The Employees Retirement System (ERS) is a qualified plan under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Services include timely and accurate payment of benefits, benefits counseling, communicating with participants and maintaining the pension system database.
All applicants for retirement must be approved by the Board of Trustees prior to receiving a benefit. The Board meets the second Tuesday of every month.
Beginning July 1, 2022, system membership was made compulsory for all employees as a condition of employment, except for employees hired at age 55 or over who have the option to join. Employees hired prior to July 1, 2007 are qualified to be members in Plan A and employees hired on or after July 1, 2007 are qualified to be members of Plan B.
Employees can become vested after 10 years of creditable service (CS).
Transfer of Service
Employees must be hired by Baltimore County without a break in employment with the previous Maryland State, local or municipal employer. The employee must submit a transfer of service claim form and deposit total accumulated contributions and interest from the prior system within one year of membership in the ERS. It is the employee’s responsibility to start the transfer of service process and follow up with the prior jurisdiction regarding the transfer of funds and certification to make sure one year transfer requirement is met.
Service retirement can be effective upon either age eligibility plus 10 years of CS, or completion of CS years regardless of age. Upon retirement, the employee will receive a percentage of their average final compensation (AFC) based on their years of CS and benefit formula at time of retirement. AFC is the highest 12 or 36 consecutive full months of earnings based on member classification at time of retirement. Plan summaries can be requested from the Retirement Office by calling 410-887-8246 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Employee Type||Age Plus CS Years||CS Years||Current Contribution Rate|
Age 67 and 10 years
Correctional Officers and Deputy Sheriffs
Age 67 and 10 years
Age 60 and 10 years
Age 60 and 10 years
Retirement Member Portal
Available to both active and retired BCG employees, members of the retirement system have the ability to review beneficiary, contributions and retirement payment information online. As an active member of the ERS, you will be able to run retirement estimates from the Member Portal.
User ID and Passwords are mailed to new members within six to eight months of membership. If you do not have your user ID and password, contact the Retirement Office at 410-887-8246 or emailing email@example.com.
- Accidental—Immediate upon membership, resulting from an injury sustained in the performance of duties, which renders a member totally and permanently disabled from performing the job duties of the position.
- Ordinary—10 years of CS, resulting from personal illness, which renders a member totally and permanently disabled from performing the job duties of the position.
- Monthly Vested Benefit—10 years of CS in ERS. Employees leave money in ERS and collect pension at normal service retirement age.
- Return of Contributions—Non-taxable direct rollover to an IRS approved plan (IRA, etc.). Taxable cash payment is subject to mandatory Federal and Maryland State taxes.
The death benefit can be effective after five years of CS.
- Beneficiary Designations—Retirement beneficiaries are designated on the initial Retirement Membership Application. As life changes occur, update your retirement beneficiaries. Designation of beneficiaries for life insurance will not update your retirement beneficiaries as they are independent.
- Occupational (Line of Duty) Death Benefit—Immediate upon membership, resulting from an injury sustained in the performance of duties.
Non-Occupational Death Benefit:
- 100 percent of annual salary—Five years of creditable service
- 100 percent of annual salary—One year of CS (Fire and Police)
- Refund of contributions and interest—All members
The military credit can be effective after 10 years of CS. Employees receive up to four years of prior active duty military service (DD-214 required) and are prohibited from receiving benefits elsewhere for the same period of active duty service, unless receiving a military pension.
Retirement Credit—Unused earned sick leave balances at retirement will be prorated and converted to months and used in the benefit calculation, increasing the amount of the monthly retirement benefit.
Sick Leave Conversion:
- General County employees—22 days equals one month of credit.
- Sworn Fire, Sworn Police (Pay Schedule VII) and members on Pay Schedule 1E —16 days equals one month of credit.
Planning for Retirement
County employees may want to attend one of the Pre-Retirement Seminars sponsored by the Office of Human Resources Training Division. These semi-annual seminars are listed in the spring and fall schedule of courses, available on BCnet. There will be speakers from different offices, including:
- Deferred Compensation
- Social Security
- The Credit Union
For more information, call the Training Division at 410-887-8713. The Board of Education and the Community College conduct pre-retirement seminars for their employees.
2023 Calendar Year Retirements
Important information for prospective nonpublic safety retirees between the ages of 48 to 62: Section 415(b) of the Internal Revenue Code limits the annual dollar amount the Baltimore County Employees’ Retirement System can pay to a participant in a defined benefit plan. The 415(b) limit is age-adjusted for retirement prior to the age of 62. This limit may affect nonpublic safety employees who retire at a younger age with a higher average final compensation or longer creditable service time. The 415(b) table limit below shows the maximum amount a retiree can make based on age in years and months. The 415(b) limit is subject to increases under the Internal Revenue Code. When planning for retirement, please consider the 415 (b) dollar limit in your planning.
Initiating the Process
Call the Retirement Office about two months in advance of your projected retirement date.
The Office will schedule you for a signing session, provide an estimate of your projected monthly retirement allowance and answer any other questions.
At the signing session, you will elect your retirement option, sign tax withholding forms and receive other pertinent information. Insurance representatives will also be available to assist County employees.
The first payment you receive will be in the form of a check. After the first month, you will receive your payment by direct deposit. You will still receive a pay stub in the mail. Direct deposits are dated and payable on the last banking day of each month. To find out the current month's pay date, look for the check messages printed on each month's pay stubs for future pay dates and other important information.
Your former employer administers insurance benefits. To stay up to date on issues affecting retirees, contact your union (if applicable) or the Baltimore County Retired Employees Association at 410-663-3341. You may also check your monthly pay stub for important information.
1-800-274-4302 (toll free)
Notice of Class Action Lawsuits
Affecting certain retirees and members of the Employees' Retirement System of Baltimore County.
This Notice concerns the certification of a Class by the Circuit Court for Harford County in a class action lawsuit entitled Brian J. Rowe, et al v. Baltimore County, MD, et al. Case No. 12-C-10-002273 OC (the “Lawsuit”). The certified Class includes certain retirees and members of the Employees Retirement System for Baltimore County (“BCERS”) who previously transferred service credit to BCERS from another noncontributory retirement plan or system.
The Plaintiffs in the Lawsuit, like the members of the Class, all transferred service credit from a non-contributory retirement system to BCERS’ contributory retirement system when they became employed by Baltimore County. The Lawsuit claims that Baltimore County has adopted and utilized an illegal method for calculating a reduction (known as a “Deficiency”) to the past and future retirement benefits of persons who transferred service credit from a non-contributory retirement system to BCERS. The Plaintiffs allege that the method used by Baltimore County to calculate that “Deficiency” improperly utilizes a “valuation rate” of interest and not the “regular rate of interest” applied by BCERS to member contributions, which significantly reduces Class members’ retirement benefits and vested rights in a manner which the Plaintiffs contend violates State law. The Plaintiffs seek payment of all underpaid retirement benefits to those Class Members who have or will have retired by the time the Lawsuit concludes, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief requiring the Defendants to calculate and pay future retirement benefits to all Class Members consistent with State law. BCERS and the other Defendants in the Lawsuit dispute the Plaintiffs’ claims and contend that their “valuation rate” method for reducing retirement benefits for persons who transferred service credit from a non-contributory retirement system to BCERS is legal. The Court has not made any judgment or other determination of the Defendant’s liability in the Lawsuit.
For Class Members
The certified Class includes those persons who transferred service credit to BCERS from a noncontributory retirement plan or system whose deficiency under Section 37-203(F)(2) of the State Personnel and Pension Article of the Maryland Annotated Code (or its predecessor statutes) was calculated or under County law will be calculated based on the “valuation rate” established by BCERS and not the “regular rate of interest” applied by BCERS to member contributions. The Class excludes those persons: (i) who withdrew their contributions from BCERS and did not later return to county service and repurchase service credit earned by them; (ii) who after becoming a member in BCERS, transferred their retirement service credit to another jurisdiction and did not subsequently transfer it back to BCERS; and (iii) who timely opt-out of the class.
If you are a member of the Class described above, carefully review the Court-approved Notices for mailing to Class Members, as it provides important information and deadlines affecting the rights of Class members.
If you are not sure whether you fall within the Class or want more information about the lawsuit, contact the Court-appointed attorney for the Class:
Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports (ACFR)
Contact the Office for copies of reports published prior to the dates listed below.