Benefits and Services

Credit Union

The Texas Tech Federal Credit Union, operating under charter from the federal government, is an employee-owned cooperative association established to provide checking, savings, and loans to employees of Texas Tech University, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, UMC, and Lubbock Christian University. Any employee may establish membership with a $25 minimum deposit and a $5 fee. TTFCU offers new and used vehicle loans, home equity loans, signature loans, MasterCard and Visa credit cards, among other types of loans. Interest rates are currently set by the Board of Directors monthly. Officers and employees of the Credit Union are bonded, and members' savings are federally insured against loss up to $100,000. The Credit Union offers direct deposit and payroll deduction and has paid above-average dividends on savings and checking in past years.

Deferred Compensation and Annuities

A regular employee of the University is eligible to set aside part of present salary, up to certain limits, without paying current income tax on that portion. This income tax deferment is available under the Tax Sheltered Annuity Program and the Deferred Compensation Program. Participation in these programs is voluntary, and an employee may elect to participate in either or both programs. These programs are offered as a supplement to the retirement benefits provided by the Teacher Retirement System or the Optional Retirement Program. Laws effective January 1, 1993, mandate a 20 percent withholding for federal income taxes upon the lump sum payment of funds from a retirement account to the employee.

Tax Sheltered Annuity Program

Under the Tax Sheltered Annuity Program, an employee may enter into an agreement with the University to reduce current earnings, up to specified limits, and to apply the proceeds of such reduction to the purchase of fixed annuity, variable annuity, custodial, noncustodial, or mutual funds accounts with carriers as approved by the University.

Under this program, the employee owns all rights to the benefits of the annuity plan; however, participants may not make withdrawals prior to age 59 1/2 from Tax Sheltered Annuity accumulations except on account of separation from service, hardship, death, or disability. Contributions made under the Tax Sheltered Annuity Program which are within the prescribed limits, and earnings of the investment, are taxable in the year withdrawn and may be subject to a tax penalty for early withdrawal. The tax aspects of the Tax Sheltered Annuity Program are governed by Sections 403(b) and 415 of the Internal Revenue Code which Congress amended under Public Law 87-370 and 93-406 to make these tax benefits available to employees in educational institutions. (OP 70.09)

Deferred Compensation Program

The Deferred Compensation Program is available for regular employees on a voluntary basis. The maximum amount which can be deferred under the Deferred Compensation Program, combined with all other tax sheltering, is limited to 25 percent of taxable compensation or $8,000, whichever is smaller, per calendar year. Participants must surrender all rights to any portion of their contributions or the earnings on those contributions until termination of state employment. Upon termination, an employee must file a Distribution Plan with the State Comptroller (Plan Administrator) within 50 days after termination or the state will instruct the vendor to issue an immediate lump-sum payment, minus withholding tax. The Distribution Plan must elect the beginning date of the distribution, that date being irrevocable, and the method of payment. The employee may elect immediate distribution upon separation, postpone receipt of funds until age 701/2, or begin payment of funds any time between termination and age 701/2. The employee may elect any manner of payment allowed by the vendor. The manner of distribution may be changed if the State Comptroller is notified 30 days before the distribution is to begin.

An employee electing to participate in the Deferred Compensation Program may select from a number of fixed annuities, variable annuities, mutual fund contracts, and life insurance policies sold by insurance companies authorized to do business in Texas, and approved investment contracts sold by banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions doing business in Texas. (OP 70.04)

Holidays

The Texas Legislature sets the number of holidays to be observed each year by state employees. The University observes the same number of holidays as other state agencies. The holiday schedule is adjusted each year by the Board of Regents to permit efficient academic scheduling.

Individual Insurance Plans and Reimbursement Accounts

Insurance benefits offer valuable financial protection for employees of Texas Tech University. It is important to make sure that employees have the level of coverage to meet their specific needs. To help, the University benefits program automatically provides a basic plan of core coverage at no cost to the employee. The basic plan includes fully paid employee medical coverage through HealthSelect, $5,000 term life insurance, and $5,000 accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage.

Several optional coverages are available in addition to the basic package, such as dental, term life, accidental death and dismemberment, short term disability, and long term disability insurance programs to help meet different needs. A new employee has up to 30 days in which to elect optional coverages without providing evidence of insurability. Premiums are payroll deductible.

Employees and their qualified beneficiaries and/or dependents covered under the group medical and dental plans have a right to elect to continue their coverage for a specified number of months under the plan if their coverage would otherwise end because of certain "qualifying events." Those events include the employee's death or other voluntary or involuntary termination of employment, reduction of hours of employment, divorce or legal separation, and entitlement to Medicare benefits. Also, dependent children who cease to be eligible may elect continuation coverage. The employee or qualified beneficiary or dependent must notify the plan administrator of a qualifying event; however, continuation coverage is provided without regard to the individual's evidence of insurability.

Health Coverage

By legislative action, each regular employee is automatically covered under this core package (medical coverage for employee through HealthSelect and $5,000 term life and $5,000 AD&D insurance) at no cost to the employee. Additional dollars are provided toward the cost of dependent (spouse and/or children) health premiums such that the employee cost is reasonable.

The State health plan, called HealthSelect, is a managed care plan providing comprehensive major medical benefits for hospital, surgical, maternity, accident, illness, and prescription drug expenses. Employees living in the Lubbock area are eligible for the HealthSelect­In-Area program provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. As an alternative to HealthSelect, an employee may enroll in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). The HMO, FirstCare, is a prepaid health care plan that provides comprehensive health care services by approved physicians in specific service areas including Lubbock. HMO participants and covered dependents must permanently reside within the approved service area.

When an employee is enrolled in the health coverage, additional coverage options are available, and premiums are payroll deductible.

Optional Dental Coverage

Regular employees have a choice of two dental plans, both provided through American Dental Corporationthe Dental Maintenance Plan and the Dental Indemnity Plan.

The Dental Maintenance Plan provides dental coverage to eligible individuals through a network of participating private practice dentists, with no deductibles and no claim forms. This plan offers free cleanings and orthodontia coverage for children and adults. The dental maintenance plan has no preexisting condition exclusion; however, the plan will not cover "work in progress."

The Dental Indemnity Plan does not restrict the dentists an individual can use, but it does limit the coverage based on years of participation in dental coverage: Year 1coverage for preventive care and fillings only; Year 2add coverage for major restorative procedures; Year 3add coverage for orthodontia (for eligible members).

Optional Term Life with Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Coverage

A regular employee may elect term life coverage with AD&D with options of one, two, three, or four times annual salary not to exceed $400,000 (three or four times salary requires evidence of insurability).

Dependent Term Life with AD&D Coverage

A regular employee may elect $5,000 term life with $5,000 AD&D for all eligible dependents (spouse and/or children). Benefits are payable to employee.

Voluntary AD&D Coverage

A regular employee may elect additional voluntary accidental death and dismemberment coverage between $10,000 and $200,000, in increments of $5,000. This plan also provides an option for dependent coverage based on percentage of employee's coverage.

Short Term (STD) and Long-Term (LTD) Disability Coverage

A regular employee may elect STD and/or LTD to provide income replacement upon becoming totally disabled and unable to work. STD and LTD benefit payments are offset by any disability benefits received from other sources (such as Social Security, Workers' Compensation, and retirement plan disability benefits).

When combined with other disability benefits, the STD plan replaces 70 percent of pay up to a maximum monthly benefit of $2,100. Regardless of disability payments from other sources, the minimum monthly STD benefit is 10 percent of insured salary. Payments can begin after 30 days or after sick leave is exhausted (whichever occurs later) and can continue up to five months.

LTD coverage replaces up to 70 percent of salary up to a maximum monthly benefit of $7,000. The minimum monthly LTD benefit is 10 percent of insured salary. Payments can begin after 90 days or after sick leave is exhausted (whichever occurs later) and can continue to age 65.

Automatic Premium Conversion

Premium conversion can save money by paying insurance coverage with tax-free dollars. This prevents an employee from adding, dropping, increasing, or decreasing any group insurance coverages during the plan unless a qualifying event occurs. Premium conversion will remain in effect until the employee applies in writing to change it. Premiums for optional group coverages except dependent term life will be automatically deducted from gross pay before federal income and Social Security taxes are calculated. The result is that employees save money on taxes and receive more take-home pay.

An employee may elect not to participate in this plan by checking the appropriate box on enrollment form.

Reimbursement Accounts

The TexFlex Health Care Reimbursement Account (HCRA) and Dependent Care Reimbursement Account (DCRA) allow an employee to pay out-of-pocket eligible expenses with tax-free dollars. "Reimbursement" accounts allow an employee to send in claims for expenses that have been incurred while covered during that plan year. HCRA rules require that the employee has already paid the expenses. Reimbursement accounts, by federal law, have a "use it or lose it" provision which necessitates caution. The key to getting the most tax savings from reimbursement accounts is careful planning. The administrative fee is $3 per month per account, pre-tax ($6 per month if enrolled in both HCRA and DCRA).

Health Care Reimbursement Account (HCRA)

A regular employee may deposit between $15 and $200 a month into the HCRA after six months of service. Employees should deposit only enough to cover expenses that are likely to be incurred during the year. Employees will be reimbursed from their account with tax-free dollars for expenses that they have already paid. Health care providers cannot be paid directly from the HCRA. Federal law does not allow money remaining in the account to be returned to the employee or carried over to the next plan year. Any money left over after the grace period at the end of the plan year must be forfeited. The payroll deduction amount remains the same for the whole year. An employee may not decrease the amount or stop the deduction even if employment is terminated. If a qualified change in family status occurs, an employee may increase but not decrease the deposits. Thus, the University recommends employees exercise caution before electing this plan.

Dependent Care Reimbursement Account (DCRA)

A regular employee may deposit between $15 and $416 a month (less under certain circumstances) into the DCRA for expenses incurred to allow the employee, and spouse if married, to work or for spouse to attend school full-time. Reimbursements from tax-free dollars will be issued when claims are filed for expenses incurred while coverage is in force during that plan year. Dependent care providers can be paid directly from the DCRA. Employees should deposit only enough to cover planned expenses as federal law does not allow money remaining in the account to be returned to the employee or carried over to the next plan year. Any money left over after the grace period must be forfeited. The payroll deduction cannot be changed during the plan year unless there is a qualified family status change. Contributions stop when employment stops. In some instances, an employee would receive a greater benefit through the tax credit offered by the federal government. Employees are encouraged to weigh the advantages and disadvantages carefully before electing this plan.

Institutional Insurance Plans

Workers' Compensation

Each employee on the payroll of the University is covered by the State Employees-Workers' Compensation Insurance Program. This insurance coverage is administered by the State Employees-Workers' Compensation Division of the Attorney General's Office. For additional information, see OP 70.13, Workers' Compensation Insurance, and OP 70.01, Leaves of Absence.

Automobile Liability

The University maintains an automobile liability insurance policy to cover each employee required to operate University-owned vehicles as part of assigned duties.

Legal Liability

The Attorney General is required to undertake the defense and the State of Texas to assume the liability for damages awarded against any University employee arising from acts within the scope of University employment.

Unemployment Compensation

Each employee in a position not requiring student status as a condition of employment is covered by the Unemployment Compensation Insurance Program. Through the Unemployment Compensation Insurance Program, an employee may be eligible for weekly benefit payments during a period of unemployment which occurs through no fault of the employee.

An employee of the University cannot be paid unemployment compensation benefits for any week of unemployment which begins during the period between two regular academic terms, or which begins during an established vacation period or holiday recess, if the employee worked in the first of such terms, or work periods, and has a reasonable assurance to work in the second of such terms, or work periods.

Recreational Sports

The recreational facilities and programs of the University are available to faculty members who purchase a use permit from the Department of Recreational Sports. Facilities include the 131,000 square foot Student Recreation Center, the indoor-outdoor Aquatic Center, 12 lighted tennis courts, and outdoor play fields. The Student Recreation Center has 12 handball-racquetball courts, a squash court, new weight room and exercise areas, indoor archery, a fitness and wellness center, and gymnasium space for basketball, volleyball, badminton, and jogging. The Aquatic Center has a removable air-support roof that allows for outdoor swimming during the summer and fall and enclosed swimming during the winter months. Semester or season passes can be purchased.

Programs include intramural competition, adult fitness classes, and many noncredit recreational instructional classes and clinics. In addition, Recreational Sports offers swimming instruction and a Sports Skill Camp during the summer for staff members and their families on a fee basis.

Retirement

The University has no retirement age. Earliest retirement with benefits is at age 55 with at least five years of creditable service. However, employees must have ten years of creditable service in order to remain enrolled in the retiree group health insurance plan.

One year before their planned retirement date, faculty members should contact their Optional Retirement Program insurance company and make arrangements to start their annuity, or, if enrolled in the Teacher Retirement System, get Form 18 from the Benefits Office, complete it, and submit it to TRS. TRS will then send a retirement packet and report of retirement payments. At least one month prior to retirement, all employees should take their retirement forms to the Benefits Office, where necessary paperwork will be completed, including enrollment in health insurance, term life insurance, and dental insurance.

Additional steps which a faculty member should take in preparation for retirement are outlined in the Retirement Planning and Retiree's Handbook which is published by the Benefits and Retirement Committee. The handbook is available in the Benefits Office or Office of the Retired Employee Liaison Officer in Drane Hall. (OP 70.02)

Early Retirement

All full-time tenured faculty who have reached age 60 and have ten years of service creditable for retirement with either the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) or the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) are eligible to participate in this program. A faculty member who retires at age 60 must have 20 years of service creditable for retirement in order to receive full benefits from the TRS.

Persons choosing to participate in this program will relinquish tenure and will retire with an agreement for continued part-time teaching which is based on the following policies:

1.The faculty member may be employed to teach a monthly workload which is less than or equal to one-half of the workload established for full-time faculty and is for one or both of the long semesters in each academic year. At age 65 or sooner, if the participant chooses to receive Social Security payment, the teaching assignment will be reduced to one long semester unless it is otherwise mutually agreed.

2.The faculty member may be employed to teach in excess of one-half time up to full time provided that the work occurs in a fiscal year after the retiree's effective date of retirement, and the work occurs in a period designated by the retiree in advance and is no more than six consecutive months from September through June.

Complete information for early retirement with an option for part-time teaching is available in OP 32.30.

Retirement Programs

Each regular employee of the University at the time of employment is required as a condition of employment to be a member of the Teacher Retirement System. An optional retirement program, in lieu of participating in the Teacher Retirement System, is available for full-time faculty and certain executive management, professional, and administrative employees.

Teacher Retirement System

Each employee participating in the Teacher Retirement System is required to contribute a percentage of their salary. In 1996, the employee contribution is 6.4 percent. The State of Texas currently contributes 6.0 percent. These rates are subject to change each fiscal year or biennium. Employee contributions are made on a tax-deferred basis. Benefits of membership in the Teacher Retirement System include:

Retirement Annuities.Each member in the Teacher Retirement System has a vested right to a full retirement annuity at age 65 with 5 or more years of service, or age 60 with 20 or more years of service, or any time age and years of service total 80, provided the employee is age 50 or older. Retirement annuities are based on the member's age, total years of creditable service, and the average salary for the highest 3 salaried years. Beginning at age 55 with 5 or more years of service, a member may apply for an early age retirement benefit; however, a member must have 10 years of service to stay in the health insurance program after retirement.

Disability Benefits.When a member becomes totally and permanently disabled, disability benefits are available based upon the length of service and the salary of the member.

Death Benefits.Members are covered by death benefits beginning the first day of employment. One of the death options is a lump-sum payment equal to twice the member's current annual salary not to exceed $80,000.

Survivor Benefits.In lieu of death benefits, members with minor children have survivor benefits which can total more than $40,000.

Optional Retirement Program

Employees electing to participate in the Optional Retirement Program in lieu of participation in the Teacher Retirement System of Texas are required to contribute a percentage of their salary. The 1996 contribution is 6.65 percent. The contributions are handled through a salary reduction agreement which will make such contributions tax deferred. The State of Texas contributes a percentage to the member's Optional Retirement Program, and vesting of benefits occurs after one year and one day of participation. In 1996, the State's contribution is 7.31 percent and Texas Tech's contribution is 1.19 percent, making a total of 8.5 percent. NOTE: Employees who become eligible for ORP on September 1, 1995 and after will be provided only a 6.0 percent matching contribution.

An employee must exercise an option to participate in the Optional Retirement Program within 90 days following the date of eligibility. If no election is made within 90 days, the employee shall be deemed to have chosen membership in the Teacher Retirement System.

An employee electing to participate in the Optional Retirement Program may select from a number of fixed annuity, variable annuity, and mutual fund options offered by the several carriers authorized by the Board of Regents to offer Optional Retirement Programs to University employees.

For additional information about the Optional Retirement Program, see OP 70.07, Optional Retirement Program.

Federal Social Security Program

Each employee of the University is required to participate in the Old-Age Survivors Insurance Program. Benefits under Social Security include:

Retirement Benefits.An employee who is fully insured may receive a reduced retirement annuity at age 62. Full formula benefits are available at age 65.

Disability Benefits.An employee becoming disabled before age 65 is entitled to a disability income which is generally the same as the retirement benefit would be if 65 years of age.

Survivor Benefits.Survivor benefits are payable to a dependent spouse and/or child(ren). In addition, a lump-sum death benefit is also payable.

Insurance Benefits.Health insurance benefits are provided at age 65.

Any faculty member who has reached the age of 62 years and who teaches for only nine months out of the year may draw Social Security during the summer months for one year regardless of the amount of salary received during the nine-month session. However, such election would adversely affect subsequent Social Security benefits. The Social Security Administration will figure the effect to each individual upon request.

Ticket Privileges

AthleticsTicket Privileges

Full-time faculty and staff have special discounts in some instances when purchasing athletic tickets. Interested persons may contact the Athletic Ticket Office at the north end of Jones Stadium.

Music, Dance, Lectures, and Theatre

The School of Music presents faculty and student recitals and occasional guest performances throughout the year. The faculty and their families are invited. There is normally no admission charge.

Each year the University Center Activities Office sponsors a series of performing arts and lecture events covering wide spectrum of diverse programming. These events range from classical music, dance, and theatre to new innovative forms of performance. The speakers cover a wide range of ideas and issues. Top quality artists and expert speakers are brought in from all over the world. Most of these events are reserved seat events, so reservations for tickets should be made early.


Return to Contents Page
Page Maintained by: Cheryl Hedlund

Page Administrator: Gale Richardson

LAST UPDATE: 8-1-98