457(b) Retirement Plan

The 457(b) Eligible Deferred Compensation Plan allows a limited group of highly compensated employees to defer compensation in a tax-favored manner under a non-qualified plan.

Eligible employees include staff or faculty members whose total base salary (primary and secondary jobs) for the calendar year will be at least 125% of the earnings threshold used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to determine whether an individual is a highly compensated employee. For 2024, the base salary requirement to participate in the 457(b) Plan is $193,750.

What Is The Benefit of a 457(b) Plan?

The 457(b) Plan is not intended to replace the 403(b) Plan for eligible employees. Instead, the 457(b) is a “top hat” plan that provides an additional opportunity for retirement savings to eligible employees who are already contributing the maximum amount to the 403(b). (However, you do not need to exhaust your 403(b) deferrals in order to contribute to the 457(b) plan.) All contributions to the 457(b) Plan are made on a pre-tax basis and are always 100% vested.

To understand more about how the 457(b) plan works together with your GW 403(b) and 401(a) plans, please review the Three-Plan Comparison (PDF).

Enrolling and Contribution Changes

To newly enroll in the 457(b) plan, or to change or cancel an existing 457(b) contribution election, please submit to GW Benefits a completed Salary Reduction Agreement

Contribution Limits

In 2024, eligible employees can contribute up to $23,000 to the 457(b) plan.  This contribution limit is established by the IRS each year, and may be amended in future years.

Limited catch-up contributions may also be available for eligible employees during the years they turn age 62, 63, and 64, and who contributed less than the deferral limits in any previous years that they were participating. If you would like to make catch-up contributions, please contact GW Benefits for a review of your eligibility.

Investment Choices

Both TIAA and Fidelity offer investment options for the 457(b) Plan. You may direct your contributions for investment in any of the fund choices offered by either provider under the plan.


On termination of employment, participants have a 60 day window to submit a distribution election to their provider. You will receive notice from your investment provider regarding your distribution options. If no distribution election is received by your provider within 60 days after your termination date, you will receive a lump sum distribution. Distribution elections are irrevocable and cannot be changed once distributions have commenced. 

GW 457(b) participants may elect one of the following distribution options:

  • Lump sum
  • Monthly installments over a fixed period (must meet required minimum distribution rules)
  • Annuity (TIAA participants only)
  • Direct-transfer to another non-governmental 457(b) plan

Deferral of distributions

If you are under age 65, you may elect to defer your distributions to a later date, but no later than 60 days after you turn age 65. Participants who elect to defer distributions within their initial 60 day window, may also make one additional irrevocable deferral election to delay distribution further (no later than 60 days after they turn age 65), as long as notice is provided more than 30 days prior to the original distribution date.

In-service distributions

If you are still working for GW, in-service distributions may also be available in the following situations. Please contact GW Benefits to request in-service withdrawals:

  • Unforseeable emergencies
  • Voluntary distribution if your 457(b) balance does not exceed $5,000 and no contributions have been made in the prior 2 years