I work for the AKDOT and my deferred comp goes into a 401 K like fund, so theoretically it's your account and the "state" and court systems can't get to it.
It's a lot like a IRA account no taxes now, but you pay them when you withdraw. You gain the interest on the money you would have lost to taxes but if you start now you may have a big nest egg, and your tax bracket may be larger in retirement.
My friend put 10,000 a year in his and now 27 years later 2 million.
We have a new option here, and that is to put after tax money in one of these accounts and then withdraw it with no income tax later, if you have a house payment, kids and such your tax bracket may be low and you may want to check into that, it's a lot like a Roth IRA.
Talk to your retirement department.
At the AKDOT we don't participate in the social security program, how about in NYDOT.