Life & Job Changes

Active members who experience an address, name, or major life change, must inform the ERS of the change if not otherwise stated. Requesting a change with the Commission does not make the change with the ERS. Below are the steps to notifying the ERS of significant life changes.

Address or Name Change

Active employees must submit address or name changes directly to the Commission’s Department of Human Resources & Management (“DHRM”) Office. The ERS relies on the Commission to update the ERS’ records through a payroll interface.

Leaving or Changing Employment

Members who leave employment, but do not retire from the Commission have the following options:

Vested Members
Vested members can receive a guaranteed retirement benefit payable on what would have been their normal retirement date.

Non-Vested Members
Non-vested members are not entitled to a retirement benefit. Members who choose to keep contributions in the ERS, and later return to employment with the Commission are credited with the initial period of credited service.

Members can withdraw accumulated contributions upon separation from employment. This decision is irrevocable and terminates entitlement to any benefits from the ERS. The ERS is required to withhold estimated income tax and an additional excise tax may apply.

Members may be able to transfer credited service to other eligible governmental retirement systems in the State of Maryland. This may require the concurrent transfer of accumulated contributions to the new system. Eligibility is based upon the Plan provisions of the new retirement system. Please submit all inquiries to the new retirement system.

Members can roll over contributions to another qualified plan or an individual retirement account, without penalty or immediate income taxability.

Refer to the Plan Document or the Summary Plan Description for further information and vesting requirements.

Returning to the Commission

If you leave employment and do not retire from the Commission, you may become an active member again. In this instance your ERS benefits may be affected, depending on whether you took a refund or transferred to another government agency within the State of Maryland as follows:

  • If you kept your contributions and interest in the ERS, you may return to the Plan you left and continue accruing credited service.
  • If you took a refund of contributions and interest (as a direct withdrawal or rollover), you will be enrolled in the current Plan for either general service employees or park police, depending upon your position, and you will not receive credit for your prior credited service.
  • If you transferred your contributions, interest, and credited service to another local government agency within the State of Maryland, you may be able to apply to transfer your contributions, interest, and credited service to the ERS. You will be enrolled in the current Plan for either general service employees or park police, depending upon your position.

Marriage, Birth, or Adoption

Active members must update or complete a beneficiary form if they would like to elect or change a beneficiary for a marriage, birth, or adoption. The appropriate documentation – marriage certificate, divorce decree, birth certificate, or court order – must be attached with the form and submitted to the ERS.

To update or change beneficiary designations, complete the Change Designation of Beneficiaries for Active Members Form.

Refer to the Designating a Beneficiary – Active Members Fact Sheet for additional information.

To exclude a spouse, participants must complete the Spousal Exclusion Form.

Divorce – Domestic Relations Order

Generally, plan benefits are not assignable. However, the ERS does permit the assignment of benefits pursuant to a Domestic Relations Order (“DRO”). A DRO is a court order that determines how your retirement benefit will be divided. A DRO may also address how any post-retirement lump sum death benefits will be divided.

A proposed DRO may be submitted to the ERS for review and preliminary acceptance prior to submitting to the court for certification. The ERS will only honor final orders that comply with the plan provisions and are certified as true test copies.

Please refer to the Policy Regarding the Distribution of Benefits Under a Domestic Relations Order.

Death Before Retirement

The ERS provides service-connected and non-service-connected death benefits for participants who die in active service.

The Plan Document specifies the primary and contingent beneficiaries:

  • The primary beneficiary is an eligible spouse.
  • The contingent beneficiaries are eligible children (under the age of 18, under the age of 23, if a full-time student, or regardless of age, if permanently disabled).

A spouse may be excluded, but eligible children cannot be excluded from benefits. If the participant does not leave a surviving spouse or eligible children, a lump sum benefit is paid to the participant’s listed beneficiary(ies).

To exclude a spouse, participants must complete the Spousal Exclusion Form.

Death benefits vary by Plan. To learn more, refer to the Plan Document or the Summary Plan Description.