Early Retirement Incentive FAQ
What is the purpose of the Early Retirement Incentive (ERI)?
The Early Retirement Incentive is a cost-saving tool for agencies facing budgetary challenges due to the pandemic in order to prevent or minimize more drastic measures such as layoffs.
How did it come about?
MAPE, in coordination with other unions, advocated for cost-savings solutions that prevent job loss through layoffs such as early retirement incentives.
Who is eligible for the Early Retirement Incentive (ERI)?
- Be immediately available to receive an annuity under a State retirement program at time of separation;
- Be in a classified appointment (Minnesota Management and Budget, MMB, must approve unclassified appointments);
- Not eligible for any other early retirement incentive;
- Have at least five years of continuous service at the time of separation;
- Be employed in programs that are being permanently eliminated or reduced OR if the appointing authority determines that offering an ERI would lead to a vacancy of at least one year; and
- Retire on or before Mar. 31, 2021 unless MMB extends this timeline or permits an additional window of eligibility.
Will I be eligible for this Early Retirement Incentive if I’m eligible for Rule of 90?
Who can I talk to if I’m thinking about retiring?
Contact a representative at the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) at https://www.msrs.state.mn.us/contactus.
Individual Retirement Account Plan (IRAP)
Supplemental Retirement Plan (SRP)
Do I get my full retirement benefit if I am retiring early?
No. You will get the same retirement benefit if you were retiring without the Early Retirement Incentive at the age you retire. Your pension is reduced by a percentage for each year before “full” retirement (66) that you retire. MSRS’s General Employees Retirement Plan handbook and Correctional Employees Retirement Plan handbook explain the plans completely. MSRS’s Forms & Documents website has a lot of plan information resources.
Do I get to keep my health insurance (SEGIP) if I retire early?
Retiring employees may elect to continue in the state's plan. The proper paperwork must be completed in a timely manner. Benefits like the Early Retirement Incentive are supposed to help employees “bridge the gap” between retirement and Medicare by placing money in a Health Care Savings Account that members can use for medical expenses before they become Medicare-eligible at 65.
Who will get offered early retirement? How does the State decide this?
Each agency will determine if this Early Retirement Incentive meets its cost savings needs. The Early Retirement Incentive will be used in order to prevent more drastic measures like layoffs. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) states an employee must: “Be employed in programs that are being permanently eliminated or reduced OR if the Appointing Authority determines that offering an ERI would lead to a vacancy of at least one year.”
How do I find out if my agency and position are eligible?
Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) has agreed to notify MAPE which agencies will make Early Retirement Incentives available to its employees. We will include the names of these agencies as we are made aware of them on our website.
When will this be available?
We are expecting Early Retirement Incentives to become available around Jan. 4, 2021. The employee must retire on or before Mar. 31, 2021.
Who do I talk to if my agency HR employees tell me that they don’t know anything?
Talk to a representative at MSRS. MMB and MSRS will offer a series of retirement seminars in January. We will publicize these seminars as soon as the dates are determined.
MSRS retirement seminars are posted here: https://www.msrs.state.mn.us/pre-retirement-seminars
Why isn’t MinnState included? If I’m in MinnState, what are my options? What is a BESI and how does it work?
MinnState has long had its own early retirement option written into State law. Board Early Separation Incentive (BESI) is always available to MinnState campuses. BESI will continue to be the program used for early retirements in MinnState, not the recent Early Retirement Incentive. https://www.minnstate.edu/board/policy/411.html
If I want to do early retirement but change your mind, can the decision be reversed?
Likely not. We expect more information from MMB and the Agencies.