What happens to the money that I contribute to the System?
Can I borrow money from my retirement account now and pay it back later?
Can I receive a refund of my contributions, and will I get interest on those contributions?
When am I eligible to retire?
What are the factors used to determine my retirement allowance?
What is the maximum retirement allowance that I can receive?
Are there any additional benefits to which I am entitled?
Am I required to become a member of the System?
How much do members contribute to the Retirement System?
What does the term "vested" mean? When am I considered vested?
Q: What happens to the money that I contribute to the System?
A: Once you become a member of the System, an Annuity Savings Account is established on your behalf. Your employer deducts your retirement contributions and forwards them to the System, which in turn deposits your contributions into your Annuity Savings Account. Your contributions, plus any accumulated interest, are credited directly to your account. Each year, the Board issues a statement to all its active members that reflects the yearly and total contributions and interest credited to the account.
Q: Can I borrow money from my retirement account now and pay it back later?
A: No. Under state law, your retirement account has no provisions for withdrawal under any circumstance.
Q: Can I receive a refund of my contributions, and will I get interest on those contributions?
A: You may receive a refund of your total contributions if you have officially resigned your position and it is not your intent to accept another position of employment that requires membership in another Massachusetts contributory retirement system. If you voluntarily leave employment that began after January 1, 1984 and have less than 5 years of service, no interest will be refunded to you. If you have served between five and ten years, you will receive half of the interest credited to your account. If you have over ten years of service, all of the interest will be refunded to you. Also, if you are removed or discharged, you will receive interest regardless of the years of service.
It is important to note that if you receive a refund of your retirement contributions, we are required to withhold 20% for your federal tax liability. Alternatively, you can have the entire retirement contribution “Rollover” into a tax-qualified IRA.
Q: When am I eligible to retire?
A: You are eligible to retire at age 55 or older if you have at least ten years of creditable service. If you have 20 years of service, you can retire at any age.
Q: What are the factors used to determine my retirement allowance?
A: The factors used to determine your benefit are: your age at the time of retirement, your amount of creditable service, your group classification and an average of your three highest years of regular compensation.
Q: What is the maximum retirement allowance that I can receive?
A: The maximum benefit you can receive is 80% of your three highest consecutive years of regular compensation.
Q: Are there any additional benefits to which I am entitled?
A: If you are a veteran as defined in the Massachusetts General Laws, a veteran’s credit will be added to your retirement allowance. The amount of this credit will equal $15 per year for each year of creditable service you have accrued, not to exceed 20 years or $300. You will receive this additional benefit even if you are already at the maximum, or if the additional $300 puts your total allowance over the 80% maximum.
Q: Am I required to become a member of the System?
A: Membership in the Bristol County Retirement Systems is a statutory requirement for all employees in the listed member units who work at least 20 hours per week; only elected officials have the option whether to join the System.
Q: How much do members contribute to the Retirement System?
A: The amount you contribute to the System each year is set by statute, and it is determined by your date of membership in the System. The following will outline the contribution rates based on the current statute:
Date of Entry into the System Percentage
Before January 1, 1975 5%
January 1, 1975 – December 31, 1983 7%
January 1, 1984 – June 30, 1996 8%
After June 30, 1996 9%
In addition to the above percentages, a member who first enters the system on or after January 1, 1979 must contribute an additional 2% of his/her salary in excess of $30,000. This 2% is in addition to the seven, eight or nine percent that is already being deducted from total regular compensation.
Q: What does the term "vested" mean? When am I considered vested?
A: Vesting is a term commonly used to signify the right to a retirement allowance at a later date. Vested benefits are those benefits that a member is entitled to today, not based on additional service. You are vested in the Bristol County Retirement System once you have accumulated the equivalent of 10 years of full-time service.
Last revised: 9/8/2004 3:15:42 PM