The MEBA Pension Trust (the "Pension Trust") is a defined benefit pension plan, which helps provide financial security throughout your retirement years. The Pension Trust was created on December 13, 1955. The summary description of the Trust on this site reflects the rules currently in effect. These pages provide only a brief overview of the Pension Trust. For more detailed information, please refer to your Summary Plan Description, Summaries of Material Modifications and the Plan’s Rules & Regulations. Nothing in this overview should be construed to replace or override anything that is in the Pension Trust Regulations.


Any licensed officer, port engineer, port electrician or hull inspector, and any other members for whom participating employers are required to make contributions to the Pension Trust are eligible to participate in the Plan.

You begin participation in the Pension Trust as soon as a Participating Employer employs you in a position covered by a collective bargaining agreement with District No. 1-PCD, MEBA (the "Union") that provides for participation in the Pension Trust. A Participating Employer is an Employer that is obligated under a collective bargaining agreement to make contributions to the Pension Trust.

You receive credited service for two purposes. Years of Pension Credit are used to determine the amount of your pension benefit and when you can receive it. Years of Vesting Credit are used to determine whether you are vested in your pension benefit.

The amount of Pension Credit you get for Covered Employment varies depending on when the Employment occurred, as changes have been made to the Pension Trust over time. The rules that are in effect during a specific period generally apply to any Covered Employment during that period. See your Summary Plan Description for more information about credited service.

Being "Vested" means you have a non-forfeitable interest in a pension benefit. In general, you will be vested in a benefit from the Pension Trust when you complete five Years of Vesting Credit. (You will also be vested when you reach your Normal Retirement Age, if that occurs before you complete five Years of Vesting Credit and are in Covered Employment.) See your Summary Plan Description for more information about vesting.

A "Break in Service" means any calendar year during which you earn less than 63 Days of Service. If before you become Vested in your pension benefit, you incur a period of consecutive Breaks in Service that equals or exceeds the greater of five or the aggregate Years of Vesting Credit earned prior to such period, you will forfeit the Years of Vesting Credit and the Pension Credit you earned prior to incurring the Break in Service.

You may be allowed a grace period which will not count toward a Break in Service if your absence from Covered Employment is the result of a disability (as determined by the Trustees), for up to six quarters; hospitalization in a recognized hospital or employment on a ship operated by MSTS or any other governmental organization that recognizes or has a bargaining relationship with MEBA; or another reason set forth in Section 1.10 of the Pension Regulations.

When You Can Retire

To "retire" you must do all of the following:

  • Stop working in Covered Employment and aboard any vessel. If any of your Pension Credit was based on employment as a port engineer, port electrician, or hull inspector, then you must completely stop working in all jobs that involve a Licensed Officer's knowledge or expertise, including but not limited to, knowledge or expertise in construction, repair, operations or maintenance activities;
  • Take all your accrued vacation; and
  • Provide documentary proof that you have withdrawn from Union membership.

The Plan offers the following types of Pensions:

You may retire with a Regular Pension if you have 20 years of Pension Credit, regardless of your age.

If you have less than 20 years of Pension Credit, you may retire with a Reduced Pension when you reach your Normal Retirement Age. Normal Retirement Age means age 65 or the fifth anniversary of the date on which you began participating in the Plan, whichever is later.

You may retire with an Early Retirement Pension when you reach age 60 if you have at least 15 years of Pension Credit.

If you become disabled, then you may retire and receive a Disability Pension if you have at least 10 years of Pension Credit. You will be considered disabled if in the opinion of the Trustees, medical evidence shows that you are totally and permanently unable, as the result of bodily injury or disease, to engage in any further employment as an Employee. To apply for a Disability Pension, you will be required to submit to an examination by a physician selected by the Trustees, and may be required to submit to reexamination periodically as the Trustees may direct. The Trustees are the sole and final judges of Disability and entitlement to a Disability Pension from the Plan.

Alternatively, you may retire and receive a Disability Pension if you have at least 6 years of Pension Credit and 6 Years of Vesting Credit. You must have ceased working in Covered Employment on or after June 1, 2001 due to a permanent and total disability which is evidenced by a Social Security Disability Award that established a Social Security Disability benefit commencement date that is within one year of the date you last worked in Covered Employment.

If you are able to work in a job other than as an Employee, then your Disability Pension will be suspended if you earn more than $36,000 in a calendar year. If that happens, then your Disability Pension will be suspended starting after that calendar year and will remain suspended until the end of the next calendar year in which you earn less than $36,000.

Other restrictions may apply to the payment of a Disability Pension. See the Disability Benefits Sections of the Pension Regulations for more information.

Maritime Employment After Retirement

You may work after you retire. However, you may be subject to penalties if you work in the maritime industry after you retire. The post-retirement work rules are explained in detail in your Summary Plan Description.

Levels of Benefits

There are three levels of pension benefits payable from the Pension Trust. Active participants receive the Article II-A and/or the Article II-B Pension benefit. In addition, prior service may apply towards an Article II Pension benefit. Each benefit is calculated differently and there are different pension types available, including regular pensions, reduced pensions, early retirement pensions and disability pensions. For more information about the different pension types and how they are calculated, see your Summary Plan Description.

How Your Pension Can Be Paid

After you reach your earliest possible retirement date, you can begin receiving your pension at any time after you retire and submit a properly completed pension application.

You have several options to choose from in deciding how your pension will be paid:

  • Single Life Annuity – this is the normal form of payment if you are not married
  • Qualified 50% Joint and Survivor Annuity – this is the normal form of payment if you are married
  • Automatic Cash Out
  • 50% Pop-up Annuity
  • 100% or 75% Regular Annuity
  • 100% Pop-up Annuity
  • Combined Benefit Option

Refer to your Summary Plan Description for detailed descriptions of these options.

Learn how to file your application for a pension.

Survivor Benefits

Your survivors may be eligible to receive benefits from the Pension Trust following your death. The amount and type of benefits your survivors may receive depends on your status (active or retired) at the time of your death and the payment option you have selected.

Frequently Asked Questions


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MEBA Benefit Plans
1007 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21202-4345
(410) 547-9111 or (800) 811-MEBA