The Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA)

Authored By: Colorado Legal Services


The Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA)
by: Colorado Legal Services

The following information is provided by Colorado Legal Services. It is intended as general information only, and is not meant as legal advice for any specific situation. If you need legal advice, consult an attorney.

Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA)

The Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA) provides public employees of the State of Colorado with retirement, disability and survivors benefits. Benefits include both a cash benefit and health coverage. PERA also offers voluntary 401(k) and 457 investment plans, as well as term life insurance policies.

The amount of PERA cash benefits depends on a member's age, years of service, and highest average salary. Benefits can be paid earlier and the benefit amounts are generally higher benefits than Social Security benefits.

In January 1998, PERA began offering a long-term care program for members, retirees, and their eligible family members. The program is now closed to new applicants, but existing policies continue in force as long as premiums are paidEffective January 1999, to qualify for disability or retirement benefits, a recipient must have at least five years of service. Depending on their medical condition, the applicant could qualify for a retirement benefit, a disability benefit, or a short-term disability benefit. Short-term disability benefits pay up to 60% of earnings for up to 22 months.

To qualify for a survivor's benefits, the decadent must have worked at least one year, unless the death is job-incurred, in which case there is no service requirement.

Children of covered members can receive benefits to age 18, age 23 for unmarried, full-time students.

For most PERA members, PERA serves as a substitute for Social Security, but an individual may receive both benefits. However, the Social Security benefit will be subject to a reduction. The amount of the reduction will be determined by the type of Social Security received by the PERA retiree. Social Security retirement and disability benefits are reduced by a complicated formula called the "windfall elimination provision." Social Security spouses' and widow(er)s' benefits are reduced by two-thirds of the amount of the government pension. This is called the "government pension offset.

For more information visit the PERA website.

If you need advice on this or any other legal problem, contact an attorney of your own choosing. If you cannot afford an attorney, talk to Colorado Legal Services: 303-837-1321.

Updated 09/11

Last Review and Update: Sep 06, 2011