One of the most common questions we hear at SERS is, "What does it mean to be vested?"
Being "vested" means that you have earned the right to receive a monthly payment when you retire. It also means that your beneficiaries can receive certain benefits if you die while you are still working.
In general, your ability to vest in SERS is based on the number of years you work. (There are some differences associated with certain types of military leave.)
According to the Retirement Code, depending on your class of service, you must work for a SERS-participating employer and make contributions for five or 10 years in order to qualify for a pension. You may qualify for monthly payments faster - in just three years - if you retire from state service and have already reached the SERS normal retirement age for your class of service.
Not Everyone Vests
Once You Vest
You can choose to continue to work for a SERS-participating employer and increase the years of service used in your pension formula until you retire. If you work at least until you reach the SERS normal retirement age for your class of service, you will receive a full pension. If you choose to retire before then, your pension will be reduced based on how much younger you are when you retire.
If you leave state employment before you want to retire, you are welcome to become a "vestee." That is, you can leave all of the contributions you made in SERS. The money will continue to accrue 4% interest until you choose to retire and your monthly benefit will continue to grow as you get closer to your SERS normal retirement age.
Please call 1.800.633.5461 to learn more.