National Association of State Retirement Administrators

South Carolina

The South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) administers pension benefits to nearly all employees of the state including teachers, general employees, and employees of political subdivisions who elect to participate. The Police Officers Retirement System covers police officers, and other plans exist for judges, solicitors, and members of the general assembly. New hires since 2002 may elect to participate in the State Optional Retirement System, which is a defined contribution alternative to the traditional PEBA defined benefit plan.

Authorizing Statute

Title 9 of the South Carolina Code of Laws deals with state retirement systems.

According to Section 9-1-20 of the South Carolina Code of Laws:

A retirement system is hereby established and placed under the management of the State Budget and Control Board for the purpose of providing retirement allowances and other benefits for teachers and employees of the State and political subdivisions or agencies or departments thereof. The System so created shall have the power and privileges of a corporation and shall be known as the South Carolina Retirement System, and by such name all of its business shall be transacted, all of its funds invested and all of its cash, securities and other property held.

Section 9-2-20 creates the Retirement Board.

The board shall consist of eight members appointed by the State Budget and Control Board and must be constituted as follows:

  • One member representing municipal employees;

  • One member representing county employees;

  • Three members representing state employees, one of whom must be retired and one of whom must be an active or retired law enforcement officer who is contributing to or receiving benefits from the Police Officers Retirement System. If this law enforcement member is retired, the other two members representing state employees do not have to be retired;

  • Two members representing public school teachers, one of whom must be retired;

  • One member representing the higher education teachers. The Budget and Control Board shall invite the appropriate associations, groups, and individuals to recommend persons to serve on the board.

South Carolina Police

Title 9, Section 9-11-20 establishes retirement benefits for police officers. According to the section,

(1) A retirement system is hereby created and placed under the administration of the Board to provide retirement allowances and other benefits for police officers. The System shall begin operation as of July 1, 1962. It shall have the power and privileges of a corporation and shall be known as the South Carolina Police Officers Retirement System, and by such name all of its business shall be transacted, all of its funds invested, and all of its cash, securities and other property held.

Board Composition

Plan

Board Size

Appointed

Elected

Plan Members

Ex Officio

South Carolina Retirement Systems

5

0

0

0

5

Contributions

Per the U.S. Census, in FY 2011, employer contributions to South Carolina government pension plans were 2.68 percent of all state and local government direct general spending.

Constitutional Protections

No explicit constitutional protection for public pension benefits, but courts provide protection based on impairment of contract principles if the pension statute expressly creates a binding agreement. Layman v. State, 630 S.E.2d 265 (S.C. 2006)(holding that retirement statute created binding contract). (SC CONST., Article I, §4) Source: Robert Klausner, Esq., State Constitutional Protections for Public Sector Retirement Benefits

Flag of South Carolina (September 28, 1861)

Population (2015) 4,625,364

South Carolina public pension statistics, per U.S. Census Bureau as of FY 2015 ($ in 000s)

Assets

$29,999,200

Active Members

214,713

Annuitants

149,189

Benefits Paid

$2,944,581

Employee Contributions

$826,926

Employer Contributions

$1,208,427

Systems

9

More Data