Staff Retirement Plan Benefits

Frequently Answered Questions about Maximum Exclusion Allowance (MEA)
  • What is a Maximum Exclusion Allowance?

    The maximum exclusion allowance is the maximum amount that an individual may put into a pre-tax supplemental retirement account during the tax year. It is an individualized calculation that takes several factors into account.

  • How do I obtain a Maximum Exclusion Allowance?

    TIAA does a calculation each year for all members of the CWRU staff and faculty who are employed as of December 31 of the previous year. All new employees may call TIAA at 1-800-842-2733 ext. 2929 for an individualized calculation. When you call be ready to give your hire date, your annual salary, what you will actually earn this year at CWRU.

  • What is the 15-Year Rule?

    Employees who have worked at CWRU for 15 years or more may be eligible for a special exemption from the 2016 $18,000 yearly limit. This is not automatic. Employees should have their MEA calculated to see if they are eligible. If an employee is eligible, they may be able to contribute up to $21,000 in a single year. If an employee remains eligible for the 15-Year Rule, they can continue to contribute beyond the limit a year up to a point where a total of $15,000 extra has been deferred—at that point the employee must return to the standard 403(b) limit. An employee who is age 50 or over can use the Age 50 Catch-up along with the 15-Year Rule.

  • What is the Age 50 Catch-up?

    Employees who are age 50 or over in 2016 can add $6,000 to the 403(b) contribution limit of $18,000.

  • How do contributions to other retirement plans affect my Maximum Exclusion Allowance?

    If you participate in other tax-deferred retirement plans, your combined elective deferral generally cannot exceed $18,000, which is the 415 limit for 2016. In addition, if you participate in other tax-deferred defined contribution retirement plans, the combined deferral generally cannot exceed your IRC 402(g) limit. Please consult your tax advisor for further information if you are participating in other tax-deferred retirement plans.