Reality: The state’s current benefits structure creates winners and losers among PERA members.
Instead of earning retirement benefits steadily over the course of their careers, PERA members earn relatively meager retirement benefits in the early and middle portions of their careers and only become eligible for meaningful benefits after many years of public service with PERA-covered employers (e.g., after 20 or more years of work for teachers).
This inequitable distribution of benefits results in many public servants receiving benefits that are less valuable than the contributions made on their behalf and a select few receiving benefits worth much more.
The back-loaded distribution of retirement benefits means that those who move to or from Colorado or who move between the private and public sectors over their careers are more likely to lose out under the state’s formula.
And because PERA members do not benefit from the safety net of Social Security, these inequalities may jeopardize the retirement security of many of Colorado’s dedicated public servants.