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10-Year Certain and Life

You receive a benefit for your lifetime with a minimum guarantee of 120 monthly payments (10 years). After you die, your survivor receives any payments that remain from the 120 you were guaranteed to receive.

Accrued Benefit

The annual benefit that would be payable at the Member’s Normal Retirement Date based on Average Final Compensation, Primary Social Security Amount at Age 62, and Creditable Service if an Active Member terminated employment in vested status at the date the Accrued Benefit is determined. If the Member has already terminated employment, then the Accrued Benefit is based on the actual termination date of the Member.

Active Member/Participant

An Employee who does not have an option in effect to opt out of the Plan, who has not incurred a separation from service, and who meets the criteria to participate in the Plan.

A Member is employed with a county in an eligible position.

Annuity

A form of payment under which regular monthly installments are made to a retired participant in accordance with the terms of this plan.

Average Final Compensation

The average of the two highest years of annual compensation during which the employee has creditable service.  The years do not have to be consecutive.  Any lump sum payment attributable to services for prior year(s) will not be included when calculating average final compensation.  (See also 16 CSR 50-2.050(1).)

Beneficiary

The person, persons, or legal entity entitled to receive benefits under this plan which become payable in the event of the participant’s death.

Break in Service

Any time period where the participant is not employed by a county for more than 30 days.

COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment)

An annual increase in the retirement benefit of the lesser of 1% and the February increase in CPI with the increase to take effect each July.  The first increase will occur in the year following retirement so long as the retiree has been receiving benefits for at least one year on July 1st .  The total of all increases shall not exceed 50% of the initial benefit.  (See also 16 CSR 50-2.140.)

Commencement Date

(1) The first day of the first period for which an amount is payable as an annuity; (2) In the case of a benefit not payable in the form of an annuity, the first day on which all events have occurred which entitle the participant to such benefit; or (3) In the case of a deferred annuity, the annuity starting date is the date for which the annuity payments are to commence, not the date that the deferred annuity is elected.

Compensation

All compensation payable to a county employee for personal services rendered as a county employee as shown on the Form W-2, including regular wages, salary, vacation, sick leave, overtime, bonuses, etc.

·         Plus, contributions picked up under Internal Revenue Code section 414(h), and amounts excludable from the Employee’s taxable income under Code sections 125, 401(g)(3), and 457.

·         Minus, travel and mileage reimbursement and compensation in excess of the Code section 401(a)(17) limit.

(See also 16 CSR 50-2.010(1)(K).)

Consultant

Someone who terminated employment with a county between January 1, 1990 and August 27, 1994 with eight or more years of creditable service.  (See also "Special Consultant" definition.)

Continuous Service

Time period of thirty (30) days or less between an employee's termination from one county and the rehire date of the employee at that or another county.

Creditable Service

Period of service as a county Employee including Prior Service. 

·         Full-time Employees are tied to full months.  Partial months will be accumulated where 30 days equals one month.  Any leftover days count as one additional month.  Absences due to sickness or injury of less than 12 months are also included.

·         Elected and appointed county officials receive one year for each year in office.

·         Part-time Employees receive the lesser of one (1) full year (or twelve (12) months) or the actual number of months worked if they complete at least 1,000 Hours of Service in a Plan Year.  If less than 1,000 Hours of Service, then the number of hours will be divided by 91 to arrive at the number of creditable service months earned.  This number shall be rounded to the nearest whole number of months.  Part-time employees cannot receive credit for more months than the actual number of months worked.

·        Seasonal Employees receive the lesser of one (1) full year (or twelve (12) months) or the actual number of months worked if they complete at least 1,000 Hours of Service in a Plan Year.  If less than 1,000 Hours of Service, the number of hours will be divided by 91 to arrive at the number of creditable service months earned.  This number shall be rounded to the nearest whole number of months.  Seasonal Employees cannot receive credit for more months than the actual number of months worked.

Special rules apply to those who are Special Consultants and Rehires.  Creditable service is calculated at December 31, 1999 and at actual termination.  It is also divided into Non-LAGERS and LAGERS service. See section 414(u) of the Internal Revenue Code for rules regarding military service. 

Deceased

Member is deceased.

Early Retirement Benefit

The Normal Retirement Benefit multiplied by the Early Retirement Factor.

Early Retirement Date

The first of any month following or coincident with attainment of age 55 but less than age 62 and the completion of at least eight years of vesting service and prior to the Normal Retirement Date. In practice, because of the 1,000 hour rules for crediting service, it often takes only 7-1/2 years of service to meet the eight-year requirement.

Early Retirement Factor

The factor applied to the Accrued Benefit to reflect that the benefit will likely be paid over a longer period of time.  The factor used when a participant terminates before age 55 is different than the factor used if the participant terminates after age 55.

Eligibility Date

Date of which employee became eligible for CERF, usually the hire date unless the Employee opted out of the Prior Plan.  The Eligibility Date of a part-time or seasonal Employee is January 1 or July 1 after satisfying the 1,000 Hours of Service requirement in a calendar year.  The Eligibility Date varies according to full-time, part-time or seasonal status:

Full-Time      Hire date unless the Employee opted out of the Prior Plan.

Part-Time     January 1 or July 1 after an Employee satisfies the 1,000 hour requirement in a calendar year and status changes from part-time to full-time.

Seasonal      January 1 or July 1 after an Employee satisfies the 1,000 hour requirement in a calendar year and status changes from seasonal to full-time.

Eligible Non-Contributing Service

Service after an Eligibility Date if required Plan contributions are not withheld for reasons beyond the employee’s control does not count in CERF until it has been purchased.  No penalty or interest is assessed when purchasing this service period.  (See also Excluded Service and Buyback Service.)

Eligible, Refunded in Error

Service by a member in which the appropriate contributions were made, then refunded in error.  This service is not included in the service calculation unless and until it has been repurchased.

Employee

A county elected or appointed officer or employee who satisfies the following criteria:

  • Work and responsibilities are controlled by the County.
  • Compensated directly from county funds.
  • Position requires at least 1,000 hours of service per year (Elected officials are considered to work over 1,000 hours for the purposes of CERF).

Employee does not include:

  • Prosecuting attorneys covered under sections 56.800 to 56.840,
  • Circuit clerks and deputy circuit clerks covered under MOSERS.
  • County sheriffs covered under 57.949 to 57.997 RSMo.
  • Those who receive pay from a county but are subject to hiring, supervision, promotion, or termination by an independent administrative body or authority.

There are sub-categories of Employees as follows:

Former Employee         Someone who no longer meets the definition of an Employee but continues to have benefits payable under the Plan. This would include a retiree currently receiving benefits.

Full-Time Employee     An Employee regularly employed and whose position requires the actual performance of duties during not less than 1,000 Hours of Service per calendar year.  (Elected officials are considered to work over 1,000 hours for the purposes of CERF).

Part-Time Employee     An Employee who works regularly in each of twelve months per calendar year, and whose position requires the performance of duties of more or less than 1,000 Hours of Service in a calendar year.

Seasonal Employee      An Employee, who works intermittently, but less than twelve months during a calendar year and whose position requires the performance of duties of more or less than 1,000 Hours of Service in a calendar year.

Employer

Each county in the state, except any city not within a county and counties of the first classification with a charter form of government.

Excluded Service

Service specifically excluded from Creditable Service, including:

  • Periods of Employment during which the Participant opted out of the Plan and periods excluded under the Prior Plan as a result of the Opt Out.
  • Prior Service of a Former Employee who separated from service prior to January 1, 2000, unless purchased in accordance with the terms of the Prior Plan or purchased by a Special Consultant.
  • Service prior to separation from service if a Participant was not vested at the time.
  • For part-time or seasonal Employees, service prior to the Participant’s Eligibility Date unless the service is purchased in accordance with the rules applicable to part-time or seasonal Employees.
  • Service prior to a stint in uniformed service (see section 414(u) of the Internal Revenue Code) unless no contributions were payable during Military Service due to hire date and LAGERS status.

First Benefit Cycle

The date on which a retiree’s benefit payments are first paid, irrespective as to commencement date.  The First Benefit Cycle (FBC) may never be prior to the commencement date.

Forfeited Service

Service after August 28, 1994 that is forfeited due to a member terminating non-vested.  This service may be repurchased to become creditable if employee is rehired.  Generally this is also the service code for members who have not made contributions or for whom the county has not made contributions and terminate non-vested.   This is Creditable Service that is forfeited because an Employee terminates before completing the 8-years of service requirement to be vested.  This definition applies equally to LAGERS and Non-LAGERS Employees.

Full-Time Employee

An Employee whose performance of duties requires not less than 1,000 Hours of Service per calendar year.  Elected officials are considered to work over 1,000 hours for the purposes of CERF.

Hire Date

The date that an employee begins actual employment with an employer.

Hour of Service

For vesting purposes, each hour for which an Employee is paid or entitled to payment for performance of duties for the Employer.  An Hour of Service is credited for a Plan Year in accordance with the following rules:

  • One hour is credited for each regular, vacation, and sick hour for which a Participant is paid.
  • Hours are credited for military leave based on the average hours worked in the twelve months prior to the leave.
  • Overtime hours are credited in the manner they are accounted for in the respective county payroll records.

Ineligible PCS

Prior creditable service that is not eligible to be included in service calculation.

Ineligible PCS Awarded

Service prior to August 28, 1994 that would otherwise be considered Creditable Service except for the following reasons:

Prior creditable service awarded but service is ineligible to be counted in CERF. This PCS is awarded because the member met the criteria to have the PCS awarded by being employed on June 10, 1999 and continued working through January 1, 2000.  An example would be someone who had prior creditable service but has a period of service for which they owe contributions (i.e. eligible non-contributing).  Another example is someone who terminated non-vested. Prior Creditable Service Awarded would be changed to Ineligible PCS Awarded.

Joint and Survivor

A reduced monthly benefit for a retiree's lifetime, with a named survivor to receive a percentage of that benefit for his or her lifetime, after the retiree's death.

LAGERS

Local Government Employees Retirement System.  When used as an employee designation it means the employee is eligible for LAGERS.  An employee with this designation makes contributions at a different rate than a Non-LAGERS employee.  When used as a county designation it means the county’s employees are eligible for LAGERS if certain hour requirements are met.

Leave of Absence (Medical)

Service by an employee for an approved medical leave.  The member continues to accrue creditable service for a period of time approved by the county not to exceed 12 months.

Leave of Absence (Military)

Service by an employee for approved military leave.  The member continues to accrue vesting and creditable service for the period of military service as long as the required contributions are paid.  Contributions due are to be based on average monthly pay received in the twelve months prior to military leave. 

Leave of Absence (Other)

Service by an employee for an approved leave of absence.  The member does not accrue service for this period. 

Level Income

This option is available to those retiring prior to age 62 and provides a level income benefit (from this plan and Social Security) throughout retirement.  The CERF benefit will be greater before age 62 but reduce at age 62.

Level Income with Survivor

A combination of level income and joint and survivor annuity options.  This causes a greater adjustment to the initial pension than if you choose only one of the two options.

Member

An active or former employee who is eligible for CERF benefits.  CERF membership may be broken down into two c ategories as follows:

Active Member         An Employee who does not have an option in effect to opt out of the Plan, who has not incurred a separation from service, and who meets the criteria to participate in the Plan. 

Inactive Member      Anyone who is not an Active Member and who still has rights to benefits under the Plan.  This would include a terminated employee with vested rights to a Plan benefit in the future. 

Membership Service

Creditable service on and after August 28, 1994.  Membership Service generally refers to the service that is counted toward meeting the 8-year requirement to be vested. At some points, Membership Service is used synonymously with Creditable Service. For example, the Missouri Statute says that a Participant is not vested if he or she leaves employment prior to completion of at least 8 years of Creditable Service.

A Participant must work at least 1,000 Hours of Service in a Plan Year to be enrolled in the plan. However, a Full-Time Employee is enrolled from the time he or she becomes an Employee if employment is expected to result in 1,000 Hours of Service.

An Employee who becomes a Participant must complete at least 1,000 Hours of Service in a Plan Year to receive one year of Vesting Service.

A Participant only receives a year of service for vesting if he or she receives Creditable Service for the months in the Plan Year during which Hours of Service were earned.

(See also "Hour of Service" for the manner in which Hours of Service are credited.)

Non-LAGERS

When used as an employee designation it means an employee who is not eligible to participate in LAGERS, either because the county has no LAGERS coverage or the employee's hours do not meet LAGERS minimum.  An employee with this designation makes contributions at a different rate than a LAGERS employee.  When used as a county designation it means the county’s employees are not eligible for LAGERS benefits.

Participant

An Employee covered by the Plan or former Employee with a vested accrued benefit under the Plan. This would include a retiree receiving benefits.  (See also Member.)

Part-Time Employee

An Employee who works regularly in each of twelve months per calendar year, and whose position requires the performance of duties of more or less than 1,000 Hours of Service in a calendar year.

Prior Creditable Service ("PCS")

A member’s period of employment rendered prior to August 28, 1994.  This period must be purchased by the employee to count in CERF unless it has been awarded.  This is Prior Service included in Creditable Service in accordance with Table 1 of 16 CSR 50-2.150.

Prior Creditable Service Awarded

A member’s period of employment rendered prior to August 28, 1994 that has been awarded and included in Creditable Service in accordance with the changes to CERF that were effective January 1, 2000.  The member does not have to purchase this service in order for it to count in CERF.  PCS is awarded if the member was an active employee on June 10, 1999 and worked continually through January 1, 2000.  Table 1 of 16 CSR 50-2.150 governs the rules for this service.

Prior Plan

The CERF Pension Plan as in effect through and including December 31, 1999.

Prior Service

Service before August 28, 1994, which is the inception date for the Pension Plan.

Purchase Excluded Service

The participant can purchase none, some or all of excluded service that was forfeited when the employee left before accruing the eight years of service when they re-enroll in CERF subject to plan rules.  The cost of the buyback service is calculated by multiplying compensation earned during the specified service period they wish to buy back by the contributions rule in effect during that time, plus interest equal to the current prime rate plus 2%.  The buyback can be purchased in one lump sum, or amortized as a payroll deduction, over the lesser of 48 months or the number of months constituting the time period which they are purchasing.  In the case of a retiree, buyback payments may be deducted from their monthly annuity payment over a period of time not to exceed 48 months.

Refunded Contributions

Contributions made on behalf of a member which are later returned if the member terminates non-vested.  This service period then becomes forfeited and would need to be repurchased upon the member's re-employment in the county in order to have it included as creditable service.

Refunded in Error

A service period in which the participant mistakenly received a refund of contributions due to delay in receiving paperwork from the county in which the participant was rehired.  The participant is given the opportunity to repurchase this service period without penalty or interest.

Retiree

Member who is eligible for, and who has completed and returned to CERF the necessary paperwork to commence benefits.  Member is or will shortly be receiving a benefit payment from CERF. 

Retirement Benefit Options

These include forms of payment other than the Single Life Annuity offered by the plan.  Current annuity choices include 10-Year Certain and Life, 100%, 75%, and 50% Joint and Survivor, Level Income Option, and Level Income Option with 100%, 75%, and 50% Joint and Survivor.  These forms of benefit are adjusted from Normal Form of Benefit to reflect the different payout structure.

Seasonal

An Employee, who works intermittently, but less than twelve months during a calendar year and whose position requires the performance of duties of more or less than 1,000 Hours of Service in a calendar year.

Single Life Annuity (SLA)

A lifetime monthly pension with no survivor benefits.  Payments end upon the retiree's death.

Special Consultants

A County Employee employed between January 1, 1990 and August 27, 1994 who worked for an Employer for at least 8 years and applied to the board of trustees to be a special consultant on the problems of retirement for the remainder of their life.  Special consultants can receive pension credit for their Prior Service as a county Employee.  For non-LAGERS, the cost is 3% of Average Final Compensation times years purchased.  For LAGERS, the 3% is adjusted to 2%.  At least 50% of the cost must be paid at the time of retirement with the remainder to be paid in equal monthly installments not to exceed 48 months.  (See also 16 CSR 50-3.060 (1).)

Target Replacement Ratio

80% if Average Final Compensation is less than or equal to $36,000; 77% if Average Final Compensation is greater than $36,000 but less than or equal to $48,000; and 72% if Average Final Compensation is greater than $48,000.

Terminated non-vested, transferred to an ineligible position

Member is still employed by a county but has transferred to a position that is not eligible for CERF.  Member is not entitled to a retirement benefit from CERF.  Member with this code who has made contributions should receive a refund of contributions paid. 

Terminated Vested, transferred to an ineligible position

Member is still employed by a county and is vested, but has transferred to a position that is not eligible for CERF.  Member is entitled to a retirement benefit in the future. 

Terminated Vested with 8 years of creditable service

Member has terminated employment with a county with eight or more years of creditable service.  Member is entitled to a retirement benefit in the future. 

Terminated, less than 8 years of service

Member has terminated employment with the county with less than eight years of creditable service.  Member is not entitled to a retirement benefit.  Members with this code who have made contributions should receive a refund of contributions paid.