Membership Contributions into the Retirement System (MSRB)

All members-in-service make mandatory pre-tax contributions through payroll deductions.

Notes About Members' Contributions and Account Balance:

State law does not allow you to withdraw or borrow from your annuity savings account under any circumstance, including mortgage down payment, college education or hardship. The only way to access your annuity savings account balance is to leave state service.

The MSRB mails an Annual (Account) Balance Statement to active (and former state employees with an account balance) MSERS (Massachusetts State Employees' Retirement System) members, usually every spring. The statement shows your total balance as of December 31st of the prior year.

If you would like an updated Balance Statement Letter mailed to you, please click here to send an email to the Board to request one. Be sure to include your full name, MSRB ID Number (if you know it) or the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number, and current mailing address.

Please note, due to security reasons, Board staff are not permitted to provide account balances over the phone. Also, it's very important that the MSRB has your current address on file, otherwise you may experience a delay in receiving your annual statement. Active state employees must update their address with their agency's human resources department.

For additional questions, see the Frequently Asked Questions section below.

Contributions by Members-in-Service

State law mandates the contribution rate:

If you joined a system (and remained a member): Your contribution rate:
Prior to January 1, 1975 5%
January 1, 1975 to December 31, 1983 7%
January 1, 1984 to June 30, 1996 8%
July 1, 1996 or later 9%
   

Exceptions to Contribution Rate Include

  • Employees appointed to the State Police on or after July 1, 1996 contribute 12%.
  • If your membership began on or after April 2, 2012, and you are in group 1, if you attain more than 30 years of creditable service, your base contribution rate will be 6% prospectively, that is from and after the date on which you attain the required amount of creditable service. However, the 2% withholding discussed below would also apply.  
  • If your membership began on or after January 1, 1979, and your annual rate of regular compensation is $30,000.00 or more, an additional 2% will be withheld from that portion of your salary that is in excess of $30,000.00. This 2% withholding is in addition to the 6%, 7%, 8%, 9%, or 12% already being deducted from your regular compensation.

Example

You became a member-in-service in 1991 and your regular rate of compensation is $40,000.00.

Deductions in the amount of 8% of $40,000.00 will be taken (totaling $3,200.00) and deductions in the amount of 2% of $10,000.00 ($40,000.00 minus $30,000.00) will also be taken (totaling $200.00).

Your annual contributions will be $3,400.00, which will be taken from your rate of regular compensation on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis (as determined by your pay period.)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is my current contributions account balance?

    The MSRB mails an Annual Balance Statement to active MSERS (Massachusetts State Employees' Retirement System) members, usually every spring. The statement shows your total balance as of December 31st of the prior year. If you would like an updated Balance Statement Letter mailed to you, please click here to send an email to the Board to request one. Please note, due to security reasons, Board staff are not permitted to provide account balances over the phone.

  • Can I borrow money from my retirement account now and pay it back later?

    No, state law does not allow you to withdraw or borrow from your annuity savings account under any circumstance, including mortgage down payment or college education. The only way to access your money is to leave state service.

  • Each time I receive my paycheck, I notice it shows a deduction for retirement. What happens to these deductions?

    Active state employees contribute a percentage of their gross salary toward retirement (the percentage depends on their date of entry into service). The Board establishes and maintains a retirement account which represents both:

    1. contributions deducted from your paycheck by your payroll, and

    2. regular interest earned on your prior year’s ending balance. The interest   rate is set by PERAC, in consultation with the Division of Banks.

  • Why do I pay a higher percentage toward my retirement than some other employees?

    Contribution to the state retirement system is determined by your most recent entry into the system (see contribution rate). Members who re-enter the system with funds on deposit or who transfer from another contributory retirement system maintain their former contribution level.

  • Who invests my money?

    Your contributions are pooled with those of other active members and are invested in the Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT). PRIT is a pooled investment fund that invests the pension reserve assets of the State Employees’ Retirement System and State Teachers’ Retirement Systems.

    The nine-member Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board, chaired by the State Treasurer manages the PRIT Fund.

  • What does "vested" mean?

    Being vested means you are eligible to receive a retirement allowance. You are vested in the State system if you have at least ten years of full-time service. To be eligible to retire, you need to meet one of the following conditions:

    1. 20 years of full-time creditable service at any age, or

    2. attain the age of 55 with ten years of creditable service if you entered service prior to April 2, 2012, or

    3. attain the age of 60 with ten years of creditable service if you entered service on or after April 2, 2012.

  • What if I leave state service after I am vested but before I am old enough to retire?

    If you leave state service after you are vested, you may leave your retirement contributions in the system and receive a state pension once you reach the age requirement. For more information, please visit our Leaving State Service web page.

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