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Getting Ready to Retire

This section provides members who are Getting Ready to Retire a broad look at some of the many issues to consider before and during retirement and the resources to help you understand your benefits and make the transition from work to retirement a smooth process.

Retirement Checklist
The retirement checklist identifies a few things that members should consider and includes actions to take (beginning one to three years prior to retirement) in order to make your exit from work-life simple and straightforward.

See Fact Sheet: Your Retirement Checklist

Retirement Counseling
A retirement counseling session is provided for all those retiring from the Commission. The session is not mandatory, but highly recommended. ERS staff review retirement benefits, options, and assist members in completing the necessary paperwork in order to begin benefits.

Two months prior to retirement contact the Member Relations Team to make an appointment for your retirement counseling session. Usually the appointment is made for the following month.

Retirement Benefit Selection Options
All retirement benefits provided by the ERS are GUARANTEED FOR THE LIFETIME OF THE MEMBER. Optional selections, which guarantee continuation of benefits to beneficiaries or contingent annuitants, may be chosen at the time of retirement. Be sure to review all the options the ERS offers.

See Form: Retirement Benefit Selection Options

Retirement Application
The Application for Service Retirement MUST BE signed before a Notary Public. The ERS has Notary Publics on staff to assist its members free of charge with their retirement applications. You should also refer to the Retirement Benefit Selection Options Form, which explains each option. You cannot change your option selection after a certain date. If you select one of the Joint & Survivor options, you must provide proof of birth for the survivor.


Retiree Medical
You may be eligible to participate in the Commission's Medical Care Insurance Plan for Retirees according to the provisions of the Commission's Health Insurance Plans.

The monthly premium for medical insurance coverage, as indicated in the provisions and approved by the Commission's Health and Benefits Office, will be deducted from your annuity payment.

The Commission's Health and Benefits Office administers the Medical Care Insurance Plan for Retirees. All questions and/or concerns regarding your benefits should be directed to that office at: 301-454-1683.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance coverage provided by the Commission may not be continued, but may be CONVERTED to a whole life policy. You must apply to convert your Life Insurance within 31 days of the date that the group insurance is terminated. It would normally be canceled as of the last effective date of employment.

The Commission's Health and Benefits Office administers the Life Insurance Program. All questions and/or concerns regarding your benefits and Life Insurance Conversion should be directed to that office at: 301-454-1694.

Legal Resources
Upon retirement you may elect to participate in the Legal Services Plan offered by the Commission. The monthly premium, as indicted in the Legal Services Plan provisions, will be deducted from your annuity payment. Every year at open enrollment the Commission will offer the opportunity to change your elections.

The Legal Services Plan is administered by the Commission's Health and Benefits Office. All questions and/or concerns regarding your benefits should be directed to that office at: 301-454-1683.

See Form: Authorization for Legal Resources Deductions from Retirement Annuity

M-NCPPC Federal Credit Union
If you are a member of the M-NCPPC Federal Credit Union, you may elect to have a portion of your annuity deposited into your account.

Your credit union deduction may be changed at any time by either: completing a new Form; or, writing a letter to the ERS indicating the new deduction and the effective date of the change. All change requests MUST be signed by the benefit recipient.

See Form: Authorization for Credit Union Deductions from Retirement Annuity

Electronic Funds Transfer (direct deposit)
The ERS strongly encourages all retirees and beneficiaries to sign up for direct deposit to receive their monthly annuity payment.

Carefully complete the Form. A voided personal check (checking account) or account deposit ticket (savings account) is required. Your banking institution may help you complete this Form. This Form MUST be signed by the benefit recipient.

See Form: Electronic Deposit Authorization

Federal Tax
Your pension income will be subject to federal income tax. Federal law requires that federal income tax be withheld from your monthly annuity unless you instruct the ERS to do otherwise. Carefully read and complete the Federal Withholding Form W-4P.

1) You may choose to have any amount withheld by indicating your election(s) on the Form W-4P.

2) You may choose not to have any federal income tax withheld, but you must indicate this decision on the Form W-4P. If you choose this option, you may be required to make quarterly estimated tax payments to the appropriate tax authority.

3) If you do not complete a Form W-4P, federal income tax will automatically be withheld from your monthly pension payment. The amount withheld will be based on the tax table for a married person with three exemptions (the amount required by law).

Your tax election(s) may be changed at any time by either: completing a new Form W-4P; writing a letter to the ERS indicating the new election(s) and the effective date of the change; or, completing the tax election form on your payment stub from The Northern Trust.  All change requests MUST be signed by the benefit recipient.

See Form: Withholding Certificate for Pensions or Annuities, Form W-4P

Maryland State Tax
Carefully read and complete the Maryland Income Tax Withholding Instructions and Form.

Your tax election(s) may be changed at any time by either: completing a new Form; writing a letter to the ERS indicating the new election(s) and the effective date of the change; or, completing the tax election form on your payment stub from The Northern Trust. All change requests MUST be signed by the benefit recipient.

If you move to a different state, your pension may be subject to that state's taxes. You must notify the ERS and request state tax withholdings for that state. Changing your address with the ERS is NOT a request to change state tax withholdings.

We suggest that you consult with a tax advisor about the laws that apply in your state of residence.

See Form: Maryland Income Tax Withholding, Form 507P

Workshops
The ERS encourages you to attend one of its pre-retirement workshops.  The workshops will take you through the process of retiring from the Commission, explain your retirement benefits and teach you how your retirement annuity is calculated. There may also be a Certified Financial Planner® available to provide financial guidance for managing your sources of retirement income.

You can review the Plan Document or the Summary of Plan Description for your respective plan, which should answer any question(s) you may have on contributing to the ERS, becoming vested, purchasing service, qualifying for retirement and more.

The ERS staff are here to explain and help you to understand your benefits. Please feel free to call the Member Relations Team or stop by our office.

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