Survivor Benefit for Vested Employee

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Employee is vested and dies before retirement, will their spouse receive any retirement benefit.
Yes, if you are a general state employee, married, vested in MOSERS, and die before you retire with MOSERS, your eligible surviving spouse will receive survivor benefits. Survivor benefit payments can begin as early as the month following your death provided that MOSERS receives and processes the survivor application and all necessary documentation, such as a death certificate*. The monthly benefit for your spouse will be based on the benefit you have accrued as of your date of death and calculated according to the Joint & 100% Survivor Option. The survivor benefit will be paid monthly for the remainder of your spouse's lifetime. You can find information regarding the death of a member on our website. Survivors should contact a MOSERS benefit counselor for guidance through the process.

Otherwise, during the retirement process, you will make elections to determine if any potential survivor benefits will be paid to anyone after your death or not.

*Exception: The “immediate” survivor benefit provision is not available for terminated-vested members of MSEP 2011 who were first employed on or after January 1, 2018. This was a change made in SB62 during the 2017 legislative session as a cost offset for the reduction in the vesting requirement from 10 years to 5 years for members of MSEP 2011. Eligible survivors of such members will begin receiving benefits when the deceased member would have attained normal retirement age. 

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Final Average Pay and BackDROP Period

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MY PENSION IS BASED ON MY BEST 36 MONTHS EARNINGS. WAGES DURING MY 5 YEAR BACKDROP PERIOD ARE EXCLUDED. WHAT IF MY BEST 36 MONTHS ARE AFTER I COMPLETE MY 5 YEAR BACKDROP PERIOD?

Any pay earned after your BackDROP date (the beginning of your BackDROP period) does not count - it is excluded when we calculate your monthly retirement benefit. We will look at your entire pay history in your MOSERS-covered employment prior to your BackDROP period to find your highest 36 consecutive months of pay and use that to calculate your monthly benefit.

Remember, your BackDROP period, whether it is a 2-year or 5-year period, will always be immediately prior to your retirement date. That means, you wouldn’t continue to be employed in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position after your BackDROP period.

This is one of the factors to consider when making your elections about BackDROP. You can contact a MOSERS benefit counselor who can assist you in evaluating your options. You can also get benefit estimates based on different scenarios and use our Comparison Calculator to compare the long-term impact of different options. (Watch our Comparison Calculator video and our Creating a Benefit Estimate video for help getting started.)

For more information, see our recent post on Final Average Pay and on the 3-part formula we use to calculate retirement benefits.

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How is Final Average Pay Calculated?

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I thought retirement payments were based on last 3 years' salary of employment at the state. I heard over the weekend that retirement payment is actually based on 36 months of your highest paid salary throughout a state employment history. Would appreciate clarification. Thanks.
To calculate your pension benefit, we will use your highest 36 full consecutive months of paywherever that occurs in your individual pay history. Practically speaking, most people earn their highest 36 consecutive months of pay in their last three years of state employment, but not always.

Read below for more information. 

We calculate benefits for general state employees using this formula: 
Final Average Pay (FAP) x Credited Service x Multiplier = Monthly Base Benefit

•         FAP is the average of your highest 36 full consecutive months of gross pay no matter where in your work history that may fall. Practically speaking, for most, it is during their last three years, but not always. (Note: If you become eligible for and elect the BackDROP upon retirement, your FAP will be calculated using your MOSERS-covered work history prior to your BackDROP date. In other words, pay during the BackDROP period is excluded when calculating your monthly benefit amount.) 
•         Credited Service is the amount of time (in years & months) that you have worked in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position (added to any 
service credit that you may have purchased or transferred).
•         Multiplier – The multiplier for
MSEP is 1.6% (0.016); for MSEP 2000 & MSEP 2011 it is 1.7% (0.017).


As an example, let’s use the following assumptions:
•         Final Average Pay - $2,600.00     
•         Credited Service - 25 Years 3 Months      
•         MSEP Multiplier - 1.6% (.016)

$2,600.00 x 25.25 x .016 = $1,050.40 in monthly pension benefits from MOSERS

See Which Plan Am I In? to determine if you are a member of the MSEP, MSEP 2000, or MSEP 2011 and to find summaries of benefits, brochures, handbooks, videos and more. Use the Member Login to access your own individual information, see when you are eligible to retire, print a benefit estimate, and retire online when you are Ready to Retire.
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Why is the retiree COLA 80% of the CPI?

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The annual cola amount for MSEP 2000 is calculated as follows - MOSERS COLA rate = 80% of the percentage increase in the average CPI-U from the one year to the next. Is there a reason for the 80% instead of 100% or some other percent other than that is what the statute prescribes? Thanks
 You are correct that Missouri state statute stipulates how cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) will be calculated and that is the process we follow at MOSERS.
(For members of MSEP, see: Chapter 104.415; for members of MSEP 2000, see: Chapter 104.1045.)
In general, the statutes say COLAs will be based on 80% of the percentage increase in the average CPI from one year to the next. (There are some exceptions.)
COLAs are a tremendously valuable part of the benefits our members receive because they help members cope with inflation as the prices of goods and services increase during their retirement years. The 2019 COLAs will be announced in January 2019. Last January, we posted information about the 2018 COLAs.
Setting the COLA, like all the other MOSERS benefit provisions, is a General Assembly policy decision.
Changing how COLAs are calculated to something like 100% of the increase in the CPI would have significant cost implications (increasing employer contributions by several million dollars per year).

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Pension Buyout?

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Will there be another pension buyout?
There are no plans in place at this time to offer another buyout option. The Missouri Legislature authorized the MOSERS Board of Trustees to offer the recent Buyout Program under SB 62 but that authorization expired on May 31, 2018. This was a one-time program. If MOSERS were to offer another buyout program in the future, it would require legislative approval. If such legislation passed, we would notify all eligible members. Print Friendly and PDF

Leaving Employment Before Retirement Date

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My retirement plan is MOSERS 2011. If I leave state employment AFTER I am vested but BEFORE my retirement age/date, how do I figure my monthly benefit amount?
If you are vested with MOSERS (you have at least 5 years of service) and then leave state employment, you will be eligible* for a lifetime monthly benefit, which will begin once you meet the age requirement (and all other legal requirements) and retire under a MOSERS defined benefit pension plan. In general, your benefits will be based on the laws in effect on the day you leave state employment.

For general state employees, we calculate retirement benefits using this three-part formula:

Final Average Pay (FAP)        x            Credited Service         x             Multiplier       =               Monthly Base Benefit  

(The multiplier is determined by your plan; 1.6% for MSEP; 1.7% for MSEP 2000/MSEP 2011.)

Example

FAP $3,000 (per month)         x          7.5 years of Credited Service             x          0.017 Multiplier 
for MSEP 2011 = $382.50 Monthly Base Benefit

Keep in mind that additional service will increase your benefit:

FAP $3,000 (per month)         x          23 years of Credited Service              x          0.017 Multiplier for MSEP 2011= $1,173 Monthly Base Benefit

As a member of MSEP 2011, you will become eligible for normal retirement when you have at least 5 years of service and reach age 67 OR under the “Rule of 90” which is when you are at least age 55 and your age plus service equals 90 prior to you leaving state employment.

As a member of MSEP 2011, you pay contributions to help fund the system. Upon termination of employment, you may request a refund of your contributions or you may leave your contributions with MOSERS. It you take a refund of your contributions, you will forfeit all your credited service and any future rights to receive benefits from the system, but you get a check equal to the amount of contributions you made plus any interest. See our Member Contributions brochure for more information.

For more information, see the MSEP 2011 Retirement Plan video or the MSEP 2011 Handbook. You can also request a benefit estimate by calling a benefit counselor.

*An exception is if you were fired because you were convicted of a specified felony committed in connection with your job as a state employee on or after August 28, 2014. See Missouri Revised Statute §105.669

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COLAs and BackDROP

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My retirement date is January 1, 2019 and my backdrop date is March 1, 2016. Will I receive a COLA on my backdrop date in March, 2019?
Typically, members receive a COLA each year on the anniversary of their retirement date, unless one of the exceptions* applies. In your case, since you elected BackDROP, your COLAs will be payable each year on the anniversary of your BackDROP date rather than on the anniversary of your retirement date. In your specific case, your COLAs will be awarded in March, and you will receive a COLA on March 1, 2019.

We will determine the 2019 COLA in mid-January of 2019, and will announce the COLA amount on our website. We will send you (all members) a notice, either in the mail or in your MOSERS Document Express online mailbox, when the COLA is applied to your monthly benefit payment.

*The other exceptions of when COLAs are applied include:

·         Retirees who converted from MSEP to MSEP 2000 during the conversion window in 2000 have COLAs payable each year in July.
·         MSEP 2011 members hired after January 1, 2018 who leave state employment prior to retirement eligibility, will receive their first COLA in retirement on the second anniversary of their retirement.

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