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Social Security and You

We are frequently asked whether an active member of Colorado PERA also contributes to Social Security. The short answer is no (with the exception of a few Local Government Division employers).

While you may have contributed to Social Security before or after working for a PERA employer, when you work for a PERA employer, you’re contributing to PERA, not Social Security.

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If reading that sparked a few questions, here are some important points to consider:

  • For most Colorado public employees, PERA serves as a substitute for Social Security and may affect any future Social Security benefit amounts you may be anticipating.
  • Your PERA benefit will not be reduced because of any Social Security benefit you receive.
  • If your spouse earned a Social Security benefit to which you are entitled, it may be reduced because of your PERA membership.
  • Two separate federal provisions may reduce a public employee’s or retiree’s Social Security benefit: the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset. As a result, an anticipated Social Security benefit may be reduced due to participation in PERA.

This information is covered in more detail in the PERA and Social Security fact sheet.

To better understand how your Social Security benefit could be reduced, visit the Social Security calendars web page and use the online WEP/GPO calculators. The Social Security Administration can answer questions about your specific situation and can be reached at 800-772-1213.