State Employee Members
As a MainePERS State member, staying informed throughout your career means you can make the most out of your retirement. The Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS) was established to administer certain benefits that are available to employees of the State of Maine who are members of the System.
Download the State Member Handbook from the link below for a general summary of the benefits available. The information in this handbook provides an overview of the main areas of interest within the plan.
The Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS) was established to administer certain benefits that are available to employees of the State of Maine who are members of the System. For a general summary of the benefits available, see MainePERS Benefits for State Employees. Below is information on main areas of interest within the plan:
You can request a summary of your MainePERS account any time using the Information Request page or you can call or e-mail our Retirement Services department. The summary shows your current contribution and retirement service credit totals, your vested status, general retirement plan eligibility information, and your normal retirement age.
Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)
If your normal retirement age (NRA) is 60, you’re eligible to have a COLA applied to future benefit payments beginning the September following your first 12 months of receiving payments. If your NRA is 62, you are eligible to receive COLA the September after your 63rd birthday. If your NRA is 65, it will be the September after you turn 66. Click here for a summary of this year’s COLA in your plan.
See the Disability section of this website for information about the Disability Retirement program.
Group Life Insurance
The MainePERS Group Life Insurance program is available to State employees whose employers participate in the program, and whose positions are eligible for coverage. If you complete an application for Group Life Insurance coverage within the first 31 days of becoming eligible, you may select coverage for yourself and your dependents without having to show evidence of insurability. Additional information can be found in the Group Life Insurance section on this Web site.
Health Insurance and MainePERS
MainePERS does not administer health or dental insurance. Contact your health insurance program for questions regarding health insurance. Click here for a reference list of these organizations.
Certain events in your life may affect your retirement or beneficiary designations. It is important that you notify MainePERS immediately when the following life changing events occur:
- Termination of employment
- Birth/adoption of a child
- Marriage, divorce, legal separation, annulment
- Death of spouse or dependent
- An employment status change for you
- A court order results in the gain or loss of a dependent
Note: To ensure that all information is up-to-date, members should periodically review their Designation of Beneficiary forms for both pre-retirement death benefits and Group Life Insurance.
As a State employee, you must become a member of MainePERS when you are hired. The major exception is for elected and appointed officials, for whom membership is optional.
As a member, you contribute a percentage of your earnings to MainePERS, and these contributions earn interest at a rate set by MainePERS Board of Trustees. The percentage you contribute depends on which membership category applies to you. State employees covered by the regular plan contribute 7.65% of their gross earnable compensation.
For those covered under special retirement plans, refer to the tables in the State Member Handbook. Your MainePERS membership ends upon your retirement, upon your death, or if you take a refund of your contributions.
MainePERS members who are on a leave of absence from their MainePERS-covered positions to serve in the uniformed services of the United States have, under federal and State law, specific protections, or eligibility for protections, with respect to their MainePERS membership and related benefits. Download Leave of Absence for Military Service Fact Sheet.
Purchasing Service Credit
As a contributing member of MainePERS, you may be eligible to purchase additional service credit. There are eligibility and verification requirements in order to make these purchases. For more information, please see the State Member Handbook.
QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order)
The purpose of a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is to permit a retirement system to make direct payment to the party who is not the member, retiree, or beneficiary of the system. Direct payment by MainePERS is not possible, even if the court awards an interest in the benefits to the non-member or retiree, unless the court enters an order that MainePERS determines is “qualified.” Also, even if the order is a qualified domestic relations order, no payment will be made to the former spouse until an amount is payable to the MainePERS member or retiree or beneficiary. A qualified domestic relations order does not entitle the former spouse to immediate payment of the portion of the benefit awarded to him or her by the court. Click here for more information on QDRO.
You qualify to receive a benefit once you have at least 25 years of service credit.
You qualify to receive a benefit upon reaching your normal retirement age of 60, 62 or 65, whether or not you are in service, provided that you have earned creditable service of 5 or 10 years, whichever amount is applicable to you.
You qualify to receive a benefit upon reaching your normal retirement age of 60, 62 or 65, provided you have earned at least one year of service credit immediately prior to your retirement.
For more information on eligibility and qualification to receive a service retirement benefit, please see the State Member Handbook.
Social Security and MainePERS
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.
The relevant Social Security provisions are the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), which are Social Security benefits for your own work; and, the Government Pension Offset (GPO), which are Social Security benefits as a spouse or widow(er).
Neither Maine law nor MainePERS policies cause the effects of these provisions. The effects result from federal law administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). To obtain information about any effect of receiving MainePERS benefits on your Social Security benefits, please contact SSA directly.
Social Security Administration (Augusta Office)
Fax: (207) 622-8398
Taking a Refund of Your Contributions
IIf you terminate all your MainePERS-covered employment, you may apply for a refund. The Refund Application Package includes information to consider before making a decision to request a refund. By refunding your contributions, you give up your rights to any MainePERS benefits. Since it may not be in your best interest to withdraw your contributions, we suggest you investigate the pros and cons of taking a refund. For more information, see “Taking a Refund” in the State Member handbook.
Unused Sick Leave and Vacation Leave
For some members, payment for a maximum of 30 days of unused sick and/or vacation leave can be included in the calculation of their AFC. (For purposes of this provision, “a day” is considered your normal working day, up to a maximum of eight hours.)
This applies to those State employees who:
- had 10 or more years of service as of July 1, 1993, or
- had reached age 60 before July 1, 1993, and had been in service for at least one year before July 1, 1993.
You may be able to include payment for a maximum of 30 days of unused sick and/or vacation leave at your final termination from MainePERS-covered employment, in the calculation of your AFC. For purposes of this provision, a “day” is considered your normal working day, up to a maximum of eight hours. However, please note that if the employer makes such a payment as a retirement incentive/bonus, MainePERS will not include it in the amount of earnable compensation used in the calculation of your AFC. For more information on retirement incentives, see the section titled “Retirement Incentives” the State Member Handbook.
If your final termination from MainePERS-covered employment was before October 1, 1999, you must have at least 10 years of service credit in order to be eligible to draw a benefit at normal retirement age.
If your final termination from MainePERS-covered employment is after September 30, 1999, you must have at least 5 years of service credit in order to be eligible to draw a benefit at normal retirement age.