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New Members with the Option to Choose Plans

Some PERA employers offer a choice between the PERA Defined Benefit (DB) Plan and the PERA Defined Contribution (DC) Plan. This option to choose is called PERAChoice, and allows employees the chance to choose the Plan that’s the best fit for their retirement goals. The following employees are eligible for PERAChoice:

  • State of Colorado employees hired on or after January 1, 2006
  • Certain community college employees hired on or after January 1, 2008
  • Local Government Division members hired on or after January 1, 2019
  • State-classified college or university employees hired on or after January 1, 2019
  • District Attorneys, Deputy District Attorneys, or Assistant District Attorneys

If PERA has received contributions on your behalf from another PERA employer in the last 12 months, you must return to the Plan in which you previously participated.

You have 60 calendar days from your first day on the job to make the choice between Plans. If you do not make an active choice, you will be enrolled in the PERA DB Plan.

In PERA’s DB Plan, a percentage of your paycheck will automatically go into your retirement account. Your employer also contributes to PERA. We invest those dollars on your behalf. When you retire, you will get money from PERA every month for the rest of your life, or you can take those dollars with you if you leave your job prior to retirement. The monthly amount you receive in retirement is calculated using a formula based on the following three factors:

  • Your age when you retire
  • The total amount of time you’ve worked at a job with PERA
  • Your highest average salary

In PERA’s DC Plan, you and your employer contribute to PERA, but you choose the funds in which to invest and manage your own account. You are not immediately entitled to all of your employer contributions—you gain access to a percentage each year of employment (called "vesting"). After five years, you are vested in all your employer contributions.

The value of your account determines what you will have in retirement. This value depends on the money you have contributed and the investment earnings or losses incurred, minus expenses. With the PERA DC Plan, you bear the risk of outliving your investment income. Empower is the recordkeeper of the PERA DC Plan.

How to Make Your Choice 
  • Compare the benefits of each Plan by reading the PERAChoice booklet and/or register for a Retirement Choice Webinar.
  • Use the PERAChoice Election and Release Form (located in the PERAChoice booklet) to elect your plan within 60 days of your hire date. If you do not choose a plan, you will automatically be enrolled in the PERA DB Plan.
  • If you choose the PERA DC Plan, also fill out the DC Plan Beneficiary Designation Form and send it to Empower Retirement. You also need to decide how your contributions will be invested.
Access to Your Account 

Accessing your PERA account online puts all your PERA information right at your fingertips. But first, you need to set up a user profile. By logging into your account on the PERA website, you can gain access to the PERA DC Plan website which is managed by Empower Retirement.