Planning resources

When planning for your retirement, there are many aspects to consider. Retirement income, health and life insurance are just some of these topics. When the time comes, contact VCU Benefits at or (804) 827-1723 at least 90 days prior to your retirement date so you can arrange to complete all of your retirement paperwork. This action will help ensure your retirement check and related benefits will not be delayed.

Retirement income

Virginia Retirement System (VRS) members can receive a monthly income benefit for life during retirement. A number of payment options are available, including survivor benefits and PLOP (Partial Lump-Sum Option Payment). VRS provides a comprehensive pre-retirement planning Web page that allows you to calculate your own estimated VRS benefit and obtain information on your retirement options and purchasing service. See also the VRS Member Handbook.

VCU Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) faculty participants obtain their retirement distributions from their chosen retirement vendors. A variety of distribution options are available, ranging from annuities or systematic withdrawals, to lump-sum distributions. However, faculty must start an ongoing periodic annuity or withdrawal for life to be considered retired from the university and eligible to receive retiree health care coverage. Distributions are also subject to federal and state taxes and possibly a 10 percent penalty, depending on age at time of distribution and method of distribution. ORP faculty should contact a retirement counselor with their respective ORP vendor.

Retiree health insurance

Faculty and staff who meet age and service requirements may apply for coverage under the state retiree health benefits program. To qualify, retiring faculty and staff covered by the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) must immediately begin receiving a VRS defined benefit. Retiring faculty covered by the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) must meet the age and service requirements that would have qualified them for an immediate VRS defined benefit under the VRS plan for which they would have been eligible had they not elected the ORP.  

Application for retiree health coverage is required within 31 days of retirement. See also Comprehensive Overview of Retiree Health Coverage Options. Note: Health care costs may fluctuate from year to year. Anticipate possible increases when planning your retirement.

Retiree health insurance credit
Faculty and staff with 15 or more years of state service may be eligible for the state's retiree health insurance credit program. This program is designed to help offset the cost of retiree health coverage. To qualify, retiring faculty and staff covered by VRS must immediately begin receiving a VRS defined benefit, and faculty covered by the ORP must meet the age and service requirements that would have qualified them for an immediate VRS defined benefit under the VRS plan for which they would have been eligible had they not elected the ORP.

Retiree life insurance

To be eligible for retiree life insurance, you must meet minimum age and state service requirements, as indicated below:

  • VRS, VaLORS and ORP Plan 1 members (retirement plan membership date prior to July 1, 2010) must be at least age 50 with 10 years of state service or age 55 with five years of state service.
  • VRS, VaLORS and ORP Plan 2 members (retirement plan membership date July 1, 2010 or later) must be at least age 60 with 5 years of state service, or the sum of your age and years of state service must equal 90.

The value of your retiree life insurance is either your current basic life insurance amount at retirement or two times your highest annual base state salary if you have 20 or more years of state service; and it reduces by 25 percent each year on January 1, beginning after the first full year of retirement. Once your basic life insurance reaches 25% of its value, there are no further reductions.

  • Retiree life insurance is administered by VRS and is automatically provided to VRS and VaLORS retirees.
  • Retiree life insurance is not automatically provided to ORP retirees. They must obtain written certification from VCU Human Resources (on VRS Form 65-D) and return the completed form to VRS within 15 days of retirement to obtain retiree life insurance coverage; coverage for ORP retirees is not available if this requirement is not met. 

Click here to view more information about basic life insurance.

If you have participated in optional life insurance for a minimum of 60 months at the time you retire, you may retain a portion of this coverage in retirement. The coverage value reduces at specified ages and terminates at age 80. To retain your coverage in retirement, complete the retiree continuation election form (VRS from 39-R).

Long term care insurance

If you retire from a VSDP-covered position and wish to retain your VSDP long-term care coverage, you may do so by completing the election form (VRS-170) and returning the completed from to the carrier within 31 days of leaving your covered position. If you currently participate in the Commonwealth of Virginia's voluntary long-term care insurance program, contact Genworth, the plan provider, before you retire to find out how to continue this insurance coverage after retirement.

Forms and tools

Current Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Forms
Click here 

Home budget calculator
Click here to enter income and monthly expenditures to see how much money is left for saving and where your money is being spent.

Online calculators
The Virginia Credit Union provides a number of calculators to help with financial planning including: personal finance, checking and savings, mortgage and home finance, retirement, life and credit insurance, and investments. Click here to get started.

Printable financial checklists
Access a number of free financial checklists for all ages including children, families and seniors, click here.

Household budget worksheet
This worksheet is designed to project expenditures in various categories and then compare those projections to what is actually spent. Click here to get started.

Finance and loan calculators
To access a comprehensive source of free online business, mortgage and other financial calculators, click here.
This website provides free online calculators for mortgages, refinancing, amortization schedules, rate comparisons, mortgage news and more. Click here to access this invaluable information.

Retirement checklist

Step 1

  • Choose a retirement date
  • Gather important documents
    • Birth/marriage/divorce certificates, as applicable, for you and your spouse
    • Beneficiary(ies) Social Security number(s) and birth date(s)
    • Payroll and banking information
    • Federal and state tax information
  • Review your retirement statements
    • Virginia Retirement System (VRS) or Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), as applicable
    • Annual Social Security benefit estimate
  • Review your retirement healthcare options
    • Contact the Social Security Administration about benefits and Medicare eligibility information
    • Consider the feasibility of coverage on your spouse’s benefit/pension plan
  • Review your life insurance and estate planning (will, living will, durable power of attorney) needs 

Step 2

  • Get your finances in order
    • Review financial goals
    • Obtain financial and legal advice
    • Adjust savings and investments
    • Reduce debt
    • Consider your financial status if you get divorced or if your spouse dies
    • Factor in costs to maintain professional memberships in retirement
    • Prepare a retirement budget

Step 3

  • Calculate your estimated retirement benefits
  • Attend a pre-retirement seminar, if available
  • Schedule a retirement counseling session with a VCU Benefits representative. Contact VCU Benefits at or (804) 827-1723.  

Step 4

  • Enjoy your retirement!
How to Retire seminars

If you would like to attend one of the, in person, retirement seminars, you can