401(a) Defined Contribution Plan Overview

This Defined Contribution Plan is a mandatory plan and is established under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 401(a).  Under the Plan, you postpone receiving (defer) a portion of your salary.  The assets accumulated under the Plan are distributed at retirement or due to another qualifying event such as disability, death, or separation from service.

It works like this for employees with pay grade 19 and above:

  • You are required to make a contribution each pay period equal to 6% of your compensation.
  • The City makes a matching contribution each pay period equal to 6% of your compensation.

For employees with pay grade 18 and below, sworn police and fire personnel hired after September 1, 2011, or switched over to Hybrid Plan:

  • You are required to make a contribution each pay period equal to 3.75% of your compensation.
  • The City makes a matching contribution each pay period equal to 3.75% of your compensation.
  • You also can contribute an optional amount up to 4.25% of your compensation to the 457 Plan and the City will match that amount as well.
  • Contributions are invested in the investment options you have selected.
  • The contributions and any earnings that accumulate are not taxed until they are distributed.  This is usually at retirement when you may be in a lower tax bracket.
  • Amounts are held for the exclusive benefit of Plan participants and beneficiaries.

This website is intended to be a summary of the Plan provisions.  In the event that a conflict exists between the information contained within this website and the plan document, the plan document provisions prevail.  For more information, please contact your local representatives.


The 401(a) Plan is a mandatory plan available to all full-time, permanent, general employees hired between September 1, 2001, and December 31, 2005.  For employees hired after January 1, 2006, please contact your Human Resources representative to determine eligibility.


Under the Plan, the maximum annual contribution amount is set by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines on a yearly basis. You may view the current limits here.


All Participants shall at all times be fully invested in their Mandatory Employee Contributions.

All Participant Employer Contributions shall vest in accordance with the following vesting schedule:

Years of Service Completed by Participant Vested Percentage
Less than 1 0%
1 Year, but less than 2 20%
2 Years, but less than 3 40%
3 Years, but less than 4 60%
4 Years, but less than 5 80%
5 Years or more 100%


Timing of Distributions

Distributions are allowed only upon retirement, separation from service, disability, or death, which are considered to be "triggering events."  You are not allowed to take a distribution of your 401(a) benefits while you are still working.

After you have separated from employment and would like to select a benefit payment option, please call our Retirement Readiness Service Center (call center) at (800) 584-6001 to request a distribution and for the Termination/Distribution Request Authorization form that you will need to complete.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that distributions under a 401(a) Plan or a 457 Plan begin no later than the April 1st of the calendar year following the calendar year in which you attain age 70½ or retire, whichever occurs later.  If you fail to take the minimum required distribution timely for any tax year, an IRS 50% excise tax is imposed on the required amount that was not timely distributed.  These rules are referred to as IRS minimum required distribution requirements (RMDs).

Disability Insurance

Disability insurance is available through Voya.  Please call (800) 328-4090 and reference policy number (#) 63351- 8.

Payment Options

When you are entitled to a distribution of benefits under the Plan, you can choose from any (or a combination) of the payment options described below:

  • Lump sum - take all or a portion of your account balance in cash;
  • Roll over into another eligible plan - your distribution can be rolled over into a 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), another government 457(b) plan, or a traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). All distributions are eligible for rollover except for IRS MRDs payable on or after you attain age 70½; and/or
  • Postpone any decision on benefit payments until a later date, no later than age 70½.

Beneficiary Designation and Death Benefits

You are permitted to designate a person or persons to receive payment of benefits in the event of your death.  Included in your Participant Agreement form for the 401(a) Plan is the opportunity to designate a beneficiary.  If you wish to change your beneficiary, you must complete a Beneficiary Designation Form.  You can obtain this form by contacting our Retirement Readiness Service Center (call center) at (800) 584-6001.

Upon your death, benefits would be payable to the beneficiary(ies) that you designated under the Plan.  Your beneficiary will be entitled to select from a variety of payment options, which are generally the same options that would have been available to you.  Your beneficiary will need to call the City of Atlanta Benefits Department for validation of beneficiary and appropriate paperwork.


All of the payments you receive from the Plan are subject to federal and state income taxes.

Federal income tax withholding will apply to your payments, as described below, based on whether you were eligible to rollover the distribution.

  • If you receive a distribution that is eligible to be rolled over, a mandatory 20% will be withheld for Federal tax purposes at the time of payment.
  • If you receive a distribution that was not eligible to be rolled over, 10% will be withheld for federal tax purposes at the time of payment.  However, you may elect to have no withholding withheld.
  • Amounts distributed from the 401(a) Plan prior to your attaining age 59½ are subject to the IRS 10% premature distribution penalty tax unless an IRS exception applies.  IRS exceptions to the 10% penalty tax include payments made:
    -To your beneficiary as a result of your death;
    - Upon your separation from service/retirement on or after you attain age 55;
    - In substantially equal amounts over your life/life expectancy; or
    - As a result of your total and permanent disability.

Voya does not offer tax or legal advice.  You should consult with a tax advisor and /or tax attorney concerning your personal situation before making a financial / investment decision.


Loans are available under the Plan.

Loans may impact your withdrawal value and limit participation in future growth potential.


You should consider the investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses of the variable investment options offered through a retirement plan, carefully before investing. The fund prospectuses and information booklet containing this and other information can be obtained by contacting your local representative. Please read the information carefully before investing.

Group annuities and mutual funds offered through a retirement plan are intended as long-term investments designed for retirement purposes. Money taken from the annuity will be taxed as ordinary income in the year the money is distributed. Account values fluctuate with market conditions, and when surrendered the principal may be worth more or less than its original amount invested. An annuity does not provide any additional tax deferral benefit, as tax deferral is provided by the plan. Annuities may be subject to additional fees and expenses to which other tax-qualified funding vehicles may not be subject. However, an annuity does provide other features and benefits, such as lifetime income payments and death benefits, which may be valuable to you.

Insurance products, annuities and retirement plan funding issued by (third party administrative services may also be provided by) Voya Retirement Insurance and Annuity Company, One Orange Way, Windsor, CT 06095-4774. Securities are distributed by Voya Financial Partners, LLC (member SIPC). All companies are members of the Voya® family of companies. Securities may also be distributed through other broker-dealers with which Voya has selling agreements. Insurance obligations are the responsibility of each individual company. Product and services may not be available in all states.