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401(k) and 457 Plan (PERAPlus) FAQs

What are the PERAPlus 401(k) and 457 Plans? 

The PERAPlus 401(k) and 457 Plans are voluntary investment accounts that allow you to save extra money for retirement, in addition to what you contribute to your PERA account. All employees of PERA-affiliated employers may enroll in the PERAPlus 401(k) Plan, however, enrollment in the PERAPlus 457 Plan is only available to employees/members who work for PERA employers who have affiliated with the PERAPlus 457 Plan.

What is the difference between the 401(k) and 457 Plans? 

Both the PERAPlus 401(k) and 457 Plans allow you to save additional money for retirement, which you choose how to invest. While 401(k) plans are common with public and private employers, 457 plans are usually offered by state and local governments and some nonprofits.

The plans have many similarities, but the main differences are: 

Early withdrawal penalties:

  • PERAPlus 401(k) Plan: If you withdraw your account without rolling it over into another retirement account, you could face a 10% penalty for early withdrawal if you are under the age of 59.5 (unless you leave your job during or after the year you turn 55), in addition to paying income tax on the withdrawal.
  • PERAPlus 457 Plan: There is no penalty for early withdrawal, but you will still be subject to income tax on your withdrawal.

Additional catch-up contributions:

  • The PERAPlus 457 Plan has a special catch-up provision that may apply if you’re three years from retirement eligibility. If approved, you may be able to contribute up to twice the regular limit for that three-year period.

See the chart below for more information.

PERAPlus 401(k) and 457 Plan Comparison Chart
How do I know if I’m eligible for the PERAPlus 457 Plan? 

Enrollment in the PERAPlus 457 Plan is allowed only if your employer has affiliated with the PERAPlus 457 Plan. Contact your employer to find out if you’re eligible to enroll. 

How do I enroll in a PERAPlus plan? 

PERAPlus 401(k) Plan: All PERA members are eligible to enroll. To begin making contributions or change your contribution amount, fill out the PERAPlus 401(k) Contribution Authorization Form below and provide it to your employer. To view or set up your online account to make investment changes and add beneficiaries, visit coperaplus.org.

PERAPlus 401(k) Contribution Authorization Form

If you are working for a PERA-affiliated employer but are not a PERA member, you may enroll by completing the 401(k) Participant Information Form below

401(k) Participant Information Form

PERAPlus 457 Plan: You can only enroll in the PERAPlus 457 Plan if you work for an employer who offers the plan. To enroll or make changes, visit coperaplus.org.

If you are working for a PERAPlus 457 Plan-affiliated employer but are not a PERA member, you may enroll by completing the 457 Participant Information Form below

457 Participant Information Form
Do I have to wait for my employer’s open enrollment period to enroll in a PERAPlus 401(k) or 457 Plan? 

No. Enrollment in the PERAPlus 401(k) and 457 Plans is voluntary and is available at any time. Click here for more information. 

Why hasn't my contribution posted yet? 

Your employer has up to five business days to send all contributions to PERA for processing. Then, if applicable, we forward contributions to Empower Retirement for posting to your PERA Defined Contribution (DC) Plan, PERAPlus 401(k) and/or 457 Plan account(s). Generally, contributions are posted as soon as possible after we receive them.

How do I notify Empower of my termination date? 

When you leave your PERA-covered job, your employer will typically forward your termination date to PERA for processing. We then send that information to Empower.

With the PERA Defined Contribution (DC) Plan and PERA Plus 401(k)/457 Plans, there is a 30-day waiting period from the date of termination before you can make a withdrawal from your account. This allows for any trailing contributions to post to your account.

What's the difference between copera.org and coperaplus.org? 

www.copera.org is the official website of Colorado PERA and should be your first stop for all matters related to the PERA Defined Benefit (DB) Plan. You can also use the site to communicate with us and learn more about PERA benefits.

www.coperaplus.org is the online portal for accessing and managing your PERA Defined Contribution (DC) Plan and/or PERAPlus 401(k)/457 Plan accounts. It is managed by Empower Retirement, the recordkeeper for those plans.