2020 Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program (VERIP)

What is happening?

Eligible staff members University-wide were offered a Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program (known as the 2020 VERIP). The 2020 VERIP was announced on June 9. Eligible staff received details of the 2020 VERIP around July 21 and July 22, 2020 and had 45 calendar days to make a decision, followed by a 7-day-revocation period. The consideration period has now closed. Staff who accept the 2020 VERIP are generally expected to retire by December 31, 2020.

The 2020 VERIP is a completely voluntary program designed to help the University manage significant budgetary issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic, while providing eligible staff with the choice of an enhanced retirement incentive and retirement planning, education and counseling.

I accepted the VERIP. What happens next?

Upon receiving your signed forms indicating that you are accepting the VERIP (and following the seven day revocation period), Harvard Benefits will contact you to set up a meeting with a Benefits consultant to review the decisions and paperwork you will need to complete, including your health plan options and retirement payment options. Note that due to volume, it may take up to two weeks to set up initial meetings.

You are strongly encouraged to prepare for your meeting by reviewing the Preparing for Retirement page and the Retirement Checklist, which describe the important steps and decisions you will need to make, including:

  • If you or your spouse/domestic partner will be over the age of 65 at the time of retirement, you will need to apply for Medicare Part B, which you should begin three months prior. Benefits will provide needed documentation for this application.
  • If you are eligible for Harvard post-retirement health, you will need to make elections for your health plan coverage.
  • Some or all of unused vacation (both regular and longer service) may be deferred to your TDA (up to the annual IRS maximum). Benefits will provide you with the form to do this.
  • Determine how to take your retirement benefit – your Benefits consultant will discuss the options with you, but you may also wish to consult your own financial advisor.
  • If your VERIP Benefit Component is a Special Pension Benefit, you need to determine how to receive payment for the special pension benefit.

Also note that if you are married or have domestic partner, you will need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate or notarized domestic partner statement to facilitate health plan enrollment and other aspects of retirement.

Does the VERIP include eligibility for post-retirement health?

No. Additional service credit toward post-retirement health is not included in the 2020 VERIP offer. If you will be eligible for Harvard’s post-retirement health coverage at the time of your retirement under the 2020 VERIP, you will have access to those benefits. However, if you do not meet the eligibility requirements, this is not part of the VERIP; you will be eligible for COBRA benefits.

You can use the post-retirement health eligibility calculator to estimate when you may become eligible for post-retirement health coverage. To get a more accurate estimate, you will need your years of participation service, which can be found by going to PeopleSoft and selecting My Benefits > Pension Summary.

Other Resources

The following resources are available to support eligible staff who have accepted the VERIP:

Individual Appointments, Questions and Help

Benefits

2020 VERIP Questions

Benefits@harvard.edu
617-496-4001

Harvard University Retirement Center (HURC)

Retirement Plan Questions

800-527-1398

TIAA Financial Counselor

Meet one-on-one with a financial counselor

800-732-8353 (M-F, 8am-8pm)

Harvard's Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

KGA provides access to Financial Planners

877-327-4278

Area Trades Council (ATC) Pension Fund

Individualized pension estimates and questions for ATC members with Central Pension Fund accounts

202-362-1000

Recorded Webinars

2020 Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program (VERIP) Overview. These online sessions, which provide an overview of the 2020 VERIP, review the individualized package contents and provide details about retirement from Harvard University, were held in July and August. You can view the recorded information session.

Within Reach Transitioning from Career to Retirement
This workshop will help you imagine your ideal retirement and plan how to make the most of it. Presented by TIAA. View the recorded session (held 7/14).

Health Coverage in Retirement
Healthcare insurance options during retirement. Presented by BCBSMA and Harvard Benefits. You can view the recorded Blue Cross Blue Shield portionHarvard Benefits presentation (both presented live on 7/21).

Should I talk to my manager about the VERIP?

Yes. After the consideration and revocation periods expire, you will want to discuss your retirement date with your manager if you elect the VERIP.

If I took the VERIP, can I work at the University in another role?

You cannot work at the Harvard in any capacity for 12 months after your retirement date if you take the VERIP. After that, you may return to Harvard employment.