What does it mean when your pension benefits are Vested?

Vested pension benefits mean that you have been a member of your employer’s pension plan for a minimum period of time (usually two to five years after joining the pension plan), and as a result the employer’s contributions along with your pension contributions belong to you or are vested with you.

This means that you can transfer these benefits if you leave your employer prior to reaching the pension plan’s retirement age. If you leave your employer before your pension benefits become vested (i.e. before the two to five year minimum), you are entitled only to a refund of your own contributions, plus interest. If you have not contributed to the pension plan and you leave before your benefits become vested, there is no pension benefit or refund payable to you.

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