Vested Employee Returning to State Employment

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When I left employment in 2014, I was vested in the 2000 MSEP plan. If I return to state employment in the future, will I still be eligible for retirement under the 2000 MSEP plan with 80 and out? Or will I have to retire under 2011 MSEP with 90 and out? I have been told both, so I need clarification. Thank you.
If you were first employed in a MOSERS (or MPERS) benefit-eligible position on or after July 1, 2000 but prior to January 1, 2011, you would most likely be a member of the MSEP 2000.  If you returned to state employment as a member of MSEP 2000, the Rule of 80 (also known as “80 & Out”) would be one way you could reach normal retirement eligibility. The other way would be when you reach age 62 and have at least 5 years of service.

To retire under the “Rule of 80,” in MSEP 2000, you must:

  1. Be at least age 48, and
  2. Your age and service must equal 80 or more, and 
  3. You must be actively employed.

 In other words, a terminated-vested member of the MSEP 2000 is not eligible for the “Rule of 80.”

For more information about plan membership and retirement eligibility, see the  Which Plan am I in? section of our website. You can check your plan membership and when you are eligible to retire by logging in to your Member Homepage, clicking on Estimates, then Estimate Your Retirement Benefit.  The website will reflect your current status so be aware that your eligibility for retirement as a terminated vested member may be different than it would be if you returned to work as an actively employed member because you would begin accruing additional service.  Alternatively, you may contact a MOSERS benefit counselor by phone at (800) 827-1063 to discuss your specific situation and your options.

Death Before Retirement & Survivor Benefits

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I am a former state employee, who was vested when I left state employment. If I die before I begin receiving my pension benefit, will my spouse be eligible to receive it? Or will MOSERS get to keep my pension? If my spouse is eligible to receive my pension benefit, how does that happen, when will my spouse be eligible to get it (age 62? 65? Immediately upon my death?), and for how many years (10, 20, lifetime?)? Thank you. 
Thank you for your questions. Let’s address each one individually:

  1. If you die BEFORE you begin receiving your MOSERS pension benefit, will your spouse be eligible to receive it?  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. 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. If there is no eligible spouse, a survivor benefit may be paid to your natural or legally adopted child(ren) who are younger than age 21. This benefit is dependent on the law in effect at the time of your termination. If there is more than one eligible child, the benefit will be divided equally among them. The survivor benefit for each child will stop when the child becomes age 21 (unless a child is totally disabled and you terminated service with the state on or after 8/28/2001). If you die without any eligible beneficiaries, no retirement benefits are paid.
  2. HOW would your spouse begin receiving benefits from MOSERS? Your eligible surviving spouse can find information on our website and should contact a MOSERS benefit counselor for guidance through the process. We will provide your spouse with a customized Application for Survivor Benefits which he or she must complete and return along with any other necessary documentation. Information about your MOSERS benefits is contained in your Benefit Statement which all active, terminated-vested, and retired members can find by logging in to their MOSERS Member Homepage
  3. WHEN will your spouse begin receiving benefits from MOSERS? Benefit payments can begin the month following your date of death as long as the application and any necessary documents (such as a death certificate) have been submitted, and all legal requirements have been met. 
  4. HOW LONG will your spouse receive MOSERS pension benefits? The survivor benefit will be paid monthly for the remainder of your spouse's lifetime. 
All of the above information applies if you die BEFORE you begin receiving your MOSERS pension benefit. Members often have similar questions about death AFTER retirement. A key feature of your MOSERS defined benefit (DB) pension plan is that it can provide financial security for your eligible survivor(s) as well. 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. We hope you find this information helpful.

Contribution Balance

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For someone on the MSEP 2011 plan, is there a way to see the current balance of the 4% benefits withheld for retirement? If someone is planning on leaving before retirement eligibility it would be helpful to view the balance before making termination plans.
Yes, if you log into your MOSERS Member Homepage at www.mosers.org by clicking on the blue Member Login button, you can view a Contribution Calculator. It shows your current balance, based on the latest payroll information sent from your employer.

If you terminate employment from a MOSERS-covered position you may request a refund of your contributions including credited interest. However, you are not required to withdraw your contributions when you leave. If you are vested, MOSERS will continue to pay interest until you either withdraw the funds, reach normal retirement eligibility or die. If you think you might return to MOSERS-covered service, carefully consider your options because by receiving a refund, you forfeit all your credited service and future rights to receive benefits from the system. For vested members, this means forfeiting a lifetime monthly benefit at retirement age.

To see all of your options after leaving state employment, please see the Member Contributions brochure on our website.

Deferred Comp Early Withdrawal Penalty for Beneficiary?

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I am retired and I am 60. My wife is 56 yrs old, not a state employee, and is the beneficiary of my deferred compensation account. If I were to die, would she be subject to the 10% federal penalty for withdrawing money before 59 1/2 from my deferred comp fund?
No, as your widow, she would have penalty-free access to your pre-tax savings in the 457 plan prior to her attaining the age of 59½.

As a participant in MO Deferred Comp, you have penalty-free access to your pre-tax savings in the 457 plan prior to age 59½ as long as you are separated from state service. This great benefit carries over to your beneficiary as well. Keep in mind, a 10% penalty will apply to distributions from any employer contributions and earnings in a 401(a) account or rollover dollars (such as BackDROP) from other qualified accounts withdrawn prior to age 59½ by you or your surviving beneficiary(ies).

You may also be interested to know, that you can keep your money in the deferred comp plan throughout your retirement. Furthermore, you are not required to start withdrawing your savings until you reach age 70½. If you pass away before this time, or even after you begin taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), your beneficiary has several options for when they are required to meet the annual withdraw amount. Visit the IRS’ website for more detailed information on RMDs. Beneficiaries of a deceased MO Deferred Comp participant must complete the Beneficiary Account Setup and Withdrawal Packet to create an  account and initiate withdrawals from the plan. When you or your beneficiary are ready to start taking distributions, the deferred comp plan offers several automatic and manual payment options to help you easily access your retirement savings. The Distributions Options Guide goes over these payment options in more detail.

Remember, it’s crucial that you annually review and update your beneficiary information with MO Deferred Comp, as well as with MOSERS. Keep in mind, you can designate contingent beneficiaries for circumstances when a primary beneficiary precedes you in death. To review your deferred comp beneficiary information, log on to Account Access and navigate to the Personal Information page under the Manage My Account tab.

For more information, visit www.modeferredcomp.org or contact a participant services representative at (800) 392-0925.

Preventing Identity Theft

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I was just notified by my doctor's office that their system was breached by a hacker and that my personal information may have been stolen.
How can I make sure the hackers don't try to get my pension check?
To protect our members’ personal information, MOSERS follows best practices and industry guidelines regarding the handling of and access to member data and we routinely participate in security audits to ensure we keep up with technology. That being said, identity theft and data breaches are a real threat so we encourage our members to be vigilant and active in taking steps to protect themselves, too.

You should routinely change your password if you log in to your Member Homepage on the MOSERS website. From www.mosers.org, simply click on the blue Member Login button, then follow the instructions. Also, we recommend that you routinely change your password on any other sites that require one. As part of our security protocol, we send an email to you (at the email address we have on file for you) anytime your account is accessed. If you receive such an email and have not just logged on to your Member Homepage, please notify us immediately.

Alternatively, you may call us, ask to speak with a benefit counselor, and request that your MOSERS online account be locked.  This will prevent you and anyone else from accessing your information online. If you call MOSERS, the benefit counselor will ask questions to verify your identity. 
Here are some additional security tips from an article on our website: 


We hope you find this information helpful.

Pre-Tax Premium Options for Retirees

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If I retire January 1, 2017 my health insurance will be paid out of my Dec. check for the month of January. Can I run my health insurance through the Cafeteria Plan and pay it out of my AL (annual leave payout) for 11 months in 2017, Feb. thru Dec?
(For most state employees, health insurance is administered by Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan [MCHCP] or their employer if they work for Conservation or a state college or university. While we don’t administer health insurance, we hear this question a lot. It is a good question and the answer provides valuable information for retirees. We sent it to MCHCP and are posting their response to ensure we are passing along the most accurate information to readers.)

From MCHCP:

If you are retiring January 1, the answer is yes, because the annual leave payout in this scenario will be distributed on January 31, therefore you will use 2017 funds to pay 2017 premiums using the pre-tax premium option of the cafeteria plan.

Please note:  If your retirement date is December 1, you will not be able to use the pre-tax premium option to prepay the next year’s premiums due to federal guidelines governing the cafeteria plan.

Remember, MOSERS does not administer health insurance - Please contact MCHCP at 800-487-0771,  or contact your health insurance provider, for questions specific to your individual situation.

MSEP 2011 Members & Rule of 80

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Why can't we go back to 80 and out? It is not fair to us just because we did not get hired earlier in our careers. We are getting shorted in every way.
It appears you are referring to the differences in eligibility for normal retirement:

MOSERS Normal Retirement Eligibility for General State Employees by Plan
-Normal Retirement Eligibility is the age and service required to receive an unreduced retirement benefit
MSEP
You are a member if employed in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position prior to 7/1/2000 and vested in MSEP.
MSEP 2000
You are a member if employed in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position prior to July 1, 2000, but left employment before becoming vested and returned to work in a benefit-eligible position any time after July 1, 2000, or first employed in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position on or after July 1, 2000 but prior to January 1, 2011.
MSEP 2011
You are a member if first employed in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position on or after 1/1/2011.
  •     Age 65 with 5 years of service, or
  •  Age 60 with 15 years of service, or
  • “Rule of 80” - at least age 48 with age and service equaling 80 or more
  • Age 62 with 5 years of service, or
  • “Rule of 80” - at least age 48 with age and service equaling  80 or more
Terminated-vested members not eligible for “Rule of 80”
  •     Age 67 with 10 years of service, or
  •     “Rule of 90” - at least age 55 with age and service equaling 90 or more
Terminated-vested members not eligible for “Rule of 90”

In 2010, following the Great Recession, the Missouri Legislature was faced with tough decisions about the state budget. Ultimately, they made changes to retirement benefits for new state employees. (Significant Reforms to State Retirement Systems were made in various other states around the same time and often to a greater degree). The changes made here help to significantly reduce costs to the state while also allowing our state to continue to provide a defined benefit (DB) retirement plan for current and future state employees. In a MOSERS DB plan, once you meet the requirements and retire, you have the security of knowing that you will receive at least that amount every month for life – you won’t outlive your benefit. A DB plan can also help provide financial security for your eligible spouse if you die first. DB plans are now almost unheard of in the private sector and they help our state recruit and retain qualified employees to provide vital state services, which is important to all Missouri residents.

MOSERS administers retirement benefits but we do not have the authority to change plan provisions. Any changes would require passage of legislation by the Missouri General Assembly.