Deferred compensation is a payment arrangement where a part of an employee’s income is paid out later than the date the income is earned. You can defer your compensation concerning your pension, retirement plan, and employee stock choices.

Who Qualifies for Deferred Compensation Plans?

Deferred compensation plans are a way to let highly paid workers stash away more money than permitted under 401(k) ‘s and similar retirement plans. Generally, it applies to workers making at least $115,000. Businesses may have to pay interest on the deferred money.

What Are Some of the Benefits of Deferred Compensation?

There are several advantages associated with deferred compensation plans. It reduces the income an employee obtains when a person puts money into the plan. Some taxes that apply to income will be deferred until the worker receives the payment. In this way, the worker can let the money grow without assessing the annual tax.

Further, the worker is virtually guaranteed reliable income at retirement. Workers are entitled to use deferred compensation and regular pay to build income for retirement.

Deferred compensation that is offered via investment account or stock also has the opportunity to increase the expected return over time. Nevertheless, this is a double-edged sword, as the amount can also drop over time.

What Are the Drawbacks of Deferred Compensation?

If you’re an employer, the most significant disadvantage is that the compensation contributed to the plan isn’t deductible on your taxes until the worker obtains the amount.

If you’re an employee, deferred compensation plans can be dangerous. Whereas 401(k) contributions are held in trust and protected from creditors and bankruptcy, deferred compensation plans are generally unsecured promises to pay benefits later. Additionally, the compensation offered via investment accounts or stocks may reduce the expected return.

Eventually, with deferred compensation plans, the worker accepts a lower paycheck each pay period with a specific amount placed in the compensation fund.

What If I Have a Dispute Over the Deferred Compensation Plan?

Arguments can sometimes happen over deferred compensation plans. For example, many filed cases involve a withholding of funds or benefits. These can often be settled by reviewing the employment contract between the worker and employer.

Deferred compensation is often included as part of the original contract upon hiring, though it may be added later. In any event, it’s always a good idea to have compensation plans documented in writing.

Some circumstances may need legal proceedings to resolve completely. These may need the defendant to issue a monetary damages award to the plaintiff if it can be confirmed that the worker is entitled to such remedies. In these lawsuits, a detailed study of all compensation paperwork and documents will be needed.

What Are Retirement Benefits?

Retirement benefits refer to a financial security setup intended to sustain a person after leaving the workforce. Social security is the government program that provides financial support to the elderly, disabled and retired populations.

Social security benefits make up a large part of most individuals’ retirement plans. Throughout a person’s employment, they pay a portion or percentage of their regular income to the government. These payments are known as Social Security taxes and are issued every month after retirement or a qualifying disability.

As retirement benefits are resolved by how much a person earned throughout their working life, higher lifetime earnings equate to higher benefits. When a person is working and paying Social Security taxes, they earn credits towards their benefits.

The number of credits a person would need to obtain retirement benefits depends on the year they were born. If they have stopped working before gaining adequate credits to qualify for retirement benefits, the credits remain on their Social Security record. When they later return to work, more credits will be added.

How much money a person may expect when they retire is based primarily on the following two factors:

  • Earnings: The Social Security Administration, or “SSA,” averages a person’s earnings throughout their career to determine what they will be entitled to. As previously discussed, their retirement benefits depend on how much they earn while working.
  • Age: The earliest age at which a person may start withdrawing retirement benefits is 62. The longer a person waits to withdraw retirement benefits, the more benefits they will acquire.

Does My Retirement Date Determine How Much Money I Will Be Entitled To?

The Social Security Administration categorizes retirement benefits into three general classifications:

  • Full Retirement: Refers to a person waiting until their full retirement age before taking any benefits. When doing this, they will receive the maximum amount of payments available. The age at which a person qualifies for maximum retirement benefits is determined by what year they were born. The current full retirement ages range between 65 and 67.
  • Early Retirement: Early retirement refers to a person choosing to retire between the minimum age of 62 and their full retirement age. If a person decides to retire early, their retirement benefits are permanently lowered. Such a reduction is based on the number of months until they reach full retirement age, ranging between 7% and 30%.
  • Delayed Retirement: Choosing to work past full retirement age increases a person’s Social Security benefits. In addition to increasing their earnings, the SSA will boost benefits by a certain percentage for each additional year a person works past their full retirement age.

To find out how much you may be entitled to obtain when you retire, the Social Security Administration sends an annual earnings statement. The SSA sends this statement to every worker aged 25 or older and figures expected retirement benefits. Also, you may create a Social Security account if:

  • You are aged 18 or older;
  • You have a Social Security number (SSN); and
  • You have a valid U.S. mailing address.

With this account, you may be able to view your Social Security Statements and receive an estimate of your retirement benefits.

Is My Family Entitled to My Retirement Benefits?

If you are receiving Social Security or retirement benefits, some of your family members may be eligible also to receive retirement benefits. This could include:

  • Spouses who are aged 62 or older;
  • Spouses under the age of 62 who are caring for your child aged 16 or younger;
  • Spouses under the age of 62 who are caring for your disabled kid;
  • Former spouses aged 62 or older, if they meet specific qualifications;
  • Disabled children, even if they are over the age of 18; and
  • Kids up to the age of 18, or up to 19 if they are full-time students not graduated from high school.

Should I Seek Legal Counsel for Help with Deferred Compensation Issues?

Deferred compensation plans are a common characteristic of many employment agreements. You may desire to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer in your area if you need any legal guidance or advice when it comes to a compensation plan.

Your attorney can explain which choices might be best for you. If you need to file a lawsuit due to a conflict, your lawyer can represent you in a court of law. Also, you may wish to employ an attorney early on so that you have representation during the negotiations and contract reviewing stages.