Last Updated October 2018
You are eligible to participate in Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) Plan 2 or Plan 3 while in local office if:
You are not required to belong to any retirement system as a result of serving in a local-elected position. However, if you would like to become a member while in office, you must apply to the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS).
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 this term. 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 establish membership in PERS, 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. You will not be considered separated if you return to office for the same employer during the term in which you left. If there is a change in either your elected position or your employer, you will need to reapply for membership.
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.
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.
If you served multiple terms in office with different employers, or non-consecutive terms of office, you may purchase credit for each term independently. All past consecutive service with a single employer must be purchased together. If you do not choose to become a member while holding elected office, and later become an active PERS Plan 2 or Plan 3 member, you may then purchase credit for your elected service.
The amount of service credit you earn helps to determine the size of your retirement benefit.
For each month that you earn 90 times the state minimum wage, you will receive service credit as follows:
You can earn no more than one service credit month in any calendar month even if you are employed with another DRS-covered employer.
For periods before January 1, 1987, employee and employer contributions are due for any month you worked, including the months in which you did not earn service credit.
For periods after January 1, 1987, employee and employer contributions are due only for the months you received service credit.
Plan 2 If you are a PERS Plan 2 member, your benefit will be determined by the following formula:
2 percent x service credit years x Average Final Compensation (AFC) = Monthly benefit
Plan 3 If you are a PERS Plan 3 member your benefit has two components. The defined contribution component of your benefit will be determined by the amount of your contributions and their investment earnings. The defined benefit component of your benefit will be determined by the formula:
1 percent x service credit years x AFC = Monthly benefit
Average Final Compensation is the monthly average of your 60 consecutive highest-paid service credit months.
Plan 2 contribution rates are variable and may be changed as necessary to reflect the cost of the plan. See the current rates.
In Plan 3, the amount you contribute depends on the contribution rate option you choose. Plan 3 features six contribution rate options that, once selected, may only be changed if you change employers.
The Plan 3 contribution rate options are:
You may retire during your term of office and continue service in your elected position, if you:
If you are a retired PERS Plan 2 or PERS Plan 3 member when elected to office, you can choose to either remain retired while serving in office, or you can return to PERS Plan 2 or 3 membership.
If you choose to remain retired and you:
If you choose to return to membership:
How do I enroll?
To begin, continue or re-establish PERS Plan 2 or Plan 3 membership, contact DRS and provide the following information:
DRS will send you a letter and application once you provide us with all of these items.
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.