Built-in Benefits

You are automatically entitled to additional benefits based on your years of service in the PERA Defined Benefit (DB) Plan.* The programs below are available to qualifying members at no additional cost.

Disability Benefits

If you are unable to work due to a medical condition, you may be eligible for PERA’s two-tier disability program:

Short-Term Disability (STD) Coverage

STD insurance is intended to help you return to work as soon as practical to your previous job or another job.

Disability Retirement Coverage

Disability retirement is intended to provide you with monthly benefits if you are, due to a medical condition, totally and permanently disabled from engaging in any regular and substantial gainful employment.

Requirements to Apply for the Disability Program

  • Generally, you must have five or more years of earned service credit, with at least six months of this credit earned in the most recent membership period.
  • PERA must receive your application within 90 days after you have terminated PERA-covered employment.
  • You must not be eligible for service retirement.
  • You must not have refunded your PERA account if you are an inactive member.

Applying for the Program

You should apply as soon as possible after your medical condition prevents you from working. However, in all cases, state law requires that the Disability Program Application must be received by PERA no later than 90 days after termination of PERA-covered employment.

Survivor Benefits

PERA’s survivor benefit program provides income to your survivors following your death. In many cases, your survivors will receive an ongoing monthly benefit.

Survivor Benefits—PERA Benefit Structure

You must meet the following requirements to qualify for survivor benefits:

  • Be eligible to retire, OR
  • Be an active member with at least one year of service credit, OR
  • Had a job-related death, OR
  • Be an inactive member with at least five years of service and have a surviving spouse.

Survivor Benefits—Denver Public Schools (DPS) Benefit Structure

You must meet the following requirements to qualify for survivor benefits:

  • Be an active member with more than five years of continuous service, OR
  • Have qualified for disability retirement after July 1, 1962, and have yet to meet the age requirement for recalculation of your disability retirement benefits.

If you don’t meet these qualifications under either benefit structure, a one-time lump-sum payment of your account will be made to your named beneficiary or, if you do not have a named beneficiary, to your estate.

State law determines who is eligible for survivor benefits. However, you can name a beneficiary who will receive the one-time, lump sum payment if you have no qualified survivors.


*  These benefits are not included for members participating in the PERA DC Plan. See the PERAChoice Brochure for full details.

Changing Your Beneficiary

Changing Your Beneficiary