End of state incentive program may cause thousands to retire

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina could lose about 7,500 public workers when an incentive program that keeps employees on the job past their normal retirement ends next year.

The State newspaper of Columbia reports Sunday that about half of those employees work in public schools. Their exodus would exacerbate the state’s teacher shortage.

A 2012 law designed to shore up the state’s pension system for public workers phased out the Teacher Employee Retirement Incentive program, better known as TERI. It officially closes June 30, 2018.

Under TERI, retirees can work up to five years after they officially retire, while accumulating pension benefits. Their money is paid in a lump sum at the end of the program.

The Legislature initially created the program in 2000 to entice teachers to stay in the classroom.

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