State Retiree Benefits Fact Sheet – South Carolina

  • December 18, 2007
South Carolina's pension systems are funded below the 50-state average—but the state has been making a yeoman's effort to improve its status. It is one of 16 states that has consistently paid 100% (or close to 100%) of its annual required contribution during the past 10 years. On the non-pensions side, the state faces a $10 billion bill coming due for retiree health care and other benefits, $4.2 billion of which is for state employees. The state had not set aside any funds toward this long-term obligation as of the end of fiscal year 2006. But in fiscal year 2007-2008 legislation, the General Assembly appropriated $113 million, awaiting an established formal trust fund. If South Carolina consistently funds its annual required contribution, the state's total unfunded liability will drop to $2.9 billion for state employees and to $6.4 billion total. This is because the interest the state is likely to earn when it invests more money over the long term can be applied to paying down the bill.