Get answers to frequently asked questions

MERIT is a retirement savings program created for Maine's nearly 940,000 workers without access to employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. Here are answers to many of the common things we’ve been asked. If you have questions beyond these, we’re here to help.

Who is responsible for choosing the investment options for participants?

The MERIT Board in the Maine Department of the Treasury is responsible for making decisions about the investment options available to participants of the program.

What is the Target Retirement Date option?

A Target Retirement Date option is an age-based investment option designed to help manage investment risk and is based on two factors: an investor’s current age and approximate estimated retirement date. This type of option includes a mix of investments — stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents — that evolve over time to focus on growth for younger investors and to help preserve savings closer to retirement age. MERIT offers a range of Target Retirement Date Options.

Do I need to report contributions on my employees’ W2s?

No. The MERIT program is structured as a payroll deduction IRA and not as a traditional retirement plan that needs to be reported on your employees’ W2s. The IRA trustee for the MERIT program will file “Form 5498, IRA Contributions Information” with the IRS (as needed for your employees) and will send employees a copy for their records, no later than May 31 of each year.

Can the State use money from this program to pay for other programs?

No. Employees’ contributions go directly to the MERIT accounts in their names. The State has no access to these contributions, can’t use the money for anything else, and there is no connection to other retirement plans offered by the State.

As an employer participating in MERIT, am I allowed to match my employees’ contributions?

No. Employer contributions are not permitted in the MERIT Program.