To be eligible for a benefit from LAGERS you must work in a covered position, become vested and reach a retirement age.
Your employer determines which departments are covered and how many hours you must work to be eligible for LAGERS coverage. Read more about who is covered.
You become vested in the LAGERS system once you have completed 60 months (5 years) of service. Read more about vesting.
Your employer will determine at what age you may begin drawing your LAGERS benefit. They can choose Normal Retirement Ages or an early retirement provision called the Rule of 80. Normal Retirement is age 60 for General Employees and Age 55 for Police Officers and Fire Fighters. If you have Rule of 80, you may retire when the sum of your age and service equals 80. Read more about Retirement Ages.
Your LAGERS benefit is based on your salary, length of service, and a unique set of benefits elected by your employer.
LAGERS’ benefit formula is designed to replace income and is based on how much you make and how long you work. How much income will be replaced and what wages will be used in your benefit are determined by your employer. Read more about LAGERS benefit formula.
Your employer chooses to provide a certain benefit multiplier. This benefit multiplier is the first part of LAGERS’ benefit formula and can range from 1% - 2.5%. The larger your employer’s multiplier, the larger your future benefit. Read more about benefit multipliers.
See what benefits your employer has chosen.
You employer also elects what wages will be used to calculate your “final average salary.” The final average salary is the second component of LAGERS’ benefit formula and can be either a 5-year or a 3-year average. Read more about final average salary.
Your LAGERS benefit rewards longevity of service. The longer you work, the larger your future benefit will be. Credited service is calculated as the total number of months you work in a LAGERS covered position, which may include a combination of prior service and membership service. Read more about credited service.
The most effective way to increase your LAGERS benefit is to work longer or earn a higher salary. However, you may have previous public service that can be purchased. You can purchase active military service or non-federal public employment in Missouri that wasn’t covered by another retirement plan or you didn’t become vested in another retirement plan. Read more about purchasing service.
You employer chooses the benefit levels and can change benefit levels up or down. An upgrade is retroactive for all of your service with that particular employer, and a downgrade will only affect future service. Read more about benefit changes.
Your benefit is funded from three primary sources, your employer’s contributions, your contributions (if any) and the returns generated from LAGERS’ investments. Your employer can choose to cover the entire cost of your benefits, called non-contributory, or they can choose to have you help pay a portion of the cost, called contributory. Read more about how your benefit is funded.
As with any of your benefits, it is important to keep your beneficiaries up to date with LAGERS. Specifically, the beneficiary you have listed will receive a refund of your 4% contributions upon your death, if a survivor benefit isn’t payable. Even if you don’t contribute 4%, it is important to keep your beneficiaries up to date. Read more about designating your beneficiaries.
If an illness or injury occurs making you unable to continue working, you may be eligible for a LAGERS disability benefit. Your LAGERS benefit provides both non-duty and duty related disability benefits. Read more about disability benefits.
As well, if you pass away while actively working, there may be survivor(s) benefits payable to your loved ones. Your spouse or dependent child(ren) may be eligible to receive a survivor benefit. Read more about who is eligible and how much they may receive from LAGERS survivors’ benefits.
If you are going through a family transition and you are wondering how your LAGERS benefits will be handled through the proceedings, read about Divorce and your LAGERS Benefit.
When you leave LAGERS covered employment, there are several potential scenarios that may play out depending on your service credit and age. If you are vested and beyond retirement age, you can begin drawing your monthly benefit. If you aren’t at retirement age you may be able to defer your benefit until retirement age, take a present value lump sum (if you qualify), or take a refund of your 4% contributions (if any). Read more about your options when leaving LAGERS employment.
If you have already left LAGERS covered employment but planning on returning in the near future, your vesting and service credit is going to depend whether or not you have taken a distribution or not. Read more about returning to LAGERS covered employment.
When you are ready begin your monthly benefit, LAGERS must receive an application for retirement 30 – 90 days prior to your first benefit payment. You can apply online or with a paper form. Read more about the application process.
Once you have applied for your monthly benefit, you must select how you would like to have your benefit distributed by choosing a payment option. LAGERS offers several payment options designed to provide you with monthly, lifetime income that will best suit your needs in retirement. Keep in mind, all of your available payment options will pay you for life, and your selection of a payment option can’t be changed in the future. Read more about each payment option.
Your monthly benefit is considered taxable income and will be subject to all applicable state and federal taxes. LAGERS can withhold for Missouri and Federal income taxes at your request. As well, LAGERS will send you a tax document (1099-R) by the last day of January that you will use it when you file your taxes. Read more about applicable taxes, potential exemptions or deductions, and your 1099-R tax documents.
Your LAGERS benefit includes a cost of living adjustment. This simply means that your benefit is designed to keep the pace with inflation (the cost of goods and services). The adjustment to your benefit occurs on October 1st of every year. Read more information about your cost of living adjustments.
Once you begin receiving your monthly benefit, you do have a few options of returning to employment and not having any negative effects on your benefit. You can work for non-LAGERS employer full-time or part-time, another LAGERS employer full-time or part-time, or for same employer part-time. Read more about your options for working after retirement.