To our Members and Retirees:
We continue to hope you and your family are safe and healthy. We are updating this section of our website with the questions most frequently asked by our members and retirees.
Thank You for Your Patience as We Practice Social Distancing
Thank you for your patience as we do our part to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Although our offices will remain closed to the public through the summer, we are operational and providing all of the services you need by working remotely. Please contact us by phone at 207-512-3100 or send an email to [email protected]. Please include your name and phone number, but do not include your Social Security number in your message.
Unemployment fraud is one of the fastest growing criminal activities coming out of the coronavirus environment. The Maine Department of Labor is working to combat this fraud. If an unemployment claim has been fraudulently filed on your behalf, you can report it to Maine DOL at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/.
MainePERS takes multiple precautions to protect your personal information and your retirement account. We appreciate our members and retirees patience as we verify your identity, and work to make sure we are sending your information only to you.
We can add a note to your MainePERS file as an extra precaution that you have had a fraudulent unemployment claim filed on your behalf. Please call us at 207-512-3100.
Does the Market Volatility Change My Retirement Check?
Your monthly retirement payment does not change with market volatility. Your benefit is fixed when you retire, and is increased after that by cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). The way your COLA works depends on which MainePERS defined benefit retirement plan you are in. More information on how your COLA works can be found here.
MainePERS defined benefit plans are pre-funded. That is, money is set aside in a trust fund today to pay your benefit in the future. Currently, all of the pension plans MainePERS administers are pre-funded at 82% or higher, which place our plans as some of best funded public plans in the country. While we are always working toward having our plans 100% funded, market ups and downs do change the pre-funding level of the plans. Market downturns such as the one we are currently experiencing do not change our ability to pay your retirement benefits. Your benefits will continue to be paid.
Market gains and losses do affect your 457, 403b or other defined contribution plan balances. We encourage you to seek the assistance of a professional advisor before withdrawing funds or changing your asset allocation in your defined contribution plan in a market loss situation. If you are a participant in one of our MaineSTART defined contribution plans, please submit any questions to [email protected].
Can I Withdraw My Defined Benefit Contributions if I’m No Longer Employed? Am I Eligible for Coronavirus Tax Benefits?
Yes. You can withdraw your contributions and the interest earned on those contributions. You may be entitled to special tax treatment if you meet the requirements for a “coronavirus-related distribution.” This special treatment includes lower federal tax withholding and not having the 10% early withdrawal penalty that usually applies if you take a refund under age 59½. You can read more information on whether or not you qualify here.
Can I Withdraw My Defined Benefit Contributions While I’m Still Employed?
No. Members may only withdraw their contributions and discontinue membership in our defined benefit retirement plans after terminating employment. There is no special allowance for this related to the coronavirus crisis.