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Leaving a PERA-Covered Job FAQs

How do I get my money from PERA and how long does it take? 

If you are no longer working for a PERA employer you can either leave your member account at PERA and qualify for a monthly lifetime benefit when you are retirement eligible, or you can refund/rollover your member account with a potential match. Learn more about your options here, including accessing the Refund/Rollover Request form. It can take up to 90 days after PERA receives the necessary documentation to receive your refund/rollover.

How long can I leave my DB account with PERA? 

You will be required to take a distribution from your PERA DB account upon reaching the appropriate Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) age set for you by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A distribution can be a refund/rollover of the entire balance or initiation of your benefit payments. You can find more information about this requirement at

How do I claim my inactive account? 

You can log into or set up your online access to your PERA account by clicking the green “Member Login/Registration” button at the top of the page. In your secure account, you can view the tax-deferred and tax-paid amounts in your DB Plan account(s).


What are my choices if I leave employment before I’m eligible to retire? 

You may leave your account with PERA for a future monthly benefit or rollover/refund your account. If you rollover/refund your account, you have the following options: 

  • Rollover of your account to another tax-deferred plan or IRA. 
  • Refund your account as a taxable payment to you. 
  • A combination of a rollover/refund. 
If I leave PERA-covered employment and elect to take a rollover/refund of my account rather than a monthly benefit, do I get any of the employer’s contributions? 

You may be eligible for a portion of the employer’s contributions depending on your benefit structure, years of service credit, and if you are eligible for retirement at the time of your rollover/refund. The Refund/Rollover Request and Tax Considerations for Refunds and Rollovers brochures have more details.

Why should I leave my Defined Benefit (DB) Account with PERA until retirement? 

You may want to leave your DB Plan account(s) with PERA, especially if you anticipate returning to PERA employment or if you would like to receive a lifetime monthly benefit in the future. Your DB Plan account(s) will remain tax-deferred, continue to accrue interest, and you may do a refund/rollover at any time. Visit the Leaving PERA-Covered Employment webpage for more information.

What if I refund my account but then go back to work covered by PERA? 

Once you refund, you will not be entitled to the benefit provisions associated with your previous hire date. That will likely mean that you will have to wait longer before reaching retirement eligibility and have more money subject to PERA contributions, among other changes. You can purchase back the service you earned during your previous employment period. However, purchasing service credit will not:

  • Increase your earned service, which could affect when you retire.
  • Be used in determining your Highest Average Salary—or HAS—which could affect the amount of your monthly retirement benefit.
  • Count toward eligibility for the PERA disability program.
Are there tax consequences if I refund my account? 

Unless you do a direct rollover to another tax-deferred plan, you will pay state and federal taxes on your refund. Additionally, if you are under age 59½, you may pay a 10% penalty to the IRS for early distribution for refunding. See the Tax Considerations for Refunds and Rollovers fact sheet for more information.