What Are Catch-Up Contributions?

What Are Catch-Up Contributions?


Many investors find themselves with retirement a few years away and a retirement account with less than they’d hoped. If you are in this situation, you may have opportunities to “catch-up” on contributions to your retirement account (depending on the type of retirement plan your employer offers and the plan’s specific guidelines).

Age 50 Catch-Up Contributions

Starting during the year you turn 50, you can make pre-tax catch-up contributions to 401(k), 403(b) and governmental 457(b) plans. You can make these contributions in addition to the annual deferral limit ($19,000 for 2019) as well as other catch-up contributions historically allowed under 403(b) and governmental 457(b) plans.

Not all plans permit the age 50 catch-up contributions, and it’s not mandatory. However, most plans include this option so participants can make more tax-deferred contributions as they get closer to retirement age.

In addition to reaching the qualifying age, you must make regular plan contributions that reach at least one of these four limits before catch-up contributions can begin:

  1. 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans — The annual deferral limit is $19,000 (in 2019)
  2. 401(k) and 403(b) plans — The annual additions limit is $19,000 (in 2019), which is the lesser of 100 percent of compensation or the dollar contribution limit 
  3. 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans — The plan’s deferral limit. (For example, a plan may limit the maximum percentage that a participant can defer to 15 percent)
  4. 401(k) plans — The annual nondiscrimination test for deferrals limit for highly compensated employees (HCEs) 

15-Year Catch-Up Contributions

Certain participants may increase elective deferrals to a 403(b) plan — beyond the normal annual plan contribution limits and age 50 catch-up contributions. These are called 15-year catch-up contributions.

If you have completed 15 years of service with a qualified organization, you may be eligible for this additional 403(b) catch-up contribution. Some examples of qualified organizations may be: a church, a convention or association of churches, education organizations, health and welfare service agencies, home health service agencies and hospitals.

If you are eligible for a 15-year catch-up contribution and an age 50 catch-up contribution, you must  make the 15-year catch-up contribution first. You should maintain accurate records of deferrals made while working for a qualified organization to ensure your eligibility for the 15-year and age 50 catch-up contributions.

Special 457(B) Catch-Up Contributions

Participants who meet certain criteria also may increase elective deferrals to a 457(b) plan beyond the normal annual plan contribution limits. This may be in addition to age 50 catch-up contributions. To be eligible, you must be within three years of their 457(b) plan’s Normal Retirement Age.

to increase your contributions and take advantage of catch-up contributions.


Group annuity contracts are issued by American United Life Insurance Company® (AUL) and registered variable annuity products are distributed by OneAmerica Securities, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA, SIPC, One American Square, Indianapolis, IN 46282, 1-877-285-3863. McCready and Keene, Inc. and OneAmerica Retirement Services LLC provide administrative and recordkeeping services and are not brokers/dealers or an investment advisors. Neither AUL, OneAmerica Securities, McCready and Keene, OneAmerica Retirement Services nor their representatives provide tax, legal, fiduciary or investment advice.



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