Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

Legislation & Governance

Board Discusses PERA-Related Bills at January Meeting

Photo Credit: Image source/digital vision/ via getty images

For its first meeting of 2022, the PERA Board of Trustees returned to an all-remote format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Trustees met virtually on January 21.

Board members heard a number of updates from PERA staff, highlighting work that was done in 2021 and projects that will take place in 2022:

The Board also heard from PERA’s public and government affairs manager and discussed four PERA-related bills that have so far been introduced at the Colorado General Assembly:

  • HB22-1029 calls for the state to make up its missed $225 million payment to PERA from 2020, plus estimated investment gains had that money been invested. The Board voiced its support for the bill.
  • HB22-1087 would exclude special district board members from being eligible for membership in PERA for their service as directors. The Board did not take a stance on the bill, as it is not expected to have a significant financial impact on PERA.
  • HB22-1057 and HB22-1101 would change some of the rules for working after retirement for PERA retirees working for school districts. While the PERA Board is sensitive to the needs of school districts facing staffing shortages, expanding working after retirement provisions to allow retirees to work without a reduction in their benefits will increase PERA’s liabilities. As fiduciaries, pursuant to its funding policy, the PERA Board opposes legislation that increases liabilities or reduces contributions until PERA is fully funded.

PERA On The Issues will continue to track the status of each PERA-related bill and will provide updates as available.

The PERA Board’s next meeting is scheduled for March 18.

Asset classesA category of similar investments. Common asset classes include global equity (such as publicly traded stocks), real estate, and cash.Defined contributionA type of individual retirement plan in which an employee saves a portion of each paycheck (along with a potential employer match) and invests that money. The employee’s retirement benefit is based on their account balance at retirement. A 401(k) is a type of defined contribution plan.Asset classA category of similar investments. Common asset classes include global equity (such as publicly traded stocks), real estate, and cash.


  1. Barbara Trammell says:

    Change retirement formula where Social Security contributions are a part of the program instead of putting retirees into the SS Wep formula and discounting earned SS payments…this is a real nightmare and frustration for teacher retirees!

    • Hoshi Mistry says:

      Yes, I agree it is a nightmare for retiree s to get a job where they have invested their lives, being educated, getting degrees such as Masters and doctoral degrees, and other extra courses taken, when there is no support and getting their SS OR their PERA “confiscated” even tho they earned their SS some where else. When we retire we are supposed to be in our Golden Years instead we struggle to bring up the next few generations on such Meagre salaries and take a cut from our retirement income. This nation must wake up.

      • Lynn says:


      • Don Nelson says:

        Bear with this long explanation, this SS problem has a story behind it. Colorado did not choose to join SS in the 50’s when we could have. States that did join are where retirees collect both a pension and full SS. Thus, our main earnings as PERA covered employees have no SS coverage.
        Most of us had other jobs that we did pay SS to. All of us have seen the projected benefits from SS earnings. Recognize it is politicians who want SS to look good to voters and so don’t point out the gotchas. Which is the Windfall Elimination Provision, WEP, that keeps income from non-SS work, like PERA, from being hidden. SS pays 90% on first thousand dollars of calc. average working income, then 35% on thousands more. Yes, SS is quite generous to lower incomes. SS reported income was not your entire work income. So WEP pays 40% of your calc. average working income. This is the same as a regular calc benefit would be if all your income had been reported to SS. Well, 5% better even.
        It’s disappointing that politicians over promise. WEP is 35 years old, so it has been in effect most of our working years, and PERA has urged congress to change it. Not likely to happen.
        Now for our low annual increase against rising inflation. Let’s get on that!

    • David Eick says:

      Yes. That’s makes sense to me. Although I only have a few years of S.S. Work, and I used 2 of them to buy years in PERA, I’d like to be able to make use of the other 5 and just tack it on to PERA.

    • Charmaine Keeton says:


    • Cindy Simpson says:

      I agree 100%

    • Geraldine Kennedy says:


    • Nancy Thomad says:

      I live in Missouri and teachers here are also faced with WEP reduction in pay. We paid in like everyone else, but we are penalized because we were teachers.
      Retiree of Colorado and Missouri (teaching)

    • Sharon Webster says:

      Yes!!! I totally agree. I paid into SS for 3o years. I collect the full amount along with what I get through PERA.

  2. Mary Ferbrache says:

    It is terrible that PERA continues to ignore HR82!!! Why don’t you get behind this legislation??? All PERA members are asking for is the money that they rightfully have earned and paid into SS!! I think is shows a true lack of caring for PERA members!

  3. CS says:

    I agree with Barbara’s comments. We earned the benefits that should be fully ours from our SS work. Most states recognize this and let their retired teachers have their full benefits from both organizations. Unfortunately, Colorado is not one of those states.

  4. Codi says:

    Colorado needs to eliminate the WEP, I paid into SS for 20 + years and they will take approximately half of it from me because of the WEP.

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      We understand your frustrations with the WEP, but it is a federal law, not a Colorado law. We have more information online here:

      • John says:

        In the video related to the WEP, you mention a persons PERA benefit and Social Security are separate pieces of a persons total retirement compensation. But that’s not really the case, if they were separate there wouldn’t be a reduction in our SS benefits, they would both stand on their own and be based on what we’ve earned from both. They are very much linked.

        Yes it is a federal rule currently (H.R. 711) is pending legislation that has stalled. Our question is what can and will you do to help rectify this for the retired state employees that often work two jobs to make ends meet?

        • PERA On The Issues says:

          PERA continues to educate Colorado’s congressional delegation about the WEP and GPO and their effects on retired public employees in Colorado. We encourage you to also reach out to your members of Congress on this issue.

    • Mildred says:

      I thought WEP was a federal rule and not a Colorado rule.
      It is horrible because it not only denied me my full Social Security benefit but it also caused me to be denied Social Security Survivor Benefits when my husband died after 43 years of marriage! My “golden years” are not golden!

    • Les Lilly says:

      I agree with the comments regarding WEP!!!

  5. JB says:

    PERA retirees deserve more than a .01% raise this year. 2-3% would be good.

  6. Mable Banks says:

    i agree pera,retiree deserve a 2.3% raise since the cost of living continues to rise.Please consider our request.Thanks

  7. Coco says:

    Inflation is at 8% and rising. Pera retirees are hurting by not getting a decent raise of their pension. Please consider at lest a 4% increase this year: that would be just half the inflation rate. Thank you

  8. Doyle Eicher says:

    The SS WEP is as close to a criminal act as anything I have ever seen! I am supposed to get about $1200 a month from SS, but because of the WEP I am receiving approximately $317! I put my time in to qualify for SS and I should be getting it! Stand up for us!

  9. Chancy Lewis says:

    Regarding HB 22-1057 and HB 22-1101, no one has explained what “liabilities” PERA incurs when retirees substitute more than the strangling 110 days allowed. How can there be a liability when substituting retirees, in fact, pay into PERA as a standard deduction applied to gross earnings. On top of this circular, non-specific double talk, how can a right-to-work state permit a service organization to prohibit and penalize retired teachers who will work willingly to meet an urgent ongoing need, both for students, schools, and the inadequately funded pensioners? The non-informative opposition by PERA obfuscates the suggested irrationality of PERA’s opposition to meeting the need for substitutes with experience in not only instruction but in socially stable guidance young people need in these difficult times.

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Although PERA does receive working retiree and employer contributions on salary earned while working after retirement, expanding working after retirement provisions to allow retirees to work without a reduction in their benefit would likely encourage a greater number of retirements than expected. That would result in overall shorter periods of accumulating member and employer contributions and longer periods paying out benefits, thus increasing PERA’s costs. A retiree can choose to suspend retirement to return to work without restrictions or a reduction in their benefit. More information here:

  10. Larry says:

    As all have said WEP is basically a thief to State employees. We paid into SS. It’s our money being held hostage and if there were ever a time when it’s needed, it’s now since inflation is highest in 40 years.


    This seem to be the case of a country from the “3rd. World”, where the issues are: a- retirees are living for too long, b- Inflation is always ahead of any pension increase, which pushes retirees ‘under the bus”, and under the bridge. The SS WEP is a blood sucker with a license to cheat PERA retirees that are doing better than SS retirees ($1300)/month. The 3rd world is getting crowded. After over 10 yrs. contributing to SS, I don’t get enough to pay for Medicare. However, I hope PERA lives forever.

  12. MS says:

    Agree. The cost of living keeps rising and the raises on our pension keeps decreasing. Once they started decreasing our original 3% raise, it kept getting less and less over they years which has NOT kept up with the increases in the cost of living. Shame on you for stealing from retirees. You need to make this right. Even minimum wages have increased faster than retirement wages.

  13. Mildred says:

    I thought WEP was a federal rule and not a Colorado rule.
    It is horrible because it not only denied me my full Social Security benefit but it also caused me to be denied Social Security Survivor Benefits when my husband died after 43 years of marriage! My “golden years” are not golden!

  14. Peggy Burress says:

    As a retiree whose entire pension is based only on a 30-year stretch with state government (no SS payments ever coming my way!), the last few years of 1.25 and 1 percent increases has been demoralizing in the face of inflation. First we were robbed by the State Legislature. Subsequently, we’ve been robbed by PERA’s need to take care of future retirees, while current retirees perish. It’s an insult to the already-injured.

  15. Frank Wilmoth says:

    WEP is a federal rip-off of PERA retirees. You need to contact your senators and representatives and tell them to repeal WEP. But like they say, you don’t spit into the wind. There folks got theirs.

  16. Dee Albers says:

    I agree. If a person fulfilled their Social Security obligations ( 10 years 40 quarter in the private sector) plus worked a State job then they should not be penalized with WEP formula. I know this was changed in the 80’s because it affected me. President Reagan called it “ double dipping.”
    Thus the change. However look a the people who double dip. Example- a person who served in the military for 20 years and draws a pension for life. Then they retire and work a private sector job with another retirement. Is that not double dipping? So why should it not be the same if you retired with a PERA. I paid my Social Security prior to my state employment. Get rid of the Widow’s penalty too. You should be able to collect your spouses Social Security benefits without a penalty too.

  17. Karen E Gavin says:

    If we move out of Colorado, can we get our SS benefit recalculated based on the rules of the state we move to?

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