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Member FAQs

How much am I contributing to PERA? Will this amount change in the future? 

Both you and your employer contribute a percentage of your salary to PERA to pay for benefits and these amounts may change in the future. You may view the current member contribution rates and information about future changes to these rates here.

What happens to my account if I die before retirement? 

Depending on your benefit structure (PERA or DPS), your qualified survivors or named beneficiaries may be eligible for a monthly survivor benefit. If there are no qualified survivors, a lump-sum payment of your member contribution account will be paid to your designated account beneficiary(ies) or your estate. Under the PERA benefit structure, the lump-sum payment will include a 100 percent match on your contributions and interest. Please see the Survivor Benefits booklet for more details. 

Survivor Benefits booklet
Can I withdraw or borrow money from my PERA account? 

Every dollar you contribute to PERA will only ever go to fund your personal retirement benefit. You do not, however, have access to that money until you terminate PERA-covered employment. Learn more about your options when you leave employment here. Note you may have access now to any voluntary savings you have accumulated in a PERAPlus account under certain situations, including hardship withdrawals.

Does PERA offer disability benefits? 

Yes, PERA provides vested members with a two-tier disability program consisting of short-term disability insurance and a disability retirement benefit. To be eligible to apply for PERA disability benefits you must have at least five years of earned service credit, of which a minimum of six months must have been earned during your current membership period, and you must not have refunded your account. PERA must receive your application within 90 days after you terminate PERA employment, otherwise you will not be eligible. You may apply before you terminate employment. You are not eligible for disability benefits if you are eligible for service retirement. Judges and Safety Officers who are injured while performing their official duties have different eligibility provisions. Please review the Colorado PERA Disability Retirement Program booklet for more information.

Colorado PERA Disability Program booklet
Does PERA offer life insurance? 

Yes, PERA offers decreasing-term group life insurance. The premiums are fixed and the death benefit amounts decrease with age. You are eligible to enroll while you are an active member. You may continue your life insurance into retirement with increased premiums. More details about the life insurance program can be reviewed here.

Does PERA offer additional investment programs to its members? 

Yes, you can make tax-deferred contributions to the PERAPlus 401(k) Plan and the PERAPlus 457 Plan (if your employer participates). A Roth option is also available if your employer has adopted it. You may enroll at any time.  

How are PERA benefits coordinated with Social Security benefits? 

Your PERA benefit is not affected by Social Security. However, your Social Security benefit may be reduced if you are receiving a PERA benefit. Please see the PERA and Social Security fact sheet for more details.

PERA and Social Security fact sheet

For specific information about a reduction to your Social Security benefit, contact the Social Security Administration by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visiting their website at www.ssa.gov.