The implications of the spread of COVID-19 now reach deep into every corner of our lives, and these are difficult times for all of us. We are all concerned about the health of our family and friends, and we also know that many are also burdened by worries about jobs, bills, childcare, and so much more.
I wanted to take a moment to let you know how Colorado PERA is adapting to this temporary new reality and what you can expect in the days and weeks ahead.
- PERA will continue to operate and benefit recipients will receive their benefit payments. Every month, we send out more than $400 million in retirement benefits to thousands of benefit recipients, most of whom live in Colorado, and we will continue to pay retirement benefits even though 90% of our staff will be working remotely.
- We will continue to serve you. You can still call Customer Service, send in forms, update your information, and log in to your account. We thank you for your patience if you encounter a slightly increased wait time—we are working to improve our capabilities every day. Additionally, if you are currently retired and still receive your benefit check in the mail, we ask that you consider using direct deposit instead. It’s free and simple to set up. Making this switch will alleviate the need for staff to be in the office, and you don’t need to make a trip to the bank.
- All in-person services have been moved to webinar and phone platforms. This includes group meetings with our Field Education staff and individual meetings with a benefit counselor. Use our online meetings and appointment scheduler to sign up for these free services.
- Our PERACare plans offer COVID-19 testing at no cost. If you use one of our PERACare plans, know that any test you receive for COVID-19 will be covered at no cost.
- We continue to be a long-term investor. Some members have asked about PERA’s investments and financial health amid the recent global market. As PERA’s Chief Investment Officer, Amy C. McGarrity, noted a few weeks ago, we can’t predict what markets do, but we can—and do—incorporate risk into our investment decisions. In any given short-term period, the portfolio may perform better or worse than long-term expectations. However, we are confident that PERA is well positioned to continue to invest through the ups and downs of the market cycle, providing the opportunity to achieve our long-term goals.
- We will continue to keep you updated. We will continue to share updates with our members via our website.
We don’t know when this unwelcome chapter will end. But I know that we already live among those who will help us get through it. In the coming weeks, Coloradans will look to PERA members as we find our way through to the other side. We will draw inspiration from the teachers who find innovative ways to continue inspiring their students, from the CDOT employees who work hard to keep our roads safe for the emergency workers and movement of goods we all rely on, and from the public health professionals working tirelessly to stop the spread of the virus. All of us at PERA thank these and countless others who are at the forefront of this crisis.
Executive Director, Colorado PERA