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Payment Options

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When you terminate your employment,  your Stanford Contributory Retirement Plan benefits are payable in several ways.

At the end of your employment with Stanford, you may:

  • Receive an annuity or a lump sum, or a combination of both
  • Transfer all or a portion of your account balances to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or a Roth IRA, to another 403(b), to a governmental 457(b) plan, or to a 401(a) qualified employer plan as a direct rollover

NOTE: If you invest in a TIAA Traditional Annuity RA account, your distribution will be paid over a minimum of 10 years. For more information, visit the TIAA website or call (800)-842-2776.

Marital Status

Your SCRP benefits are paid differently depending on your marital status at the time payments are to begin.


If you are married at the time payments are to begin, federal law requires that you receive your benefits in the form of a Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuity (QJSA) that pays at least 50 percent of the benefit in an annuity to your spouse after you die.

You will automatically receive your benefit in the form of a 50 percent QJSA unless you choose another payment form and/or name a beneficiary other than your spouse, subject to the terms of each annuity contract or custodial account. Choosing another form or naming a substitute beneficiary requires the written consent of your spouse.

Not Married

If you are not married on the date payments are to begin, your SCRP benefits will be paid as a single life annuity, unless you elect another form of benefit or a rollover to an IRA, Roth IRA, another 403(b) plan, a governmental 457(b) plan, or a qualified plan.

Payment as an Annuity

If you elect to receive your benefit as an annuity, you are electing to receive payments in the same amount on a monthly or quarterly basis for a specified period of time (e.g., 10 years; your lifetime) at an amount based on your age and an assumed or actual rate of return on your SCRP account.

There are four types of annuity payments for you to consider.

Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuity (QJSA)

A QJSA provides annuity payments for your lifetime. After your death, your beneficiary will receive payments equal to a portion (usually 50 percent) of your monthly payment for his or her lifetime.

Because the annuity payments might be spread over the lives of two individuals, the amount of the payment will be less than it would have been under a single life annuity. The exact amount of the annuity will depend on you and your spouse’s age and other actuarial factors at the time payments begin.

Single Life Annuity

A single life annuity pays a benefit on a regular basis (monthly or quarterly) for your lifetime. No payments are made to a beneficiary when you die. Spousal consent required if you are married.

Variable Annuities

Variable annuities reflect the value of the underlying investments (stock annuities, money market annuities, or a combination of both). Payments vary from year-to-year, depending on the investment performance of the underlying investments.

Fixed Annuities

Fixed annuities provide a guaranteed minimum payment. Interest rate assumptions may change from year to year, causing the annuity amount to fluctuate, but it will not drop below a minimum guaranteed amount.

Payment as a Lump Sum

When you elect to receive a lump sum payment, you are electing to withdraw all or a portion of your benefits.

If you elect a distribution while still employed by Stanford, any additional benefit you earn from the plan will not be affected. Only a lump sum option is available in this case.

NOTE: Neither Stanford nor any plan fiduciary or investment provider will be liable if an administrative plan process (i.e., enrollment, distribution) is materially delayed due to circumstances beyond their reasonable control. This includes, but is not limited to, war, earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, pandemic, acts of terrorism and acts of God which could not be avoided by the exercise of due diligence.

Payment as a Transfer

When you elect to transfer your account, contact your investment provider for paperwork and instructions: