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A flexible, low-cost alternative to defined benefit plans.

Introducing the New York State
Voluntary Defined Contribution Program

NYS agencies are required to offer the Voluntary Defined Contribution (VDC) program to eligible employees. Find out how to implement the VDC program at your agency.


The Benefits of the Voluntary Defined Contribution Program

It's the law.

All New York State agencies are required to offer the VDC program to eligible employees.

It's flexible.

A VDC plan can move to different agencies with employees, who can take cash withdrawals and name beneficiaries. Compare the VDC program to defined benefit plans.

It costs less.

The VDC program costs significantly less from the agency’s perspective than DB plans. For example, if an agency employee with an annual salary rate of pay of $100,000 has a VDC plan, your agency could potentially save $75,000 over 10 years.

It vests rapidly.

Employees are fully vested after just one year. DB plans generally don’t vest for 10 years.

It lets employees take charge.

VDC programs offer more options in every department. Employees can choose investments and authorized investment providers including TIAA, VALIC, Voya Financial and Fidelity. With defined benefit plans, the agency chooses the investments and the providers.

The VDC is a new alternative to the ERS/TRS defined benefit plans. It debuted in New York on July 1, 2013.

An employee has 30 days from the date of hire to enroll. After 30 days, employees are defaulted into an ERS/TRS defined benefit plan.

TIAA, the Third Party Administrator, supports agencies by offering help and guidance to educate employees.

More information

VDC program summary (PDF)
Information about the VDC Program
Full text of VDC program legislation (PDF)
SUNY Payroll Bulletin (PDF)
Rockefeller Institute Pension Reform (PDF)
VDC Announcement Letter (PDF)
Policy Forum Videos
Salary Summary Guide (PDF)

If you invest in the SUNY Optional Retirement Program through Fidelity you will be investing in a variable group annuity contract issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company ("MassMutual"), 1295 State Street, Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and administered by Fidelity Investments. If benefit payments are annuitized under the group annuity contract issued by MassMutual, those benefit guarantees are subject to the claims paying ability of MassMutual.

Employee Eligibility

New York State employees who have an annual salary rate of pay of at least $75,000 per year may be eligible for the VDC program.

Employees are not eligible if a union represents them. You may not be eligible if you previously participated in a New York Public Defined Benefit plan. View additional eligibility information.

An employee has 30 days from the date of hire to elect the VDC program.

Implementation at Your Agency

The following resources can help you establish the VDC program as a retirement planning option for employees at your agency.

The steps to implementation

For non-centralized payroll remitters:

For centralized payroll remitters (OSC/OLR):

VDC program webinars

This webinar explains the VDC program, and how to offer it, in detail.

"If I start teaching at a different school, will my retirement plan go with me?"

How to Educate Your Employees

Once you master the program and make it available, it’s time to help your employees enroll.

1Share the VDC program materials

This website has in-depth information about the VDC program and makes it easy for your employees to enroll online.

This video provides a brief, interactive comparison between the Defined Benefit and Defined Contributions options available to your new employees.
View the video

2Review these resources

Enrollment guide for employees (PDF)
VDC program description (PDF)

In some cases, employees might need to complete the following forms and enroll offline.

3Offer personal assistance

Employees can pick up the phone and call 1-866-271-0960 to talk through their options.

Contact Information

We can help you get your agency onboard.

NYS VDC Program Center


Administrators (through TIAA):

1-888-984-0010

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET)


Employees (through Retirement@Work):

1-866-271-0960

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (ET)

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET)



VDC program administrator

David M. Morrell

1-518-320-1430

David.Morrell@SUNY.edu






Plan services provided by TIAA