STATE EMPLOYEE'S BENEFITS - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please click on the question below to expand and see the answer.
What do I contribute to my pension?
Effective January 1, 1993, employee contributions to pension are pre-tax dollars.
What does my employer contribute to my pension?
When can I retire?
- 30 years of credited service at any age.
- 15 years of credited service at age 60.*
- 5 years of credited service at age 62.*
- Service - at least 25 years of credited service at any age.* (Your pension will be reduced by 0.2% for each month under 30 years of creditable service.)
- Age - at least 15 years of credited service at age 55.* (Your pension will be reduced 0.2% for each month you are under age 60 when you retire.)
- 5 years of credited service.*
- 5 years of credited service and collect the month following your 62nd birthday if termination of employment occurred on or after June 30, 1988.*
- 10 years of credited service and collect the month following your 62nd birthday if termination of employment occurred between July 1, 1976 and June 30, 1988.*
- 20 years of credited service and collect the month following your 60th birthday if termination of employment occurred before July 1, 1976 or includes credited service earned prior to July 1, 1976. At least 15 years must be creditable State service.*
- 5 consecutive years of credited service excluding the 3+ months of disability evaluation period.*
(You may apply for a disability pension, if your disability is expected to last for at least ninety (90) or more days, subject to medical approval).
*Not counting any claimed or purchased service other than purchased service for sabbatical leave and military service (interrupting employment).
How do I accrue or earn pension credit?
You accrue pension credit, if you are employed in a regular part-time position, which requires at least 50 hours per month for at least 9 months during a period of 12 consecutive months. Or, if you are employed in a regular part-time position where the part-time rate for the position is at least $200 per month for at least 9 months during a period of 12 consecutive months.
Will I get pension credit for a medical leave of absence?
Can I buy credit for a personal leave?
Can I use accrued vacation toward my pension?
If I leave state employment, withdraw my contributions and subsequently return to state employment, can I have my previous pension credit restored?
Am I required to retire at a certain age?
When is my pension vested?
Your pension will be vested when you have accumulated five (5) consecutive years of credited service time and terminate your employment on or after June 30, 1988.
If you were to terminate your employment prior to June 30, 1988 but after July 1, 1976, you would have been vested if you had accumulated ten (10) consecutive years of credited service time. In other words, you may leave state employment and be eligible to receive a pension the month following your 62nd birthday. Prior to July 1, 1976, you would have been able to receive a pension the month following you 60th birthday with twenty (20) years of service time as long as fifteen (15) years of this time was creditable state service.
Do I get credit toward a state pension for my military service time?
If you are called into active service or volunteer for active service in the Armed Forces or the National Guard of the State while you are a member of the Plan and you return to your covered employment with the State within 90 days of the discharge, you will receive full creditable service for such full-time continuous active military service.
If you do not qualify for the above, you may purchase up to five years of credit for full-time active duty in the Armed Forces by paying into the Plan an amount equal to the actuarial value of the credits purchased as determined by the Board of Pension Trustees. The credits so purchased cannot be used to determine eligibility for a pension; however, it will be used in the calculation of the benefit.
How will a break in service affect my creditable service?
If you have less than five years of service with the State when the break in service occurs, you may have this service restored if:
- You again become an employee within four months after you leave State employment.
- Your discontinuance of employment is due to an absence as a result of military service, disability, or approved leave, and you again become an employee within four months following the completion of such military service, disability, or approved leave.
- You again become an employee within two years after you are involuntarily terminated from State employment.
- You again become an employee and subsequently accrue at least five consecutive years of credited service provided you repay any contributions you have withdrawn plus interest and any applicable penalty interest.
Will I receive pension credit while out on Workers' Compensation?
If I leave state service, can I get back the contributions to the pension system that were deducted from my salary?
When I am retired, am I guaranteed regular post-retirement pension increases?
Is there a pension for my surviving spouse?
Your eligible survivor(s) will receive 75% of 97% of the member's calculated benefit. This is based on the assumption that the deceased member would have elected a 3% reduction from their benefit to provide their survivor with a 75% survivor benefit.
If you die while receiving a service or disability pension, the pension payable to your eligible survivor(s), beginning the month following your date of death, will be equal to 50% or 75% of the pension you were receiving at the time of your death depending on the survivor election made at retirement.
How are survivors prioritized by the Pension Plan?
The following lists the priority of survivors unless you change the priority by filing a notarized form prescribed by the Board of Pension Trustees:
- Surviving spouse.
- Unmarried child or children either under age 18 or between age 18 and 22, and attending school on a full-time basis, or over age 18 but permanently disabled before age 18.
- Dependent parent who was receiving one-half of his or her support from you at the time of your death.
If there is no eligible survivors, your beneficiary, as named on the latest designation form, will be paid a lump sum equal to the excess, if any, of your accumulated contributions with interest less all pension payments made, including survivor's benefits. If there is no designated beneficiary, the sum will be paid to your estate.
How does Medicare work?
Anyone who is eligible for Social Security is eligible for Medicare.
Medicare is a Federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older, or who meet the requirements of the Social Security disability program. The program has two parts, hospital insurance (Part A) and medical insurance (Part B).
Hospital insurance is free, having been prepaid through part of your FICA tax contributions during your working years. It pays for in-patient hospital care and follow-up care.
The premium for Part B ($88.50 per month in Calendar year 2006), is deducted from your Social Security check. It helps pay for physician's services, out-patient hospital care, clinical laboratory services, etc.
If you are drawing Social Security, you will automatically be signed up for Medicare at age 65 (although you have the opportunity to turn down Part B).
If you turn down Part B, the cost of Part B may go up 10% for each 12 month period that you could have had Part B but did not sign up for it, except in special cases. You will have to pay this extra 10% for the rest of your life.
If you are turning 65 while actively working for the State, three months before your birthday, you should sign up for Medicare Part A only. You do not have to sign up for Part B of Medicare because you are actively working. However, you should sign up for Medicare Part B (Special Enrollment), three months before you plan to retire.
Once you are in a pension group and eligible for Medicare, the active health insurance will not be effective. Therefore, you may elect to be enrolled in one of the State's Medicare supplements offered to pensioners.