Editor’s note: The dates mentioned in this story were updated on April 21 to reflect the most current information.
The emergence of COVID-19 has disrupted daily life around the world, including here in Colorado. There is much we still don’t know about this still-emerging pandemic. In a matter of days, we have all experienced sudden, extensive changes, the likes of which most of us have never experienced. These changes can be difficult to process. Most importantly, the concern about our health and the health of our friends and family weighs heavily for so many people.
The safety of our employees and our members is of upmost importance to us here at PERA. To that end, I would like to share steps Colorado PERA is taking to keep our employees and members safe and what you can expect in the days ahead.
PERA Service Changes
Members will see some temporary changes in how we interact with members. We plan to continue delivering a high level of service, answering your questions and responding to your needs quickly. However, we are eliminating in-person contact for a time as we do our part to stop the spread of this virus. These PERA services will be available online and over the phone. Specifically:
- In-person individual counseling session at our three office locations will be suspended until May 16. If you had an in-person counseling session already scheduled, a PERA Benefits Counselor will be reaching out to convert your appointment to either a telephone or online appointment.
- PERA is suspending walk-in customer service. Members are still able to turn in forms at our office locations in Denver and Westminster.
- PERA-hosted meetings occurring around the state have been canceled through May 16. Webinars that cover the same topics will continue to take place as scheduled.
- Customer Service Representatives are available by calling 1-800-759-7372 Monday–Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Mountain time).
- Please note that benefit payments will not be disrupted.
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.
Finally, we know that many PERA members are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. Instead of being asked to stay at home, thousands of public safety officers, health officials, and others will be asked to go into the storm. We’ve seen this before. Time and time again, we’ve seen those in public service rise to whatever challenge is placed before them. They go from being the unsung heroes of daily life to being a source of inspiration and strength that we all need right now. We are thankful for these, our fellow PERA members, and for all who are involved in responding to the challenges we now face. It will not be easy, but they will undoubtedly carry the day.
We appreciate your cooperation and patience during this emerging and evolving situation. We will continue to keep you informed about any additional PERA developments. I hope you and your family remain safe during these uncertain times.