To qualify workers must have completed at least 15 years of service with the same employer.
Does this mean that I don't qualify if I worked for a school district for 14 years and then this last year I changed school districts?
Or does working as a government employee for 15 yrs qualify me even though I work for different districts?
The 403(b) has its own additional catch-up provision called the "15-year rule." This special "catch-up" provision allows participants to increase their annual contribution by $3,000 more than the current $13,000 limit (as of 2003). To qualify workers must have completed at least 15 years of service with the same employer (years of service need not be consecutive), and cannot have contributed more than an average of $5,000 in previous years. Contributions made under the "15-year rule" cannot exceed $3,000 per year, up to a $15,000 lifetime maximum (under current rules). So, conceivably a worker could make a whopping $45,000 in contributions during 2004: ($13,000 to the 403(b) + $3,000 to the 403(b) + $3,000 to the 403(b) + $26,000 to the 457(b) = $45,000).