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General FAQs About Colorado PERA 

What is PERA? 

The Public Employees' Retirement Association of Colorado (Colorado PERA) was established by state law in 1931 and provides retirement and other benefits to the employees of more than 500 government agencies and public entities in the state of Colorado. Colorado PERA is an innovative and sustainable provider of financial and retirement security serving Colorado’s public employers and their employees. Building on a tradition of service to meet the changing needs of our diverse membership, Colorado PERA is a responsible steward of the trust funds and practices good governance while valuing transparency, upholding ethical conduct, and providing excellent customer service.

How many members does PERA have? 

Colorado PERA provides retirement and other benefits to more than 630,000 current and former classroom teachers, State Troopers, snowplow drivers, corrections officers, judges, local and State employees, and many other public employees who provide valuable services to all of Colorado. 

Who oversees the management of PERA? 

PERA operates by authority of the Colorado General Assembly and is administered under Title 24, Article 51 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. The Colorado General Assembly sets benefit amounts and contribution rates while the PERA Board of Trustees has the responsibility for the investment of PERA’s funds and establishing policy guidelines for the operations of PERA.

 

Who serves on the Board? 

The 16-member Board of Trustees includes three Trustees appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate; four members from the School Division; three members from the State Division; one member from the Local Government Division; one Judicial Division member; two PERA retirees; a non-voting, ex officio member from the DPS Division; and the State Treasurer as an ex officio, voting member. 

What is the role of the General Assembly? 

Benefit provisions and contribution rates are set by the General Assembly. Legislation is required to make any changes to benefits and contributions; the PERA Board does not have authority to alter the benefit structure. 

What oversight is there of PERA? 

All Board meetings are public and include time for public comment. PERA reports annually to the Governor and to the General Assembly through the Legislative Audit Committee, Joint Finance Committee, and the Joint Budget Committee. Additionally, the State Auditor selects a firm to conduct an annual audit of PERA and these findings are reported to the Legislative Audit Committee. 

How is PERA funded? 

PERA benefits are pre-funded, which means while members are working, they are required to contribute a fixed percentage of their salary to the retirement trust funds. Employers also contribute a percentage of pay to the trust funds. In addition, the State makes an annual direct distribution to PERA. The trust funds are then invested by PERA under the direction of the PERA Board.

Direct Distribution fact sheet

 

What is PERA’s funded status? 

It is both PERA's goal and a requirement of state law to bring the plan to full funding, which benefits PERA's membership and Colorado taxpayers with a stronger, more stable retirement fund. PERA analyzes its progress to reach the goal of full funding for each of the five divisions of PERA's trust funds and report the total amount of unfunded liability. Each division's current funded status is also reported. Find the latest unfunded liability and funded status here.  

 

How does PERA stay on-track to achieving its funding goal? 

The automatic adjustment provision was part of the legislative changes designed to make sure PERA continues to positively move toward the funding goal and ensures the long-term stability of retirement benefits for retirees today and in the future. The provision keeps PERA on the path to full funding by making incremental changes that are responsive to demographic and economic conditions. 

Automatic Adjustment Provisions fact sheet