SC Supreme Court Sets State Timetable to Refund $30M to Retirees

June 2, 2006 ( - The South Carolina Supreme Court issued a July 1 deadline for the state to refund the money to about 14,000 working retirees who were forced to contribute toward retiree pension plans.

According to the Columbia State newspaper, the court said the state will have to pay back, with 6% interest, working retirees who were members of South Carolina’sTeacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) program before July 1, 2005.

The five-member court refused a request by the state that the court reverse its May 4 ruling that ordered refunding the money at a 6% rate (See SC High Court Orders Return of Contributions to Reemployed Retirees ). The new ruling by the court set a 30-day deadline, after which the rate will jump to 11.25%.

The TERI program, started in 2000, allowed state employees to retire after 25 years and then return to work for up to five years – a period in which the workers would not have to contribute to the state’s retirement system. But the General Assembly passed a law last year requiring participants to contribute 6.25% in payroll deductions toward the state’s retirement plan.

The state collected more than $30 million from those retiree workers.

A spokesperson for the State Budget and Control Board said that the state will immediately stop deducting pension contributions from the paychecks of those retired workers affected and that the money to them will likely be returned within 30 days, according to the newspaper.