457(b) Deferred compensation plan Contribution Limits

The maximum annual contribution limit for 457(b) plans will be $19,500 for 2021 (or 100% of gross annual compensation, if less).

Year Annual 457(b) Contribution Limits
2021 $19,500
2020 $19,500

Cost of living adjustments may allow for additional increases to these limits in increments of $500 per year.

Catch-up Contributions

A special catch-up limit allows participants who are age 50 and over to contribute an additional amount each year.

Year Annual 457(b) Contribution Limits Additional Catch Up Limit Total 457(b) Contribution Limit
2021 $19,500 $6,500 $26,000
2020 $19,500 $6,500 $26,000

Cost of living adjustments may allow for additional increases to these limits in increments of $500 per year.

If you are within three years of attaining the normal retirement age of 65, another catch-up limit allows you to contribute up to twice the "annual contribution limit." The maximum amount allowed is actually the lesser of:

  • twice the annual limit, or
  • the annual limit, plus the total amount of underutilized contributions from prior years.

Participants who use this catch-up limit cannot also use the "age 50" catch-up limit in the same year.

EXAMPLE

Let's assume it is 2021, Jane is 62 years old, and she is within three years of her normal retirement age of 65. Let's also assume that she contributed $6,000 in 2018, $7,000 in 2019, and $8,000 in 2020, for a total of $21,000. However, she could have contributed $57,000 in those three years ($18,500 + $19,000 + $19,500) for an extra $36,000. Because Jane is within three years of her normal retirement age, she can contribute the lesser of:

  • $39,000 (twice the annual 2021 limit of $19,500); or
  • $55,500 (the 2021 limit of $19,500, plus the $36,000 "left over" amount from the three previous years).

In this example, Jane would be allowed to contribute $39,000 in 2021.