A benefit that an employee has earned (or accrued) through his participation in the plan. In a defined contribution plan (i.e. a profit sharing/401(k) plan), the accrued benefit of a participant is the balance in his individual account at a given time. The accrued benefit should not be confused, however, with the benefit that a participant has a “vested” right (non-forfeitable) to receive if he leaves prior to retirement. This benefit is determined by referring to the plan's vesting schedule and the years of service credited to the participant.