MEPP offers some very special features, including a lifetime pension benefit as early as age 55 or an unreduced lifetime pension benefit at age 60, generous pension partner protection provisions and a guaranteed 60 per cent cost-of-living adjustment for pensioners. The following provides a summary of the Plan's key features. Further details are found in the Member Handbook.
Defined Benefit Pension Plan
Pension plans generally fall into one of two categories - defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans. MEPP is a defined benefit plan, which means your monthly pension amount when you retire is based on your years of service and the average of your five highest consecutive years of salary. With a defined contribution plan, generally members are responsible for investing pension contributions with your pension amount depending on your investment success.
Contributions to MEPP
Employers contribute more to the Plan than employees, at rates when combined with investment income are expected to provide for the benefits payable. The MEP Board conducts actuarial valuations and reviews contribution rates for employers and employees at least once every three years.
Members are entitled to a pension under the Plan. You can retire with an unreduced pension when:
- you are at least 55 years of age; and
- your years of service (including any combined pensionable service [CPS]) plus your age equal 80 or more.
MEPP provides an annual retirement pension based on the following formula:
2.0% X years of pensionable service* X highest average salary**
* Pensionable service is limited to 35 years.
** Highest Average Salary equals the average of the highest five consecutive years of salary where, for services after 1991, salary above the salary cap is excluded.
With five years of service you become vested. This means you are eligible to receive a pension at retirement. In addition if you leave MEPP before age 55, you are eligible to receive the value of the pension you have earned on your service after January 1, 1992. This value is called the commuted value. For service up to December 31, 1991 you can receive a refund of your contributions (not your employer's), with interest. If you have fewer than five years of service or are under the age of 55, you are not eligible to receive a pension.
In addition to retirement and termination benefits, MEPP also provides disability and death benefits.
Pension Partner Protection
By law, if the member has a pension partner, unless a waiver is signed by the pension partner, the member must choose a pension that, as a minimum, provides a joint-life pension with a 60 per cent pension payable to the surviving pension partner. In MEPP, the normal form of pension for a married member is a pension payable for his or her life. If the member dies first, then the pension partner receives a pension based on 75 per cent of the member's pension on pre-1992 service and 662/3 per cent of the member's pension on post-1991 service.
Combined Pensionable Service
This Plan feature allows an eligible individual who has pensionable service in both MEPP and the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP) with the same employer to combine service in both MEPP and PSPP for the purposes of vesting, qualifying for an unreduced pension and to calculate the highest five years' salary. The actual pension will be calculated and paid separately by each plan (MEPP and PSPP).
When an individual enters or leaves the Plan, a transfer agreement may be used to transfer pensionable service and contributions between participating plans.