PERS Plan 1 Rules for Local Officials

Last Updated May 2008
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The following rules apply to local elected officials who choose to be covered by the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) Plan 1 while in office. You are eligible to participate in PERS Plan 1 if:

  • You were elected or appointed to an elected position with a local government or political subdivision such as county commissioner, city mayor or city council and you are either:
  • A PERS Plan 1 member when elected to office, or
  • You are a former PERS Plan 1 member (even if you withdrew funds from your retirement account).

You are not required to join PERS membership while serving in your elected position. However, if you would like to become a member while in office, you must apply to the Department of Retirement Systems.

When can I apply for membership?

You may apply for membership at any time during your current term of office. If you enter membership after your current term of office has begun, membership will be retroactive to the first day of your current term of office. You will be required to pay employee contributions plus interest back to the first day of your term.

Your membership decision is final: Once you have established retirement system membership, you must remain a member until you separate from all eligible public employment. If you serve an additional term of office with the same employer without a break in service, you will remain a retirement system member until you terminate employment.

If you separate from service and leave office, you will not be considered separated if you return to office for the same employer during the term in which you left.

Can I receive credit for past elected service ?

When you have established membership for your current term, you may have the option of purchasing service credit for any previous term or terms of office during which you did not choose to apply for membership. Membership will be granted retroactively to the beginning of your elected service.

To receive service credit for any previous term or terms of elected service, you must pay the required employee and employer contributions and interest, as determined by DRS. Your employer may elect to pay the required employer contributions and interest for you.

All prior consecutive service must be purchased. If you have served multiple terms in office with different employers, you may purchase credit for service with each employer independently.

If you do not choose to become a member while holding elected office, and later become an active PERS 1 member in a non-elected position, you may then purchase credit for your elected service.

How much service credit will I earn?

The amount of service credit you earn helps to determine the size of your retirement benefit. As a local elected official, you:

  • Earn one month of service credit for each month during which you earn compensation in your elected position.
  • Can earn no more than one service credit month in any calendar month even if you are employed with another PERS-covered employer.

What will my retirement benefit be?

Your service retirement benefit is based on the following formula:

2 percent x service credit years x Average Final Compensation = Monthly benefit

Average Final Compensation is the monthly average of your 24 consecutive highest-paid service credit months

How much will I contribute to my retirement plan?

You will contribute six percent of your salary to your retirement plan each pay period.

Can I retire and retain my elected position?

You may retire during your term of office and continue serving in your elected position, if:

  • In that position, you earn less than $22,355 (as of 2006) adjusted annually for inflation, and
  • You abandon claims for credit for future periods of elected service.

What if I am a retired PERS Plan 1 member when elected?

If you are a retired PERS Plan 1 member when elected to office, you can choose to either remain retired and continue receiving your retirement benefit without interruption while serving in office, or return to active member status while serving in office.

If you return to active member status, you will stop receiving a monthly retirement benefit, and you will resume making contributions to your retirement system and accumulating service credit prospectively from the first day of the month following the date the department accepts your application for membership.

How do I enroll?

To continue or reestablish PERS 1 membership, DRS will send you a letter and application once we receive the following information:

  • Name
  • Social Security number
  • Address and phone number
  • Position title and employer
  • Beginning and ending dates of all elected official service

DRS will send you a letter and application once you provide us with all of these items.

To learn more

More information about elected officials is available by contacting DRS. Additional rules governing all PERS Plan 1 members are summarized in the PERS Plan 1 Member Handbook. To obtain a copy of a member handbook, or for more information about governor-appointed service, contact DRS.

Summary

This content is a summary. It isn't a complete description. State retirement laws govern your benefit. If a conflict exists between the information here and what is contained in current law, the law governs.