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How to Retire

Congratulations on your upcoming retirement! Once your date is set, becoming a PERA retiree is easy. All the forms are available online at the links shared below. You can also order a Retirement Application Kit, which contains paper versions of all the forms.

Retirement Forms to Submit - Required

The are only two required steps to begin your retirement with PERA: Fill out and submit your PERA Retirement Application and fill out and submit your Direct Deposit by EFT form.

Important dates to remember:

  • We recommend you submit your PERA Retirement Application 60-90 days before your retirement date. However, you are able to submit your paperwork as late as the day before your retirement date and still retire, but your first retirement check will likely be delayed.
  • Your PERA retirement date is the first day of the month after your last physical day on the job, your last day of leave used, or your termination date, whichever is later. For example, if your last day on the job and termination date is April 25, your retirement date with PERA is May 1, and you will receive your first benefit check on the last business day of May. If your last day on the job is April 25 but your termination date is May 31, your retirement date with PERA is June 1, and you will receive your first benefit check on the last business day of June.

Your employer is also required to submit paperwork to PERA

Your employer needs to submit a Final Six Months' Salary Report to PERA, ideally, before your last day of employment. If your employer is unable to submit their paperwork until after you have left, your first payment from PERA may be delayed. As a result, we recommend you have two months of living expenses saved when you retire.

Retirement Forms to Submit - Optional

Health Benefits (PERACare) 

PERA retirees can choose to enroll themselves and/or their spouse and eligible dependents in PERACare health, dental, and vision insurance.

Keep in mind:

  • If you are not yet 65, you are eligible to enroll in a pre-Medicare healthcare plan.
  • If you are 65 or older, you are eligible for Medicare plans.
  • If you enroll with a spouse and one of you is over 65 and the other under, you can enroll in combination coverage until you both are 65.
  • Coverage can begin as soon as your first month of retirement.
  • We recommend submitting your PERACare enrollment forms with your Retirement Application.
  • Your monthly premium will be deducted from your monthly benefit. Since you pay your monthly premium in advance, your first benefit check will include a deduction for the current month’s premium in addition to the regular premium for the next month.
  • Eligible retirees qualify for a PERACare health insurance premium subsidy, based on service credit that will be automatically applied to your premium.
  • PERACare is not a continuation of the health insurance coverage you had while employed. There are other important differences between health care while you’re employed and in retirement. We host PERACare virtual informational sessions with PERA experts multiple times each week. Register here to learn more.

Your PERA benefit is taxable. If you do not choose your tax withholding, PERA is required by federal law to withhold federal income tax at a rate for a single individual with no adjustments.

Complete your tax withholding preference online here, OR download Form W-4P

Federal taxes

  • PERA can withhold federal taxes from your monthly benefit amount.
  • If you have retirement income beyond your PERA benefit (including withdrawals from a 401(k) or 457), the amount you owe in taxes is determined by your total income for the year.
  • Please review the Taxes on One-Time Distributions fact sheet prior to completing Form W-4R if you will be refunding your own PERA account instead of taking a monthly benefit and you wish to change the default withholding on this one-time distribution. 

State taxes

  • PERA can withhold Colorado state taxes from your monthly benefit amount. You can adjust the amount you withhold at any time on your online PERA account.
  • PERA can’t withhold taxes for any other state.
  • If you live in a state other than Colorado, your state taxes are determined by and owed to that state. You would not owe state taxes to Colorado.

Review the full guide to taxes on PERA benefits below:

Taxes on PERA Benefits booklet


What to Expect in Retirement

Working in retirement

If you’re considering working after retirement, there are a few things to know:

  • If you work for an employer that is not associated with PERA, you are not subject to any rules about working in retirement.
  • If you work for a PERA-covered employer, you must follow the rules laid out in Colorado state law. For example, you can’t work in your first month of retirement and are limited in the total number of days you can work in a year without a penalty.

Click here to learn more about working in retirement.

Annual increases

After your first 36 months of retirement, you become eligible for annual increases.

  • Annual increases always are applied during July, regardless of when your retirement date was.
  • The annual increase is a percentage that can fluctuate from year to year.

Click here to learn more about annual increases.