This section contains current items of interest to PERA members and retirees and the general public. For other news regarding PERA, you also may want to view the PERA News Archives. Any questions or comments regarding this information may be directed to PERA via email.
|Notice Regarding the Heartbleed Vulnerability (04/11/14)|
|Annual Increase for 2014: 2 Percent (04/11/14)|
|Colorado PERA Adds Roth Options to 401(k) and 457 Plans (04/04/14)|
|Get Help With Your PERA Retirement Forms (03/03/14)|
|Colorado PERA Responds to Questions on the RFP for Hedge Fund Consulting Services (02/24/14)|
|Court Issues Ruling on Memorial Lawsuit (02/11/14)|
|Colorado PERA Issues RFP for Hedge Fund Consulting Services (02/03/14)|
|GASB Video Available (01/9/14)|
|Information on Federal Tax Tables for 2014 (01/02/14)|
PERA’s website was not affected by the Heartbleed bug that has been in the news recently because PERA’s website does not use the versions of the technologies affected by the issue and was not vulnerable to this threat (including secured member and retiree account pages).
The annual increase (AI) to be paid to eligible retirees on July 31 will be 2 percent.
The amount of your annual increase is tied to PERA’s annual investment performance:
- If PERA’s investment performance is above zero for the calendar year, then the AI paid the following July will be 2 percent.
- If PERA’s investment performance is less than zero for the calendar year, then the AI paid the following July will be based on the average of the monthly CPI-W amounts for the previous calendar year, not to exceed 2 percent.
Although audited investment returns for 2013 will be available in late spring/early summer, preliminary results indicate that PERA’s investment return for the 2013 calendar year will be positive (above zero).
Remember that you may have to meet certain eligibility requirements before receiving your first annual increase. PERA’s Annual Increases fact sheet has more information.
The CPI-W is the national Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers published by the United States Department of Labor.
PERA members will have additional avenues available when it comes to saving for retirement. The PERA Board of Trustees recently approved the addition of Roth accounts to the PERAPlus 401(k) and 457 Plans. Participants in PERA’s optional defined contribution plans will have access to Roth 401(k) and Roth 457 accounts by the end of 2014 if their employers agree to offer the Roth accounts to their employees.
Roth accounts are after-tax retirement savings accounts that are so-named for their legislative sponsor, former Delaware Senator William Roth. Contributions to Roth accounts are taxed in the current year and provide tax diversification for retirement savings. When these funds are drawn at retirement and have been in the account for at least five years, the funds plus earnings are received tax-free.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began allowing Roth contributions to 401(k) plans in 2006 and to 457 plans in 2010. In 2012, the IRS began allowing in-plan conversions from pre-tax to Roth accounts in 401(k) and 457 plans even if participants were not eligible for a distribution. Prior to this time, the IRS only allowed pre-tax rollovers to a Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to achieve the Roth tax diversification.
Unlike a Roth IRA where a maximum calendar-year contribution of $5,500 is allowed (with an additional $1,000 for those who are 50), participants in 401(k) and 457 plans may contribute $17,500 to their Roth account (with an additional over age 50 catch-up contribution of $5,500). Contributions to a Roth IRA are also limited based on income – whereas in a 401(k) or 457 plan, there are no income restrictions that would limit contributions.
The PERAPlus 401(k) and 457 Plans will allow in-plan conversions from the pre-tax account to the Roth account. Participants will be responsible for taxes arising from conversions in the tax year of the transfer. If the participant is still working, distributions to pay those taxes are only allowed if the participant is over 59½ in the 401(k) or 70½ in the 457 Plan. Contributions made to the Roth accounts in the PERAPlus 401(k) and 457 Plans will not affect PERA Defined Benefit Plan Highest Average Salary calculations. However, Roth funds cannot be used for service credit purchases in the Defined Benefit Plan.
The PERAPlus 401(k) Plan had 68,691 participants and assets of $2.5 billion at the end of 2013. The PERAPlus 457 Plan had 17,462 participants and assets of $641 million at the end of 2013.
If you’re retiring soon, plan to take advantage of special sessions offered by Colorado PERA to help you complete your PERA retirement forms. PERA staff will help you complete the following forms: PERA Retirement Application, Direct Deposit by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), and the Withholding Preference Form.
The sessions will be offered on the following dates:
- March 8, Denver
- March 15, Westminster
- March 29, Fort Collins
- April 5, Denver
- April 12, Westminster
- April 26, Denver
- April 26, Colorado Springs
- April 26, Grand Junction
- May 3, Denver
- May 10, Westminster
Reservations are required for these sessions, so if you have made your retirement decisions and need help with your forms, please sign up for one of the sessions or make an appointment by calling the PERA Customer Service Center at 1-800-759-7372 or 303-832-9550.
Colorado PERA is providing answers to questions asked by potential bidders to all interested respondents.
This morning, a District Court judge ruled that the City of Colorado Springs and Memorial Hospital cannot evade their approximately $200 million obligation to Colorado PERA.
“We are pleased with the judge’s decision, but more importantly we are relieved that the City of Colorado Springs and Memorial won’t be able to shift their financial burden to municipalities, and their employees, across Colorado. This decision helps maintain the integrity of Colorado’s best investment,” said Gregory W. Smith, PERA Executive Director.
In the decision, the judge stated, “The Court finds that the City and MHS violated the statutory termination provisions by failing to apply to the PERA Board to withdraw and by failing to comply with all of the statutory termination provisions prior to withdrawing its status as a PERA employer.” Further, the judge stated, “The mandatory process ensures that a withdrawing employer pays for the accrued, unfunded benefits of its retirees and employees before leaving PERA.”
Colorado PERA is seeking responses from firms interested in providing hedge fund consulting services on a project basis for its defined benefit plan.
The deadline for submissions is March 10, 2014.
Karl Greve, PERA’s Chief Financial Officer, presents a video overview of GASB Statement 68 and how PERA employers will need to implement this new pension standard.
Beginning with the January benefit check, retirees’ tax withholding will reflect the 2014 tax tables. The updated 2014 Federal tax withholding tables will be used to calculate the withholding on benefits to be paid on January 31, 2014.
As a reminder, if you plan to make any changes to your withholdings, etc., requests must be made by the 15th of the month to be effective for that month.