What Types of Maryland State Pensions are offered?
The state of Maryland offers both a state-funded retirement plan for qualifying public employees in a variety of categories. The benefits for each program may vary slightly based on the employees’ position within the state. The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System or SRPS offers retirement benefits for a variety of classifications including:
- State Police and Law Enforcement employees- Law Enforcement employees have a mandatory 7% contribution, supplemental benefits available for elected additional contributions. State Police officers are required to contribute 8% of payroll with additional options for contributions to elected supplement benefits available.
- General employees and Teachers– Plan A, B or C electives available. Plan A contributions are 7%, Plan B 5% and Plan C pay 2% for CPS or 5% for non-CPS benefits. Elective supplemental benefits are available with employee chosen contributions. However, a 5$ bi-weekly minimum contribution is required
- Correctional officers– 5% contribution from employees, optional additional contributions to private accounts through payroll deductions chosen by employee are also available
- Judges– 6% employee contribution from payroll
- Legislative– 5% employee contribution if enrolled within first six months of office
- Optional Retirement Plan– is available only for those members that are faculty or administration in higher education institutions and community colleges. 7% employee contribution is required
Benefits per Retirement Classification in SRPS Programs
Depending on the employees’ position held in the state, the benefit details vary. This may include such aspects as retirement age, vesting, benefits calculations and optional benefits. The following comparisons show an overview of each plans’ benefit programs:
General State Employees and Teachers- Minimum vesting periods for retirement is 5 years service credit this includes bon a fide retirees returning to work and benefits can begin after reaching age 60. Full benefit retirement may be taken:
- At age 60 as long five year vesting has been completed
- After 30 years of service credit has been reached
Employees may also elect disability retirement, disability leave and survivor benefit options at the time of enrollment in the program.
State Police- Vesting period is 10 years service credit after July 11, 2011 or 5 years of service credit for enrollment before July 11, 2011. Benefits are calculated by allotting 2.55% of the final average wage for every year of service up to 28 years.
- Disability and death benefits available through several choice options
Correctional Officers- Full benefit retirement can be taken at several periods:
- Age 55 with at least 5 years service in various detention facilities, correctional enterprises or in plant management
- Age 60 with at least 5 years service credit as a security attendant for Hospital centers
- Any age after the 20 years vesting period have been completed
Benefit amounts are calculated based on the final average salary and number of credited years in service. Disability plans as well as survivor benefit choices are also chosen at the time the employee enrolls.
Law Enforcement Employees- Vesting periods are determined based on the date of enrollment. For those employees that enrolled before July 1, 2011 a five year vesting period is required. Those enrolled after July 1, 2011 vesting is a minimum of 10 years service. Benefits may begin:
- At age 50 once vesting periods have been reached
- After 25 years of credited service at any age
Disability and survivor benefit options are chosen at the time of enrollment by employees.
Judges- Retirement begins at a minimum age of 60. Benefits are calculated based on years in service as an active judge and final salary in the position. Judges vesting period is maxed at 16 years of credited service.
- 6 options are available for survivor benefits based on employee preference.
- Disability benefits are available to qualifying employees for options both before and after vesting periods have been reached
Legislative- Full benefits begin when the employee reaches age 60 with the minimum vesting period of 8 years. Employees reach the maximum amount of benefit years at 22.25 years of employment with a cap of 2/3 the final salary income. Those employees retiring between the 8 year vesting periods and before the maximum has been reached, benefit payouts are calculated based on average salary and years in service.
- Disability benefits are available in a range of options, as well as survivor benefits in the event of death both during employment and after retirement.
Optional Benefit plan for public teachers in higher learning and community colleges
Two options are available alternatively to the main state pension for those teachers and administrative staff in Higher learning environment such as University and community college. Employees may choose from two options:
Teachers Reformed Contribution Pension System- guarantees a benefit amount that is calculated based on the years of credible service and average final wages. No risk investments in this plan. Eligibility for retirement is based on the employees calculated age and years of employment combined and full benefits may be taken when the total reaches 90.
Optional Retirement Program- guarantees state contributions to the fund of 7.25% and benefit amount is based on the amount accumulated through contributions. Employee assumes all investment risks in this system. Benefits may begin after the employee officially terminates employment and depending on factors may be subject to federal penalty taxes.
Cost of Living and inflation protection and what is the level for 2012, 13 and 14
- For legislative employees and judges- Each time the average salary for active employees within a division of the retirement plans increases, retirees in the same plan have their benefits recalculated.
- State police officers, teachers, general state employees, law enforcement and correctional officers have their retirement benefits re-evaluated yearly in July. Benefits are increased based on inflation to assist with the upkeep of daily living.