Membership in the Legislators Plan is mandatory if you were first elected to the Minnesota Legislature before June 30, 1997. Legislators elected after that date are members of the Unclassified Retirement Plan.
You can be a member of another Minnesota public employees plan for other public service while you are a member of the Legislators Retirement Plan.
The Legislators Retirement Plan provides full retirement benefits at age 62, and reduced benefits at age 55. Once you retire, you receive a monthly retirement benefit for life with potential post-retirement increases. Depending on the option you select at retirement, your survivors may be eligible to receive a lifetime survivor benefit upon your death. The plan also provides survivor benefits for your spouse or dependent children if you die before you retire.
Legislators contribute 9% of gross salary to the retirement plan. This percentage rate is established in Minnesota state law.
The annual expense allowances (per diem) provided during regular and special session is subject to retirement deductions. Additional salary to legislative leadership positions has no retirement deductions nor is it used in your monthly benefit calculation.
Your employee deductions are paid into the state's General Fund; however, MSRS maintains records on amounts you have contributed.
Calculating your retirement benefit is a simple formula defined in Minnesota law. The first piece we consider is the length of service. Then we calculate the high-five average salary. We take these two pieces and apply it to a benefit formula to determine the retirement benefit.
Other factors that determine the monthly benefit are the retirement age and the survivor benefit option selected at retirement.
To learn more about how the retirement benefit is calculated, see:
Many state employees have worked, or will someday work, for a Minnesota city, county, or school district. If you are covered by another Minnesota public retirement plan, this may combine with your service as a state employee. We call this a Combined Service Annuity (CSA).
Under CSA law, the various public retirement plans work together so you get credit for all of your service. Be sure to notify MSRS if you have service with another Minnesota public pension plan.
MINNESOTA PLANS COVERED UNDER CSA LAW
- Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS)
- Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA)
- Teachers Retirement Association (TRA)
- St. Paul Teachers Retirement Fund Association (SPTRFA)
- Duluth Teachers Retirement Fund Association (DTRFA)
Important! When you switch public employers in Minnesota, your contributions and service credit are not rolled into the new plan. The service credit earned will remain with the fund that the service was earned. When you retire, you will receive a check from each public retirement association.
HOW COMBINED SERVICE WORKS
Your service with other Minnesota public pension plans counts for benefit eligibility. You need six years of service to quality for monthly retirement or survivor. If you have two years covered by PERA, and four years under the Legislators Plan, you would be eligible for monthly benefits.
In addition to having the service credit work together, all Minnesota public pension plans use the same high-five average salary to calculate monthly benefits. For example, if you have 12 years covered by the Legislators Plan, and 8 years of previous employment covered by PERA, it is likely that your current salary is higher than when you contributed to PERA. In this example, PERA will use your legislator's high-five average salary to calculate benefits based on the 8 years of PERA service. If your high-five average salary was higher using the PERA service, then MSRS would use the PERA high-five salary.
When you retire, you will receive a check from both public retirement plans.
Your monthly retirement benefit stops.
If a balance remains in your account, it is paid, as follows: to beneficiary, then spouse, then children in equal shares, then parents in equal shares, then estate.
Your surviving spouse is eligible for a monthly survivor benefit. Payment to your spouse begins the month following your death.
Payment of the survivor benefit is paid to the children's guardian, or the child(ren).
Payment continues to your dependent child until age 18, or age 22 if the child is a full-time student of an accredited school. The oldest dependent child is entitled to 25% of your monthly benefit earned at the date of death, and each additional child receives 12.5% of your monthly benefits.
The maximum family benefit is 100% of the monthly benefit you would have been eligible for full retirement at the date of your death.
Your beneficiary, or if none, your estate, will receive a lump-sum refund of your deductions plus interest compounded annually.
To name a beneficiary, complete a Beneficiary Designation form (pdf). A beneficiary designation is effective upon receipt by MSRS and supersedes all prior designations. A valid beneficiary designation must be on file with MSRS prior to your death.