Directory of Offices - Office of Benefits - Retirement Benefits

This information is only a summary of typical questions and does not replace the binding plan documents.
Please contact the Benefits Office with any benefit related questions.

403(b) Thrift Plan | Lay Retirement Plan

403(b) Thrift Plan

*Part-time employees should contact the Benefits Office to inquire about eligibility.

Mutual of America

You must be an active full-time employee, regularly scheduled to work 30 hours or more per week, and any academic employee who works for more than 5 months in a calendar year.   Priests and Sisters assigned to the Catholic Diocese of Gary are not eligible to make salary reduction contributions under this plan.

403(b) Thrift Plan Q&A:

How do I enroll?
Upon hire, you will receive a Mutual of America information kit from the Benefits Office.   To enroll in the Plan, you must complete a “salary reduction agreement” and an “enrollment form”.    Return both to your payroll person at your school, parish, or institution.

If I do not want to enroll upon hire, is there anything that I need to turn in?
Yes, you need to sign the waiver that is in the enrollment packet and return to your payroll person at your school, parish, or institution.

How much can I contribute?
You may choose to contribute a percentage (in multiples of .001%) of your compensation from 1% to 100% up to the IRS contribution limits which may change each year.   For participants age 50 and older, the Internal Revenue Code permits you to contribute an additional amount which is based on the designated maximum contribution limit for the plan year.   Contact Mutual of America at 1-800-468-3785 for the latest contribution limits.

When will I be eligible for matching contributions?
You must complete at least one year of service and work at least 1,200 hours to receive matching contributions.

When I become eligible for matching contributions, how much matching will I receive?

    • 100% of the salary reduction contributions you are contributing during the plan year, not in excess of the first 3% of your compensation; plus
    • 50% of the salary reduction contributions you are contributing during the plan year that exceeds 3% of your compensation but not to exceed 6% of your compensation for the plan year.

Are my Age-50 catch-up contributions eligible for matching contributions? 

Can I stop my contributions at any time? 
Yes, you may change your contribution at any time and as often as you wish.  Contact your payroll person at your school, parish, or institution to request a Salary Reduction Agreement for any changes.

I have a retirement account from my previous employer so may I roll it over into our 403(b) Thrift Plan?
The Diocese of Gary 403(b) Thrift Plan does accept rollovers as long as your former plan is considered an eligible roll over plan.    Contact Mutual of America at 1-800-468-3785.

What is vesting and how is it determined?
Vesting is the amount of your account that you are entitled to.  Vesting is determined by your years of service from your date of hire to your date of termination. 

What is the vesting schedule for the 403(b) Thrift Plan?
Your own contributions and rollover funds are immediately and fully vested.   Company matching contributions are completed vested when you have completed 3 years of vesting service based on your hire date.

Can I take out a loan?
You are able to take out a loan based on your vested account value only.   Contact Mutual of America either online at or by phone at 1-800-468-3785 to discuss the loan requirements and process.

Resources and Forms:

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Lay Retirement Plan

The Lay Retirement Defined Benefit Plan was frozen effective 12/31/2009.   No new enrollments are permitted.

You must have been employed prior to 12/31/2009, be an active full-time employee, regularly scheduled to work 30 hours or more per week, and forty weeks a year.

Lay Retirement Plan Q&A:

What is the vesting schedule for the lay pension plan?
You become completely vested with 15 years of continuous service.  You are partially vested after 10 years of continuous service.

What if I had a break in service?
If you had a break in service, you must work at least as long after the break as the length of the break, to bridge your service credit. For example, if you work for five years and then had a two year break in service, you would need to work at least two years to get service credit for the first five year period of employment.

How can I find the amount of my monthly pension benefit at retirement?
Your benefit amount is based on your lifetime wages. An estimate of your benefit amount is available by calling the Benefits Coordinator at (219) 769-9292, extension 277.

What does it mean to freeze the Lay Retirement Plan?
Your life time wages will no longer accumulate to increase your monthly retirement benefit effective 12/31/2009. However, if you continue to work in enough hours to remain eligible, you will continue to accrue service credit.

What should I do if I am contemplating retirement?
Keep in mind that reductions apply if you begin your benefit with less than fifteen years of service and/or earlier than age sixty-five.  If you do not have an estimate of your monthly benefit, you should call the Benefits Office as early as possible to request the estimate.

If you have an estimate of your monthly benefit from the Lay Retirement Plan for the Diocese of Gary (Defined Benefit Plan), call the Benefits Office at (219) 769-9292, extension 277 and ask for the required paperwork no later than two months before your retirement date. Your benefits begin the first of the month following your last day of employment. For example if your last day of work is June 23, your retirement is effective July 1. The plan makes benefit payments on the last day of the current month; therefore, the first payment in this example is July 31. 

  • You will need to send a copy of your municipal birth certificate to the Benefits Office along with your completed pension application.
  • If you are requesting a joint pension option, with your spouse as the joint pensioner, you must know the birth date of your spouse and provide a copy of your spouse’s birth certificate when you return your completed pension application to the Benefits Office.
  • If you are married and do not elect a joint pensioner, your spouse must sign the Benefits Election form in the application packet at the bottom of the page.
  • You will need to know how you wish to withhold for both your state and federal taxes. If you are uncertain of the proper amount to withhold, you may wish to consult your tax preparer.
  • You will need to know the routing number and the account number of the checking or savings account where you plan to have your pension payment deposited.

Once the Benefits Office receives your properly completed pension application forms, we will send you a letter stating that your benefit is about to begin.

Resources and Forms:

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