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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ready to Retire?

Are you ready to retire? Congratulations! You've reached that long-awaited milestone, and now it's time to reap the rewards of your many years of service.

How you apply for benefits in retirement depends on which MERS plan you have. If you're not sure what MERS Plan you have, click here for help.

I'd like retirement information about:
Defined Benefit Plan  •  Defined Contribution Plan  •  Hybrid Plan  •  Health Care Savings Program  •  457 Program

 

Defined Benefit Plan

You can begin receiving retirement benefits when you reach the age and service requirements under your plan provisions. If you are vested, the standard retirement age is 60.

When you meet the age and service requirements, you're ready to start the retirement process.

Here's how to get started:

  1. Complete the Application for Service Retirement (Form 29a) within 45-90 days of your anticipated retirement date and submit to MERS.
  2. We'll send you all the necessary paperwork to complete and return to us, as well as a benefit estimate.
  3. You'll receive your first payment the 18th of the month following your last day of work, or the month after we receive your retirement application, whichever is later. These pension payments are subject to federal and some state taxes.

Methods of Payment
When you retire, you choose one of three methods of payment that works for you:

  1. Straight Life — the highest monthly payment paid for your lifetime, with no monthly survivor benefits.
  2. Life with 100%, 75%, or 50% to survivor — a reduced monthly benefit that provides a chosen percentage to one beneficiary for life if you die.
  3. Life with 20, 15, 10, or 5 year period certain — provides a monthly benefit to you as long as you live. If you die before the period certain ends, your beneficiary(ies) receives your payment until the period certain ends.

Please select your method of payment carefully; you can't change it afterward.

For more information, please review your Defined Benefit Plan Member Handbook or contact our Service Center.

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Defined Contribution Plan

When you're ready to retire, you have many choices for what to do with your Defined Contribution account.

You can: 

  1. keep your account with us;
  2. roll over all or a portion of your account to another qualified one;
  3. begin withdrawing money from your account. 

There are no deadlines for making these decisions, so take your time and weigh your options carefully.

Before you decide what to do with your account, you should consider the tax consequences of receiving payments. We encourage you to contact your financial advisor for more information about which option is best for you.

If you want to move all or a portion of your account:

  1. Complete any necessary paperwork your employer requires.
  2. Download and complete the Defined Contribution Distribution Form (MD-005) on our website.
  3. Mail or fax the completed form to us at 517.703.9706.

Distribution Options

There are several ways you may choose to receive payments from your defined contribution account — lump sum, substantially equal payments, periodic, amount certain, or period certain. Please note that all payments are taxable in the calendar year you receive the money. We are also required to apply mandatory withholding for federal and any applicable state income taxes, although in some instances you may opt out of this withholding.

If you are married and your vested balance is equal to or more than $1,000, you must choose the Joint and Survivor Life Income payment option under the MERS Stable Income Annuity, unless your spouse consents in writing to another type of payment.

If you have any questions, please consult your Defined Contribution Member Handbook or contact our Service Center.

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Hybrid Plan

The two parts of the MERS Hybrid Plan give you a variety of options at retirement:

Hybrid Part I – Defined Benefit Portion
When you meet the age and service requirements, you're ready to start the retirement process.

Here's how to get started:

  1. Complete the Application for Service Retirement (Form 29A) within 45-90 days of your anticipated retirement date and submit it to MERS.
  2. We'll send you all the necessary paperwork to complete and return to us, as well as a benefit estimate.
  3. All retirements are effective the first of the month following your last day of employment, or the first of the month following MERS receipt of your retirement application, whichever is later.
  4. All retirement payments are directly deposited on the 18th of every month unless that falls on a holiday or weekend, in which case payments are transferred the first business day prior.

Hybrid Plan Part I — Types of Payment
When you retire, you will be able to choose the type of payment that works for you:

  • Straight Life — highest monthly payment paid for your lifetime, with no monthly survivor benefits
  • Life with 100%, 75%, or 50% to survivor — a reduced monthly benefit that provides a chosen percentage to your beneficiary for life if you die. 
  • Life with 20, 15, 10, or 5 year period certain — provides a lifetime benefit for you. If you should die before the certain period ends, your beneficiary will also receive a benefit for the remainder of the chosen period. 

Hybrid Part II — Defined Contribution Portion
With the defined contribution portion of your Hybrid Plan, it's easy to set your plans in motion. Just follow
these simple steps:

  1. Complete any necessary paperwork your employer requires.
  2. Download and complete the Defined Contribution Distribution Form (MD-005) on our website.
  3. Mail or fax the completed form to us at 517.703.9706.

Distribution Options
There are several ways you may choose to receive payments from your defined contribution account – lump sum, substantially equal payments, periodic, amount certain, or period certain. Please note that all payments are taxable in the calendar year you receive the money. We are also required to apply mandatory withholding for federal and any applicable state income taxes, although in some instances you may opt out of this withholding.

If you are married and your vested balance is equal to or more than $1,000, you must choose the Joint and Survivor Life Income payment option under the MERS Stable Income Annuity, unless your spouse consents in writing to another type of payment.

For more information on retiring, please consult your MERS Hybrid Retirement Plan Member Handbook
or call our Service Center.

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Health Care Savings Plan

Once you separate from your employer (either at retirement or otherwise), you can begin to use your Health Care Savings Program account to receive reimbursements for qualified medical expenses.

There are three different ways to be reimbursed:

  1. mySourceCard® Debit Card — that automatically debits your account when making qualified medical expense purchases. This smart card identifies qualified medical expenses when you use it. You can request a mySourceCard® on your myMERS Online Access, or by calling our Service Center.
  2. Online Reimbursements — You can upload receiptsusing myMERS. Processing your request takes two business days. All reimbursements are made by direct deposit.
  3. Reimbursement by Mail or Fax — Submit requests by mail or fax, using a reimbursement form along with a copy of the applicable receipts. Please call our Service Center to request Reimbursement and Direct Deposit forms. 

For more information, consult the MERS Health Care Savings Program Participant Handbook or call our Service Center.

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457 Program

When you're ready to retire, you have many choices for what to do with your MERS 457 Program account.

You can: 

  1. keep your account with us;
  2. roll over all or a portion of your account to another qualified one;
  3. begin withdrawing money from your account. 

There are no deadlines for making these decisions, so take your time and weigh your options carefully. We encourage you to contact your financial advisor for more information about which option is best for your situation.

Before you decide what to do with your account, you should consider the tax consequences of receiving payments. You're not required to take payments until age 70 1/2, when you must begin taking required minimum distributions.

If you want to move all or a portion of your account:

  1. Complete any necessary paperwork your employer requires.
  2. Download and complete the 457 Distribution/Direct Rollover Form (MD-405) on our website.
  3. Mail or fax the completed form to us at 517.703.9706.

For more information on this program, consult your MERS 457 Supplemental Retirement Program Participant Handbook or contact our Service Center.

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Disclaimer
The information contained in this Web site is being made available as a public service. The information is not intended to constitute legal or investment advice, or to replace official versions of that information. Benefit Estimates or Service Credit Purchase estimates requested through this Web site are not official descriptions of any benefits, and do not represent a promise by MERS to provide any benefit(s) to any person(s). No one can detrimentally rely upon the information provided in, or requested through this Web site. MERS reserves the right to correct any errors, and presents this information without warranties, express or implied, regarding the information?s accuracy, timeliness or completeness. If you believe the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, or incomplete, or if you have problems accessing or reading the information, please call MERS at 800.767.MERS (6377).