Before You Join Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean to be vested?
A: Being vested means you have met the requirements to receive a monthly benefit at normal retirement age under your plan. In order to be vested, members in service on or after October 1, 1999, must have five years of creditable service. Any member whose last date of MainePERS service was before October 1, 1999, must have 10 years of creditable service to become vested.
What are my options when I leave my MainePERS covered employment?
A: If you are leaving your current employment for employment with an employer that has coverage under MainePERS, call or e-mail MainePERS to discuss how this change may affect your benefit.
If you stop working in a MainePERS-covered job, you may apply for a refund, or you may leave your contributions in the System. If you are not vested, MainePERS will refund your account balance to you three years after you terminate, unless you instruct us to leave your funds on account with MainePERS.
If you leave your contributions in the System and are vested, you can draw a benefit when you reach normal retirement age. Call or e-mail our Retirement Services department to find out your vested status and the normal retirement age for your plan.
Can I buy time toward my retirement and receive additional service credit?
I am going to receive service retirement benefits from MainePERS and Social Security. How will this affect me?
A: The amount of your MainePERS service retirement benefit is not affected by the amount of your Social Security retirement benefits.
If you are eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits, either because you worked in a Social Security-covered job or because your deceased spouse did, the amount of your Social Security benefit may be affected by your receipt of a MainePERS benefit. (See Windfall Elimination Provisions and Government Pension Offset)
How does MainePERS determine the amount of my retirement benefit?
A: We determine your benefit using the formula specific to your retirement plan. In general, your retirement benefit is based on:
– Average of your three highest years of earnings
– Years of creditable service
– Age at retirement
You can find general information about the benefit calculation formula in each Plan specific handbook or for greater detail, please call our MainePERS Retirement Services department at 1-800-451-9800, or e-mail at:
State Employees, Legislators and Judges: [email protected]
Teacher Members: [email protected]
Participating Local District members: [email protected]
Are there Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA) in MainePERS plans?
A: Beginning the September following your first 12 months of receiving retirement benefit payments, you may be eligible to have a COLA applied to future benefit payments. Please see Plan specific information.
When can I retire?
A: When you can retire depends on your retirement plan.
Normal retirement age varies by plan:
State and Teacher Members:
Normal retirement age is 60 if, before July 1, 1993, you had:
– at least 10 years of service credit or,
– reached age 60 and had at least a year of service credit immediately prior to reaching age 60.
Normal retirement age is 62 if:
– before July 1, 1993, you had:
– less than 10 years of service credit and
– not reached age 60 with at least a year of service credit.
– before July 1, 2011, you had:
– at least 5 years of service credit or,
– reached age 62 and had at least a year of service credit immediately prior to reaching age 62.
Normal retirement age is 65 if, before July 1, 2011, you had:
– less than 5 years of service credit and
– not reached age 62 with at least a year of service credit.
Normal retirement age is the age at which you can retire without your benefit being subject to an early retirement reduction. If you are covered by a regular retirement plan, and you participated in the Consolidated Plan on or before June 30, 2014, your normal retirement age is 60. If your first date of MainePERS membership as a PLD member in the Consolidated Plan is on or after July 1, 2014, your normal retirement age is 65. Changing employers within the Consolidated Plan does not make you a “new” member under this provision.
If you are covered by a special retirement plan, see the tables in the back of the PLD Member Handbook which indicates the normal retirement age that applies to your plan.
You can find additional information on this website at While Working, by phone at 1-800-451-9800, or by e-mail at:
State Employees, Legislators and Judges – [email protected]
Teacher Members – [email protected]
Participating Local District members – [email protected]
What is available to my survivors if I die before retiring?
A: If you are a member in service at the time of death of MainePERS and in service, or are receiving a disability benefit from MainePERS, the beneficiary you designated on your Pre-Retirement Death Beneficiary form will choose from available death benefit options. Eligibility for each option varies. Depending on their eligibility, your beneficiary(ies) will choose from:
- A monthly benefit calculated as if you retired on the day you died. This option provides the same benefit to your beneficiary as it would have provided you in retirement; or,
- A lump sum refund of all your contributions and interest; or,
- A Survivor Benefit, which is a monthly benefit payment in an amount set by law. Eligibility for and the amount of a survivor benefit is based on the relationship between you and your beneficiary.
MainePERS is available to assist your beneficiaries in understanding each benefit option.