If you are covered by multiple Minnesota public retirement plans, the service credit earned from all plans can be combined with your MSRS service to qualify for a retirement or disability benefit. This is referred to as a Combined Service Annuity (CSA).

MN pension plans covered under CSA law

  • Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS)
  • Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA)
  • Teachers Retirement Association (TRA)
  • St. Paul Teachers Retirement Fund Association (SPTRFA)

If you switch Minnesota public employers, your pension contributions and service credit are not rolled into the new plan. The service credit will remain with the fund where the service was earned. When you retire, you will receive payment from each public retirement administrator.

Be sure to notify MSRS if you have service with another pension plan so we can contact the other provider to provide accurate retirement benefit information.

How you benefit from a CSA

A CSA allows you to:

  • Meet vesting/service requirements by combining the time you had with all pension plans covered under CSA law. Vesting is the number of years of service you need in order to qualify for a retirement or disability benefit.
  • Calculate the retirement benefit for all plans using the same highest five years of salary, no matter where it was earned.

CSA eligibility requirements

To receive a combined service benefit payment, you must:

  • Have at least six months of service with each plan in which you were/are a member.
  • Meet each plan’s service (vesting) requirement. Contact MSRS for more details.
  • Be at an eligible retirement age for each plan's provisions.
  • Terminate all Minnesota public service and start receiving a retirement benefit from all plans within one year of each other.
  • Apply for a retirement benefit from each plan administrator.

Note: If you take a refund of  contributions from the other Minnesota pension plan administrators, you will not receive retirement credit for that service. Prior to your retirement date you may be eligible to repay your refund. To learn about repaying a refund contact the Minnesota public pension fund you took a refund from.


How a CSA works

Let's say you have seven years of Minnesota public employment. 

  • You worked two years for a Minnesota county during which time you were covered by PERA.
  • Five years of service was with the State of Minnesota, during which time you were covered under the MSRS General Employees Retirement Plan. 

To calculate the retirement benefit, both MSRS and PERA use the same five-high salary. We review salary from your entire seven-year public employment to determine the period with the highest average salary. 

In retirement, you will receive two monthly benefit payments: one from PERA representing two years of service and one from MSRS representing the five years of state service.


Applying for a CSA benefit

  • When you request an estimate of your retirement benefit, be sure to notify MSRS if you have service with another pension plan. MSRS will contact the other plan administrator to obtain and share account information so we can provide an accurate benefit estimate.
  • When you are ready to apply for retirement benefits, you will need to contact both MSRS and the other retirement plan administrator to obtain the necessary paperwork to apply for benefits. Submit the completed application and other forms to the appropriate plan administrator.
  • Assuming you have applied for a retirement benefit from all plans, you will receive a separate payment from each plan administrator.