Here you will have access to the processes you need to interact with MERS.
Here’s what your employees can expect when you enroll an existing employee or new hire into the MERS 457 Program:
Within two weeks of enrolling, the employee will receive:
- A welcome email introducing MERS and giving an overview of the plan(s) the employee is enrolled in, along with immediate action items. Included in this email will be a link to the MERS New Participant resource page. Here, they can find:
- Plan information
- Video explaining plan features
- Information on the benefits of a myMERS account
Important! It is highly encouraged that you submit an email address for your new hire upon enrollment in order for MERS to generate a welcome email for your new hires. If you do not include an email address, your new hires will continue to receive welcome kits via postal mail within six weeks of enrollment.
* Existing employees who are new to a MERS product will receive a product welcome letter.
The Internal Revenue Code does not allow changes to take effect in the month they are requested. U.S. Code 457(b)(4) states that “compensation will be deferred for any calendar month only if an agreement providing for such deferral has been entered into before the beginning of such month.”
It is up to your pay center to ensure that changes to deferrals do not begin earlier than the first pay period of the calendar month following the date the change request is submitted by the employee*.
For more information, please see the Employer Guide.
“Regular” Catch-Up Contributions
The “regular” or “pre-retirement” 457 catchup provision allows employees to make up for contributions not made in prior years.
Employees may catch-up for any year(s) since Jan. 1, 1979, if they were eligible to contribute to their 457 program, but did not contribute the maximum allowed under the Internal Revenue Code for that year.
Employees may only use the catch-up provision during the three-year period immediately before the year of their declared normal retirement age.
“Age 50” Catch-Up Contributions
The “Age 50” Catch-Up Provision allows employees reaching age 50 or older during the calendar year to contribute an additional amount. This additional annual contribution is not dependent on any prior year’s deferrals to a 457 program.
Complete instructions for the catch-up provisions can be found in the 457 Pre-Retirement Contribution Catch-Up Form (Form MD-414).
One of the most important things employees can do for themselves and their family is to name a beneficiary. Equally important is to make sure beneficiary information remains up-to-date. Employees can name their beneficiaries and update contact information through their myMERS account.
Please note: If employees choose to make these updates by completing the Beneficiary Designation Form (Form MD-703). If you receive any completed beneficiary forms, you should upload and send them to Alerus through the Employer Portal. For instructions on how to upload and submit documents, please see page 18 of the Wage, Contribution, and Employer Portal Guide (pdf).
Disability, whether duty or non-duty related, is defined as a physical or mental impairment rendering an employee permanently incapable of performing gainful activity for which they are suited. If an employee ends employment due to a disability, they will have access to pre-tax, employer and Roth contributions.
To request a distribution from their account, they must complete and submit the 457 Distribution Form (Form MD-405), along with evidence of the disability, for review and approval. MERS will process the request, upon your approval (as the employer). The same procedure is required for distributions of any Roth contributions they may have.