Preparing for Retirement

There are many considerations as you plan for retirement, and Colorado PERA has many resources available to help you. In addition to the information below, please review the lists of publications, forms, and calculators at the bottom of the page.

Attend PERA Meetings

PERA offers a variety of informational meetings where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and obtain general information about retirement.

Consider Purchasing Service Credit

If you have not purchased service credit during your PERA-covered career, it may still be beneficial for you to do so before retirement. Purchasing service credit increases your service credit and benefit amount, and may allow you to retire earlier and receive a higher health care subsidy.

Payments may be made in a lump-sum or installments, but must be completed by the earlier of your termination of employment or retirement.

Request a Benefit Estimate

One year before retirement, request a benefit estimate from PERA by calling the Customer Service Center. The following information is needed:

  • Your address, job title, and Social Security number.
  • Your anticipated date of retirement and your last day on the job.
  • Your cobeneficiary’s birthdate (if you need an estimate for an Option 2 or 3 under the PERA benefit structure or an Option P2 or P3 under the DPS benefit structure).
  • If you anticipate any salary increases or decreases before retirement, please include the amounts and the dates of the salary changes.
  • The number of months or years of service credit that you are planning to purchase, if applicable.

Your retirement benefit will be based on your Defined Benefit (DB) Plan account information and PERA statutes and rules in effect at the time of your retirement.

Review Health Care Options

In recent years, health care costs have increased, so you should review your health care options carefully since they may affect your decision of when to retire. As a PERA retiree, you will have access to the many health care coverage options available through the PERACare Health Benefits Program and you will be eligible for a subsidy on your monthly health care premium. You may find it helpful to attend a PERACare Information Meeting that covers eligibility, plan choices, and other related topics. Keep in mind, if you will be age 65 or older when you retire, you will need to contact Social Security about your Medicare eligibility and enrollment. You will need to enroll in Medicare before you retire if you are not already enrolled.

Review Social Security Benefits

If you have been covered by Social Security at any time during your career, contact Social Security to receive an estimate of your benefit (if any). Review information on how your PERA benefit works with a Social Security benefit. Your PERA benefit will not be reduced if you receive a Social Security benefit; however, your Social Security benefit may be reduced if you receive a PERA benefit.

Review Your Tax-Deferred Investments or Other Pensions

If you have contributed to the PERAPlus 401(k) Plan, PERAPlus 457 Plan, or other tax-deferred plans, you should find out what withdrawal options are available to you. (You cannot contribute to tax-deferred plans from pension income.) Also, check with other employers or retirement plans that you may have had to determine your eligibility for benefits.

Keep Your Employer Informed

Since your employer is an important part of your retirement process, be sure to keep your payroll/personnel office informed of your retirement plans. Find out if you are eligible for any post-retirement benefits or programs from your employer and coordinate health care and life insurance coverage, if needed. If you plan on returning to work for a PERA employer after retirement, make sure your employer is aware that you are a PERA retiree.

Retirement Application Kit

Request a Retirement Application Kit and review the material thoroughly. Then complete and send the appropriate forms to PERA.