Lay Employees’ Retirement Plan (LERP)
Michigan Catholic Conference established the Lay Employees’ Retirement Plan (LERP) in 1966 to provide retirement benefits to lay employees who work for Catholic dioceses, parishes, schools, and organizations. LERP is a designated church plan and a tax-qualified plan. The plan provides a traditional form of retirement benefit, also known as a pension plan.
The LERP is a defined benefit plan funded entirely by participating employers. There are no employee contributions to this plan. LERP pays a monthly pension benefit based on years of credited service, annual average earnings, and a multiplier. You are required to have five years of credited years of service to be vested in the LERP. To be vested means you have earned enough credited service to qualify for a pension benefit from the plan. Please see LERP Summary of Plan Provisions for details.
MCC 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan
Financial security in retirement includes your own savings. Employers offering the MCC 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan help their employees save for retirement through pre-tax and/or Roth contributions. The plan includes a variety of investment options including Catholic specific investment to meet the varying needs of our participants. Empower is the recordkeeper for the plan.
Enroll Now directly with Empower. Your bookkeeper will be notified by MCC of your deferral election through email and Bookkeeper Self-Serve. We recommend that you also let your bookkeeper know you made the deferral election and make sure payroll deductions are being taken.
To speak with an Empower representative regarding your account, please contact Empower at 1-855-756-4738 Monday–Friday between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern Time or Saturday between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
Beginning October 24, 2023 you will be able to access your account by visiting empowermyretirement.com or by using the Empower app. You will need to create a new username and password with Empower by selecting “Register” under Participant Log-in to access your account and start using all the new planning features and tools available to you.
2023 Annual Limits
- Annual Contribution: $22,500
- Catch-up (50 or older): $7,500
- Total: $30,000
2024 Annual Limits
- Annual Contribution: $23,000
- Catch-up (50 or older): $7,500
- Total: $30,500
Need help? To speak with an Empower representative regarding your account, contact Empower Monday—Friday between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern time and on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Eastern. The MCC Benefit Team can assist with general plan questions at 800-395-5565 or via Chat Now.
Disclaimer: The following are general questions regarding the LERP retirement and 403(b) retirement savings plan. The corresponding Plan Document will override any discrepancy in the information provided below.
Too early to think about retirement?
In your 20s and 30s, retirement seems a long way off, but planning and saving for retirement early can create financial security for you in your golden years. To begin your retirement savings journey, enroll in the MCC 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan and learn about the Lay Employees’ Retirement Plan. Unsure that these benefits are available to you? Call MCC Benefits Team at 800-395-5565 to find out.
Are my retirement income goals on track?
You can see your current project LERP pension benefit and do future estimates on Employee Self-Serve, or call the MCC Benefits Team to verify your vesting status and request an estimate. If you are enrolled in MCC 403(b) plan you can check your balance by login into your Empower account. CAPTRUST Financial Advisors are available to all 403(b) eligible employees to help develop a Retirement Blueprint and discuss financial planning.
Too young to retire but leaving LERP employer?
If leave employment and you are vested in LERP (vested term) but too young or not ready to begin retirement, your pension benefit will be waiting for you when you are ready to retire. But don’t wait too long. There is no benefit for delaying taking LERP retirement benefits after your normal retirement age and you must begin taking April 1st following the year you attain age 72.
If you participate in the 403(b) plan, termination of employment allows you to take a distribution of your account as a direct payment (beware of early withdrawal penalty!), as a roll-over to another qualified plan, or you can leave it in the plan and take advantage of the low fees and great investment options.
What happens to my retirement benefits if I die?
If you are vested in LERP and die before receiving retirement benefit, a pre-retirement death benefit, equal to 80% of the actuarial value, is payable to the beneficiary you designate by completing a proper LERP beneficiary designation form. You may verify your beneficiary information on Employee Self-Serve or by contacting MCC Benefits. Your death benefit is not automatically paid to your spouse.
If you don’t have a beneficiary on record, the death benefit will be payable as follows:
Your Death Benefit will be paid as a single sum. However, if your beneficiary is one natural person, and the value of your Death Benefit is at least $50,000, your beneficiary may elect to receive the Death Benefit in the form of a Straight Life Monthly Annuity for the beneficiary’s lifetime.
If you die after you begin receiving your pension benefit, benefits will only be payable after death if you elected a joint and survivor benefit option.
May I take my LERP benefit as a lump-sum?
Lumpsum payout is available to you if the lumpsum value is $25,000 or less as of the payout date. This option is available to vested termed participants regardless of age.
Can my LERP pension benefit start and/or can I take money from my 403(b) if still working?
You may not begin LERP pension benefits if actively working 20 or more hours per week for a participating employer.
The 403(b) plan does allow you to take distribution if you are 59 ½ without incurring early withdrawal penalty even if you are still actively employed.
Ready to Retire?
Apply to Receive your LERP Pension Benefit
Call or email MCC Benefits 60 to 180 days prior to your retirement to request your Retirement Application Packet be mailed to your home. The Retirement Application Packet will contain:
- Application for Retirement Benefits
- Pension Estimate of your monthly benefit options (final amount determined once your application and all final earnings are received).
- Retirement Checklist
- Federal and State Tax Withholding forms
- Direct Deposit Form
- Retirement Checklist
- Retirement applications are due by the first business day of the prior to the month you wish benefits to begin.
Apply for Social Security and Medicare
Apply for Social Security income benefits and for Medicare online on the Social Security website or visit your local Social Security Administration office, or call for an appointment, (800) 772-1213.
Meet with CAPTRUST Financial Advisor
If you have MCC 403(b) Retirement Savings account, you may want to meet with a CAPTRUST Financial Advisor to review your account, income needs and payment options.
What happens to my health coverage and other benefits when I retire?
All benefits end on the last day of the month of active employment. Continuation of health benefits through COBRA is not available for MCC plans. You may be able to convert your life insurance to a personal policy with Unum.
Are there any resources available to help with retirement planning?
Yes, MCC offers access to the following tools and resources to help you plan your journey to retirement.
- CAPTRUST Financial Advisors is available to all employees who participate or who wish to participate in the MCC 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan.
- Empower, recordkeeper for MCC 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan, offers financial and retirement planning tools.
- TELUS Health (formerly LifeWorks) Wellbeing Program offers toolkits, articles, and podcasts about retirement and financial wellbeing.
- MCC webinars