Alternate Benefit Program Overview

Below are the important features about your employer's plan. This website is intended to be a summary of the plan provisions.  In the event that a conflict exists between the information contained within this website and the plan document, the plan document provisions prevail.

The Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) is a defined contribution retirement program that is offered to eligible employees of New Jersey's public institutions of higher education as an alternative to the State Defined Benefits Pension Plan. ABP provides retirement benefits, life insurance and disability coverage, which, when combined with Social Security and other tax-deferred plans, can help provide income in retirement. 

With ABP, you contribute a percentage of your base or contractual salary as determined by state law to a variable annuity, matched by an employer contribution. These contributions are made on a pretax basis -- you defer paying taxes on those contributions and any earnings until the money is distributed from the annuity.


  • Asset building - A great way to invest for future needs and supplement your retirement income. 
  • Tax-deferred investing – under the Internal Revenue Code, with this program your contributions and any earnings on those contributions are taxed only when you begin to take distributions, at which time you may be in a lower tax bracket.
  • Various investment options - You have the opportunity to select from the investment options that are available to you, through the plan, where your contributions are allocated. 
  • Periodic payments for the future - Under the annuity provisions, you choose the payout option that best fits your future needs. 
  • Portability of your account to other eligible retirement plans.



Eligibility is limited to state or county college and state universities full –time officers; part-time, or adjunct faculty; administrative personnel who are required to possess a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a condition of employment, and certain other state agencies involved with higher education. This includes visiting professors and faculty paid by federal grant. Eligible employees must elect to participate in the ABP in lieu of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). Note: A retiree from any other system is ineligible to participate in the ABP.


Mandatory Pension Contribution

The Employer contributes 8% of the members’ contractual base salary, and members contribute a mandatory 5% of base pay on a pre-tax basis. For purposes of ABP contributions, compensation taken into account is limited to a maximum annual salary dollar amount (currently $141,000) established under state law.

Under the Plan, the maximum annual contribution amount is set by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines on a yearly basis. You may view the current limits here


There is no deferred sales charge upon withdrawal. Withdrawals may be subject to an IRS 10% premature distribution penalty tax, and certain distributions are also subject to a mandatory 20% federal withholding. Withdrawals from the fixed interest option are subject to certain restrictions and may be subject to a Market Value Adjustment. Please refer to your plan document and your contract prospectus for details, or speak with your Voya representative.

Payout Options

  • A lump-sum or partial withdrawal (may be subject to federal withholding and possible tax penalties)
  • A systematic payout option specifying a percentage, dollar amount, or a time period. This requires a $3000 minimum account balance and a $250 minimum payment.
  • Payments guaranteed for your lifetime or for as long as you and your beneficiary are alive (guarantees based on the claims-paying ability of Voya Retirement Insurance and Annuity Company)

You should consider the investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses of the variable product and its underlying fund options carefully before investing. The prospectuses/prospectus summaries containing this and other information can be obtained by contacting your local representative. Please read the information carefully before investing.

Variable annuities are intended as long-term investments designed for retirement purposes. Withdrawals from an annuity may be subject to an early withdrawal fee and, if taken prior to age 59½, an IRS 10% premature distribution penalty tax will apply, unless an IRS exception applies. Money taken from the annuity will be taxed as ordinary income in the year the money is distributed. Account values fluctuate with market conditions, and when surrendered the principal may be worth more or less than its original amount invested. An annuity does not provide any additional tax deferral benefit, as tax deferral is provided by the plan. Annuities may be subject to additional fees and expenses to which other tax-qualified funding vehicles may not be subject. However, an annuity does provide other features and benefits, such as lifetime income payments and death benefits, which may be valuable to you.                                                           

For 403(b)(1) fixed or variable annuities, employee deferrals (including earnings) may generally be distributed only upon your: attainment of age 59½, severance from employment, death, disability, or hardship. Note: Hardship withdrawals are limited to employee deferrals made after 12/31/88. Exceptions to the distribution rules: No Internal Revenue Code withdrawal restrictions apply to '88 cash value (employee deferrals (including earnings) as of 12/31/88) and employer contributions (including earnings). However, employer contributions made to an annuity contract issued after December 31, 2008 may not be paid or made available before a distributable event occurs. Such amounts may be distributed to a participant or if applicable, the beneficiary: upon the participant's severance from employment or upon the occurrence of an event, such as after a fixed number of years, the attainment of a stated age, or disability.

Insurance products, annuities and retirement plan funding issued by (third party administrative services may also be provided by) Voya Retirement Insurance and Annuity Company, One Orange Way, Windsor, CT 06095-4774. Securities are distributed by Voya Financial Partners LLC (member SIPC). All companies are members of the Voya™ family of companies. Securities may also be distributed through other broker-dealers with which Voya has selling agreements. Insurance obligations are the responsibility of each individual company. Product and services may not be available in all states.