Tough choices for state workers

After fund loses $13 billion, public employees consider their retirement options

What is PERA?

The Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association is a pension fund for Colorado public employees, including all state employees, schoolteachers, state troopers, judges and employees from several local government entities.

PERA employees are required to pay a percentage of their paychecks that earn a fixed rate of interest, and employers contribute a higher percentage, both of which are invested.

The benefit formula for retirees is the highest average salary multiplied by years of service and a 2.5 percent multiplier set by the Legislature.

PERA is a substitute for Social Security for most retirees, and in addition to lifetime retirement benefits, retirees receive survivor and disability benefits, can participate in a voluntary 401(k) plan and receive annual cost-of-living increases to their benefits.

Employees hired before 2007 are eligible to retire with 100 percent benefits if their age and years of service combine to equal at least 80, but for employees hired after Jan. 1, 2007, the two must equal 85.

Employees can purchase up to 10 years of service for early retirement, however.


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