008 for the NC 457 Plan, and since 2017 for the NC 403(b) Program.

How do I find out about Board meetings?

How do I find out about Board meetings?

You can learn more about upcoming meetings and review materials from past meetings on our website. The agenda and meeting materials for an upcoming meeting are usually posted at least one week prior to the meeting. Board meetings are open to the public. You can attend a meeting in person at the Department of State Treasurer’s office at 3200 Atlantic Avenue in Raleigh or by calling in to the conference line published in the agenda.

Where can I get copies of the plans’ governing documents?

Where can I get copies of the plans’ governing documents?

View, print, and download all the Supplemental Retirement Plans’ governing documents, including plan documents and policies, from our website.
 

How do I get information on domestic relations orders?

How do I get information on domestic relations orders?

For information on the domestic relations orders for the NC 401(k) Plan or NC 457 Plan, visit our website. The website includes model orders for the NC 401(k) Plan and NC 457 Plan, as well as a guide to domestic relations orders. Domestic relations orders are required to separate an account for a non-participant ex-spouse or other alternate payee. Orders should be sent to Prudential Retirement by fax to (866) 439-8602 or by mail to Prudential Retirement, Attention: [Insert name of plan], P.O. Box 5340, Scranton, PA 18505.

For information on domestic relations orders for the NC 403(b) Program, please contact the school district or community college that sponsors the 403(b) plan.

How do I get information on taking a loan from my plan account?

How do I get information on taking a loan from my plan account?

For the NC 401(k) Plan and NC 457 Plan, please refer to the loan policy, and the plan documents for the NC 401(k) Plan and the NC 457 Plan. Copies of these documents are posted on myncretirement.com with the plan’s governing documents. Only one loan is allowed from each plan at any time, and you must be actively employed by an employer who participates in the plan. Payments are made by payroll deduction, if available. Other restrictions apply. Contact Prudential Retirement at (866) NCPlans (866-627-5267) for additional information or to initiate a loan. You can also initiate a loan online by logging in to your account.

For the NC 403(b) Program, loan availability and approval are determined by the school district or community college that sponsors your 403(b) plan. Contact your Human Resources/Benefits representative for further information.

How do I get information on taking a hardship distribution from my plan account?

How do I get information on taking a hardship distribution from my plan account?

Limitations and other information on hardship withdrawals are available in the plan documents for the NC 401(k) Plan and the NC 457 Plan. Copies of these documents are posted on myncretirement.com with the plan’s governing documents.

You can get additional information and request a hardship distribution by: 

  • Logging in to your account.at ncplans.prudential.com and going to the Manage Account section;
  • Printing, completing, and mailing in a Request for Hardship Form (NC 401(k) Plan and NC 403(b) Program) or a Request for Unforeseen Emergency Form (NC 457 Plan) from the from the Get Forms section of ncplans.prudential.com; or
  • Calling the Prudential Member Services Center at (866) NCPlans (866-627-5267).
What are my distribution options if I leave my employer?

What are my distribution options if I leave my employer?

If you retire or otherwise leave your current employer, you are permitted to leave your assets in the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and (depending upon the terms of your employer’s 403(b) plan document) NC 403(b) Program until such time that you are required to begin taking distributions pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code. However, upon termination of your current employment, you have the option to withdraw part or all of your assets to the extent permitted by the Internal Revenue Code and the plan documents for the NC 401(k) Plan and the NC 457 Plan, and your employer’s 403(b) plan. The distribution options are summarized in the Plan Comparison Chart, although your options in the NC 403(b) Program may vary depending on the provisions of the plan document used by your employer.

Note: The NC 401(k) Plan and the NC 457 Plan are single plans that are sponsored by the State of North Carolina with multiple participating employers; therefore, participation in the NC 401(k) Plan or the NC 457 Plan is not terminated solely because a participant terminates employment with one participating employer and begins employment with another participating employer. If you leave one participating employer for another, then you remain an active employee under the NC 401(k) Plan or NC 457 Plan, as applicable, and your distribution options are limited to those of an active employee.

Note: Your employer serves as the plan sponsor for your 403(b) plan.

Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?

Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?

For questions or further information, you can:

Employer Frequently Asked Questions about the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan and NC 403(b) Program

What retirement plans are available from the North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans?

What retirement plans are available from the North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans?

The North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans consist of the NC 401(k) Plan (Supplemental Retirement Income Plan of North Carolina), the NC 457 Plan (North Carolina Public Employee Deferred Compensation Plan), and the NC 403(b) Program (North Carolina Public School Teachers’ and Professional Educators’ Investment Plan).

The NC 401(k) Plan is a tax-qualified, defined contribution plan under Section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code. The NC 457 Plan is an eligible defined contribution plan under Section 457(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. The NC 401(k) Plan and the NC 457 Plan are single plans that are sponsored by the State of North Carolina and that have multiple participating employers. The NC 403(b) Program allows school districts and community colleges, as 403(b) plan sponsors, to utilize the investments and recordkeeping services offered by the program. The NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans and the NC 403(b) Program are administered by the Department of State Treasurer and the Supplemental Retirement Board of Trustees.

For additional information, please refer to the Plan Comparison Chart and the summaries of the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and NC 403(b) Program.

What are the differences among the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and NC 403(b) Program?

What are the differences among the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and NC 403(b) Program?

To compare the plans, please refer to the Plan Comparison Chart and the summaries of the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and NC 403(b) Program.

From an employer’s compliance perspective, there are differences among the plans in what is considered compensation (please see FAQ below regarding what is considered compensation) and what types of employer contributions are permitted or required (see FAQs below about contributions to employees' accounts). In addition, the NC 401(k) Plan and the NC 457 Plan are state-sponsored plans that are administered by the Department of State Treasurer and the Supplemental Retirement Board of Trustees. In contrast, while the services offered through the NC 403(b) Program, including investments and recordkeeping, are administered by the Department of State Treasurer and the Supplemental Retirement Board of Trustees, the school districts and community colleges are the sponsors of their 403(b) plans.

If you have questions about the plans, you can:

Who sponsors and administers the plans?

Who sponsors and administers the plans?

The NC 401(k) Plan and the NC 457 Plan are single plans that are sponsored by the State of North Carolina and that have multiple participating employers. The NC 403(b) Program allows school districts and community colleges, as 403(b) plan sponsors, to utilize the investments and recordkeeping services offered by the program. The NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans and the NC 403(b) Program are administered by the Department of State Treasurer and the Supplemental Retirement Board of Trustees.

What is Prudential’s role with the plans?

What is Prudential’s role with the plans?

Prudential Retirement has been hired by the Department of State Treasurer and the Supplemental Retirement Board of Trustees to provide the communications and recordkeeping services for the NC Supplemental Retirement Plans. These services include hosting the plans’ participant website and the Plan Sponsor Website, providing account statements to participants, accepting and processing contributions from employers, and processing distributions, hardship withdrawals, and loans. The communication and recordkeeping services contract is awarded through a competitive bid process. Prudential Retirement has served in this role since 2003 for the NC 401(k) Plan, since 2008 for the NC 457 Plan, and since 2017 for the NC 403(b) Program.

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

As a participating employer in the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and/or NC 403(b) Program, your responsibilities include:

  • Notifying Prudential Retirement if a participant is no longer employed by you;
  • Receiving your employees’ deferral elections and loan repayment directions as provided to you by Prudential retirement;
  • Properly processing and withholding these amounts from your employees’ pay as soon as administratively practicable;
  • Remitting the correct deferral and loan repayment amounts from your employees’ pay to Prudential Retirement as soon as administratively practicable; and
  • Remitting the correct employer contributions to Prudential Retirement as soon as administratively practicable. If you employ law enforcement officers who are subject to N.C.G.S. § 143-166.30(e) or 143-166.50(e), you are required to remit five percent of each officers’ compensation as an employer contribution.

If you participate in the NC 403(b) Program, then you are the sponsor of your 403(b) plan and therefore have additional responsibilities, including the administration of domestic relations orders and loans. Please refer to the plan document for your 403(b) plan.

What information is available on the Plan Sponsor Website?

What information is available on the Plan Sponsor Website?

The Plan Sponsor Website gives you access to information that is important for helping you to fulfill your obligations as a participating employer in the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and/or NC 403(b) Program. The information on the Plan Sponsor Website includes employee deferral amounts (including updates), loan repayment amounts (including updates), loan starts and stops, and aggregate statistics on your plan participants. You should check the Plan Sponsor Website at least two days prior to each pay cycle.

You can log in to the Plan Sponsor Website here.  If you have questions or require training on the Plan Sponsor Website, please contact the Prudential Member Services Center at (866) NCPlans (866-627-5267) or your Retirement Education Counselor.

How do I log in to the Plan Sponsor Website?

How do I log in to the Plan Sponsor Website?

You can log in to the Plan Sponsor Website here.

How do I contribute to my employees’ accounts?

How do I contribute to my employees’ accounts?

Employer contributions can be valuable incentives to offer your employees for both retention and recognition. To establish an employer contribution program for your employees in the NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan, and/or NC 403(b) Program, please contact the Prudential Member Services Center at (866) NCPlans (866-627-5267) or your Retirement Education Counselor. Employer contributions are often in the form of a certain percentage of employees’ compensation or a match of employees’ contributions. Restrictions apply to employer contributions, including the restrictions in Section 3.02 of the plan document for the NC 401(k) Plan, which is posted on myncretirement.com with the plan’s governing documents.

What contributions are employers required to provide to law enforcement officers?

What contributions are employers required to provide to law enforcement officers?

State law requires that state and local governmental employers of law enforcement officers (LEOs) contribute five percent (5%) of each LEO’s compensation to the NC 401(k) Plan for their benefit. This employer contribution is required regardless of whether a LEO also contributes to the NC 401(k) Plan. 

In addition, LEOs have a portion of court costs contributed to their NC 401(k) Plan accounts.

See N.C.G.S. §§ 143-166.30(e) (state LEOS) and 143-166.50(e) (local LEOs).

What is considered “compensation” that can be contributed to each of the plans?

What is considered “compensation” that can be contributed to each of the plans?

NC 401(k) Plan

(Note: Definition of “Compensation” from the plan document for the NC 401(k) Plan.)

“Compensation” means all salaries and wages prior to any reduction pursuant to Sections 125, 132(f), 401(k), 403(b), 414(h)(2), and 457 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), not including any terminal payments for unused sick leave derived from public funds, which are earned by a Member while an Employee of an Employer. Compensation shall not include any payment, as determined by the Board of Trustees, for the reimbursement of expenses or payments for housing or any other allowances whether or not classified as salary and wages. However, compensation for a plan year shall not exceed the annual dollar limit.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, effective as of January 1, 2004, with respect to a member who is a member of the NC General Assembly contributing to the Legislative Retirement System, “compensation” means salary and expense allowance paid to a member for service as a legislator in the North Carolina General Assembly, exclusive of travel and per diem. Notwithstanding the foregoing, effective January 1, 2009, compensation shall include differential wage payments within the meaning of Section 3401(h) of the IRC.

NC 457 Plan

(Note: Definition of “Includible Compensation” from the plan document for the NC 457 Plan.)

The information required to be reported under Code §§ 6041, 6051, and 6052 (i.e., “Wages, Tips and other Compensation” on Form W-2), as modified by Code § 415(c)(3) and the Treasury Regulations and IRS guidance thereunder, and to include post-severance payments as defined by the final Treasury Regulations under Code § 415 and as may be deferred and treated as deemed compensation under Code § 415. Pursuant to the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008, amounts paid as differential military pay are included in the Code definition of includible compensation. Includible Compensation does not include amounts treated as “deemed 125 compensation” because of an Employer’s requirement that its Employees participate in an Employer-sponsored health insurance program unless they state that they are provided health care coverage elsewhere.

NC 403(b) Program

(Note: Definition of “Benefitable Compensation” from the adoption agreement. This definition applies only to the extent that an employer uses the plan document offered through the NC 403(b) Program.)

“Benefitable Compensation” means all cash compensation for services to the employer, including salary, wages, fees, commissions, bonuses and overtime pay, that is includible in the employee’s gross income for the calendar year and amounts that would be cash compensation includible in gross income but for a reduction election under a cafeteria plan, a qualified transportation fringe benefit plan, a 401(k) plan, a 403(b) plan, or a 457(b) plan, subject to the following elections by the employer, as indicated on the employer’s adoption agreement.

In addition, the following items are included to the extent elected by an Employer:

  • Regular pay paid after severance from employment to the extent permitted under the IRC;
  • Leave cashouts to the extent permitted under the IRC; and
  • Other items specified by the Employer.

In addition, the following items are excluded to the extent elected by the Employer:

  • Amounts classified as overtime by the employer; 
  • Amounts classified as bonuses by the employer; and
  • Other items specified by the employer.
How do my employees make changes to their contributions?

How do my employees make changes to their contributions?

Your employees can change the amount of their contributions by: 

Please do not accept contribution changes directly from your employees. Instead, please direct them one of the three options above.

A great way to have their contribution amounts increase automatically is with the Contribution Accelerator. This tool, if adopted by you, allows your employees to elect to have their payroll deductions automatically increase, at their preferred percentage, every year up to eight percent (8%) of their paycheck. The election can be turned off at any time and is not required. To learn more about Contribution Accelerator, contact your Retirement Education Counselor.

How do I find out about Board meetings?

How do I find out about Board meetings?

You can learn more about upcoming meetings and review materials from past meetings on our website. The agenda and meeting materials for an upcoming meeting are usually posted at least one week prior to the meeting. Board meetings are open to the public. You can attend a meeting in person at the Department of State Treasurer’s office at 3200 Atlantic Avenue in Raleigh or by calling the conference line published in the agenda.

Where can I get copies of the plans’ governing documents?

Where can I get copies of the plans’ governing documents?

View, print, and download all the Supplemental Retirement Plans’ governing documents, including plan documents and policies, on our website.

Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?

Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?

For questions or further information, you can: