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The flexible retirement savings plan

Take charge of your retirement savings with the New York State Voluntary Defined Contribution Program.

The Benefits of the Voluntary Defined Contribution (VDC) Program

The New York State VDC program is a flexible, rapid-vesting alternative to defined benefit (DB) pension plans.


The VDC program allows you to customize your retirement plan. You pick investments and providers, you name beneficiaries, and you decide what to do with your retirement savings.

A VDC program can also go with you if you start working for another NYS agency, and you can withdraw money when you stop working for your current agency. The VDC program is designed to allow you to retire at any age.

Rapid vesting

Every year, your employer will contribute an amount equal to 8% of your compensation toward your VDC program. After just one year, all contributions are fully vested. Compare that to 10 years for defined benefit plans.

Compare plans

Your retirement options are summarized in our brief, interactive video. We recommend that you view it prior to making a retirement plan election.
View the Comparison Video

Find out how a defined benefit plan and VDC program differ.
View the Comparison Chart

Read the complete details

In-depth information about the Voluntary Defined Contribution program.
Download the VDC Program Overview


All New York State agencies are required to offer the VDC program to eligible employees. You may be eligible for the VDC program if you have an estimated annual salary rate of pay of $75,000 or greater.

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

Employees have 30 days from their date of hire to enroll in the program.

Manage Your Own Money

Unlike defined benefit plans, the VDC program lets you control your balance and your investments. You can direct your contributions to authorized investment providers and take cash withdrawals at certain times.

The VDC program gives you plenty of options. When you enroll, keep in mind that different investment providers offer different investment products, and remember that you can always call an experienced TIAA consultant for guidance.

Which investment provider will you work with?

While the VDC program is administered by TIAA, you have the option of directing any or all contributions to a variety of authorized investment providers, including Voya, AIG, TIAA and Fidelity*. These world-class providers offer distinct benefits and options that you can research in-depth.

TIAA-CREF Website Link
Voya Financial Website Link
AIG Retirement Services Website Link
Fidelity Investments Website Link

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.

How to Enroll in the New York State VDC Program

To learn more about the enrollment process, download the VDC program enrollment guide (PDF).

Before enrolling, please have the following information available:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • The name of your previous retirement plan and registration/member number(s)
  • If you were enrolled in the VDC Program with a previous employer, please have your NYS VDC Program contract number(s) available.
  • The name, address, telephone number and e-mail address of your designated beneficiary

Enroll Online in 3 Easy Steps

To complete your enrollment online you will:

  1. First set up your account and make your retirement program elections.
  2. Then determine your contributions with a Salary Deferral Agreement.
  3. Finally select and enroll with your investment providers.

Or for detailed enrollment instructions, follow this link to the
Quick Reference Enrollment Guide.

Pick up the phone

Call 1-866-271-0960 to speak with an experienced consultant who can guide you through the enrollment process.

"I want peace of mind for my future."

Contact Information

Questions about online enrollment

Phone: 1-866-271-0960
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

You will be connected to an experienced consultant from Retirement@Work who can answer your online enrollment questions.

Questions about investing

You can speak to a financial consultant by calling any of the authorized investment providers.

  • TIAA: 1-800-842-2252
  • AIG: Richard Grofsick, Advisor 1-518-783-6464
  • Voya: 1-800-438-1272
  • Fidelity: 1-800-343-0860

Note: The Program sponsor of the New York State VDC Program is The State University of New York (SUNY). The retirement vehicle is the SUNY Optional Retirement Plan.

Plan services provided by TIAA