Noncontributory Defined Benefit Plan

The Noncontributory Defined Benefit Plan has been phased out and is no longer offered to new participants. Only currently participating members of this plan can continue to receive benefits. Union employees should check their collective bargaining agreement for eligibility. The retirement benefit to be received under this Plan is determined by a set formula which takes into account salary and years of participation in the plan and age at retirement (University Funded Trust at Mellon Bank).

Retention of Benefits

For those currently participating, they must remain in one of the following positions to retain eligibility and to continue to possible accrue benefits:

  • Faculty: Full-time regular and part-time regular
  • Librarians: Full-time regular and part-time regular
  • Research Associates: Full-time regular and part-time regular
  • Staff: Full-time regular and part-time regular
  • Postdoctoral Associates with an appointment date on or before June 30, 2005
  • Union Employees as stated in their Collective Bargaining Agreement

Review the Summary Plan Description of this plan:

Defined Benefit Pension Plan Summary Plan Description

Summary of the Plan

  • The Noncontributory Defined Benefit Pension Plan is totally funded by University contributions to a trust fund held at BNY Mellon.
  • The Plan does not require an employee contribution.
  • Benefits are based upon a formula, not upon contributions or the plan's investment earnings. The University is responsible for contributing enough money to fund benefits.
  • For each year of participation, a participant accrues a benefit, payable as a single life annuity, equal to 2.1% of his compensation not in excess of the Social Security Wage Base. The benefit is calculated (for all participants) as a single life annuity, although it may be converted to a joint and 100% survivor annuity for married participants.
  • An employee in the Defined Benefit plan may also make supplemental contributions to the Defined Contribution plan. These contributions are not matched by the University.

Defined Benefit Plan Contribution Example:

Years Counting Toward Vesting (at least 1,000 hours) Example
Benefit Accumulated
1 $50,000.00 $1,050.00
2 $51,250.00 $1,076.25
3 $52,531.25 $1,103.16
4 $53,844.53 $1,130.74
5 $55,190.64 $1,159.00
TOTAL:   $5,519.15*

*Estimated benefit if claimed as a single-life annuity at age 65

Vesting Period

The Vesting Period under the Noncontributory Defined Benefit Pension Plan is five years with 1000 or more hours of participation in each calendar year. Full time employees will complete 1,950 hours of service in a calendar year. (To accumulate 1000 hours, the staff participant must be at least 60% effort). Since faculty work is often not counted in terms of hours, the Benefits Department derives the appropriate number of hours each faculty member should be credited based on their percentage of effort and the number of months during the year during which he/she works and earns compensation, as defined in the plan document. See the plan document for specific information.

There are two ways to collect this benefit:

  1. Retirement - Age 65 with 5 years of service.
  2. Early Retirement - A reduced benefit is available at Age 55 with 10 years of participation.

The benefit is reduced by .6% for each month prior to age 65 you take the benefit. (Ex. If a participant retired on his 64th birthday and started the benefit immediately upon retirement, his benefit would be reduced by 7.2%, or .6% for each of the 12 months prior to reaching age 65.)

The benefit is paid in one of two ways:

  1. Single Annuity
  2. Joint and Survivor Annuity - Annuity is reduced based on an actuarial equivalent using the difference in the participant and spouse/partner's age. The spouse would continue to receive the benefit in the event that the participant should die.

Once in a Career Change

If you are covered by the Defined Benefit Plan and have never been enrolled in the Defined Contribution Program you may be eligible to take advantage of the Once in Career Change option.

Re-enrollment in the Defined Benefit Pension Plan is not permitted.

You may contact the Benefits Department at 833-852-2210 to discuss your options. You can complete a form to make this once in a career change from the benefits office. Once eligibility has been determined by Human Resources, you will receive a notice. You will be able to enroll in the Defined Contribution plan within 7-10 days of receiving the notice. Instructions on how to enroll can be found on the Making Changes to Your Retirement Election page.

Contact Information

For additional information about your pension, access the Pension Administration Center online portal (via Pitt Passport). You can also find the portal by visiting and searching for "Pension Administration Center."

With questions about the Defined Benefit Plan, please contact the University Pension Center at 1-866-283-0208 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST.