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The Benefits of PERA Membership Start Well Before You Retire

PERA provides so much more than just an income in retirement. For members that participate in the defined benefit plan, your PERA benefits begin during your working years and last for life. 

You grow your benefit with every paycheck  

You begin building your retirement benefit from your first day on the job. Every time you get paid, a portion of your paycheck automatically goes into your PERA retirement account. This money is always yours, even if you leave your job covered by PERA. Your employer also contributes to PERA and those dollars are invested on behalf of you and all PERA members.  

When you retire, you will receive a monthly payment you can’t outlive 

When you retire, you will receive a monthly check from PERA for the rest of your life. The amount you will receive every month is determined by the time spent at your PERA-covered job, your age when you retire, and the average of your highest average salaries. Retirees also have options to select a lower monthly benefit for their lifetime to provide a co-beneficiary with a lifetime benefit as well.  

Your PERA benefit can continue to grow if you change jobs 

More than 500 employers all over Colorado are part of PERA. If you leave a job at one employer that has PERA and move to another, you continue building the same benefit with PERA.  

If you leave a job where you were building a PERA benefit but don’t go to another employer with PERA, you still have options. If you return to a job with PERA at any point in the future, you will continue building your benefit as if you had never left, as long as you didn’t roll over or refund your account balance when you left. And if you never return to PERA-covered work, you will still be eligible for a lifetime monthly benefit when you reach retirement age. 

You can choose to save additional money toward retirement  

Being in a defined benefit (DB) plan means you’ll receive retirement income that will last your lifetime. Many people also choose to save additional money toward retirement to supplement their income. PERA members have access to a PERAPlus 401(k) or 457 plan that have their own unique benefits: 

  • You select how much to save and can change this amount at any time 
  • You choose how to invest your contributions 
  • You choose when to make withdrawals in retirement and how much you’ll withdraw 

PERA helps protect your family’s finances against the unexpected during your working years  

After you earn one year of PERA service credit at your job, you get an additional benefit: survivor benefits through PERA. If you were to die, PERA would send a monthly benefit to your qualified survivors, which may include a spouse or children. 

When you earn five years, you become eligible for disability benefits that provide monthly income if you are unable to work. Learn more about short-term and long-term disability here.  

You have access to additional health, dental and vision insurance in retirement  

In addition to a monthly benefit, all PERA retirees and benefit recipients are eligible to enroll in PERACare for health, dental, and vision insurance. Those who enroll in health insurance through PERACare receive a subsidy to reduce their monthly premium. 

Ready to learn more about your PERA benefit? Attend a live webinar where you can hear about your PERA benefits, ask questions, and participate with other members. You can also watch on demand webinars and visit the members page for more information about your benefits.