Employer Terms


Term/Acronym Stands For Definition
MERS Municipal Employees’ Retirement System of Michigan MERS is an independent public not-for-profit organization that has partnered with Michigan municipalities for more than 65 years, helping them provide safe, secure retirement plans for their employees.
MERS Plans & Programs
457 457 Supplemental Retirement Program The MERS 457 Program is a deferred compensation program for public sector employees.

Defined Benefit

The MERS Defined Benefit Plan is a traditional pension plan that rewards longevity by providing employees with a lifetime retirement benefit.
DC Defined Contribution

The MERS Defined Contribution Plan is a qualified retirement program under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Each participant has an account to which contributions are made and invested and the benefit is based on the total amount of money in the account.

GLD Group Life & Disability MERS partners with The Standard to offer several group life and disability benefits including short term and long term options.
H Hybrid The MERS Hybrid Plan is a combination of a fixed defined benefit plan with a flexible defined contribution plan.
HCSP Health Care Savings Program The MERS Health Care Savings Program is designed to help participants prepare for the cost of health care after they leave their employer with an invested account they manage. It’s an employer-sponsored program providing a tax-free medical savings account for covering the costs of post-employer medical expenses.
ISP Investment Services Program The MERS Investment Services Program provides non-membership access to the MERS Total Market Fund along with other pre-defined portfolio options. These funds are professionally managed by the MERS Investment team and provide access to our economies of scale and low fees.
MERS Premiere Advantage   MERS partners with Humana to provide health coverage exclusively for Medicare-eligible MERS retirees and their spouses with MERS Premiere Advantage.
RHFV Retiree Health Funding Vehicle The MERS Retiree Health Funding Vehicle helps employers set aside assets for funding their retiree health care liability, while benefiting from investing in the available MERS investment options.
Stable Income Annuity   The MERS Stable Income Annuity allows individuals to convert an account, like a 457, into a guaranteed income stream for life, or a period of their choice.
Defined Benefit Related Terms
AAV Annual Actuarial Valuation An annual actuarial valuation is an annual report that is produced for municipalities enrolled in defined benefit. This report measures funding progress, establishes contribution requires for the next fiscal year and provides actuarial information in connection with applicable Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) statements
Act 88 (or Reciprocal Retirement Act)   Act 88 may be adopted by the governing body of a municipality with DB so service earned at non-MERS municipalities will be recognized for vesting and retirement eligibility requirements.
COLA Cost of Living Adjustment Municipalities have the option to adopt a COLA benefit for retirees, which automatically increases their annual benefit by a certain percentage to protect against inflation.
FAC Final Average Compensation Final average compensation is a participant’s average of the highest wages earned over a period of time determined by the employer.
Normal Cost   The retirement system’s cost of benefits accruing on the current service – if there is no unfunded liability and the actual experience meets the actuarial assumptions.
Service Credit   Service credit is the total amount of all qualified periods of work.
UAL (or UAAL) Unfunded Accrued Liability (or Unfunded Annual Accrued Liability) In a defined benefit pension plan or retiree healthcare plan, unfunded liability is the difference between the estimated cost of future benefits, and assets that have been set aside to pay for them.
Participant Directed Accounts Terms and Acronyms
Alerus Financial   Alerus Financial is a company that has partnered with MERS to provide trading and custodial services for our PDAs, as well as banking services for plan deposits and withdrawals.
PDA Participant Directed Accounts Participant directed accounts are the MERS programs that participants have the ability to change their own investments as desired. These programs are the MERS Defined Contribution Plan (including the DC portion of Hybrid), MERS 457 Program and MERS Health Care Savings Program.
Other Terms and Acronyms
CAFR/SAFR Comprehensive Annual Financial Report An annual report (and report summary) that MERS produces that provides an in-depth look into the financial standings and actions within the organization. This report is created and posted on the MERS website in an effort to provide transparency and accountability.
Fiduciary   As the fiduciary of all our retirement plans and programs, MERs is responsible for establishing the plan document, determining the investment options available and monitoring fund performance. MERS also accepts full fiduciary responsibly for the plan.
Full Picture report builder   A tool available to all MERS participants through their myMERS account that can be used to fill in the gaps of information MERS does not have access to such as outside retirement accounts, spousal information and personal retirement goes. Coupled with investment guidance, participants can create a Full Picture Report that provides a holist look at their financial outlook in retirement and customized suggestions to ensure that personal goals are met.
Morning Break with MERS   Morning Breaks with MERS are employer-focused free quarterly meetings held regionally and hosted by a MERS regional manager. These meetings typically highlight a topic or multiple topics of interested to employers and allow employers to provide feedback, ask questions and discuss concerns.
OPEB Other Post Employment Benefit Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) typically refers to the benefits that a retiree receives after employment such as retiree health care.
Pizza & Planning   Pizza & Planning are free participant-focused quarterly meetings held regionally and hosted by a MERS benefit education specialist. These meetings typically that highlight a topic of interested for municipal workers enrolled in a MERS plan.
Quick Bite Webinars   Quick Bite webinars are hosted quarterly and are typically participant-focused. These free webinars are held during the lunch hour and allow participants to get information about a MERS topic and ask questions to MERS staff without having to leave their desk.
Snapshot Report   A Snapshot Report is a report that is sent annually to all active participants enrolled in a retirement plan (DB, DC or H) who have been actively employed at a municipality for at least a full calendar year. This report provides participants with a “snapshot” of how their MERS plans will work together with Social Security to provide income in retirement. It also provides customized actions they can take to become more prepared.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this Web site is being made available as a public service. The information is not intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting 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).