MEMBERS

The Judge Member’s Handbook includes information on all aspects of PERS benefits for judges, including contribution rates, benefit calculations, and participation in the Variable Annuity Program. You can also contact the PERS judge member coordinator with questions at 503-603-7507 or PERS.Judge.COUNSELOR@pers.state.or.us.​




You may be eligible for additional retirement benefits, and here’s how:

Judge members who previously belonged to Tier One or Tier Two keep the contributions made to those accounts prior to judge membership. However, once becoming a judge member, contributions are made to your judge-member account. At retirement, you will receive benefits under each program.

Note: If you are a judge member and a Tier One/Tier Two member, you may see service credit for these two membership types combined on your statement. The technology PERS uses for generating annual statements cannot separate these. However, when you request a benefit estimate or apply for retirement, PERS will separate your service credits while calculating the monthly pension benefits you will receive from each membership type.

Judges who previously belonged to the Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan (OPSRP) can similarly receive benefits from OPSRP and their judge membership. These members will see OPSRP pension retirement credit and vesting details on their annual statements. However, please note that 2019 annual statements do not accurately reflect information regarding Senate Bill 1546 (2018), which allows for judge service to count toward vesting requirements for OPSRP.

Some judge members also may see account information about the Individual Account Program (IAP). IAP accounts only apply if you were a PERS member (Tier One/Two or OPRSP) before you became a judge, and only if your PERS membership started after 2004.

Judge membership

The method used to calculate your judge-member pension benefit is determined by you and which of the judge-member plans you choose to retire under: Plan A or Plan B.

Note that your choice of plan will become irrevocable once you reach age 60, and if you fail to choose a plan, you will be automatically retired under Plan A and its calculation. For details about Plans A and B, see Oregon Revised Statutes 238.535(1).

Under Plan A, the maximum benefit you can receive is 65% of your final average salary. Meanwhile, Plan B’s benefit is capped at 75% of your final average salary. To get the maximum benefits, you must serve as a judge in a qualifying position for 28 years for Plan A and 23.54 years under Plan B. If you serve for fewer years, your benefit will be lower. Plan B also requires you to serve as a pro tem judge, without compensation, for a certain period in your retirement. See ORS 238.535(1)(c) for details about the pro tem requirement.

Each of the Plan A and B calculations uses at least your final average salary, applicable service time, and percentage defined by statute to determine your monthly benefit payment in retirement. To see more specifics about these calculations, including examples, go to pages 7 and 8 of the Judge Member’s Handbook.

Other PERS memberships

If you have another pension from Tier One, Tier Two, or OPSRP, other calculation methods will be used to determine your monthly retirement benefit from these plans. To see the equations used for these and sample calculations, go to the Tier One/Tier Two and OPSRP annual statement FAQs. ​​

Vested status

“Vested status” on your statement indicates whether you have reached vesting in your judge-member pension and lists the years of service credit you have accrued. Once vested, you cannot lose your right to your judge-member pension benefit even if you stop working as a judge in a qualifying position.

Being vested also means you’ll be entitled to other provisions of the program, such as having death benefits paid to a beneficiary and a disability retirement allowance should you become unable to work, as described in ORS 238.555.

Vesting

To become vested in the Judge Member Program, you must make contributions to the Judge Member Fund for five years before reaching age 75 and not withdraw your judge account.

Other PERS pension programs have their own rules regarding vesting. See discussions of vesting on Tier One/Tier Two’s and OPRSP’s “Eligibility to Retire” webpages.​​

You have a couple of options for getting pension benefit estimates:

1. At any time, you can generate your own estimate through Online Member Services (OMS) for all your accounts: Tier One, Tier Two, OPSRP, and judge member. When you are viewing your “Account Summary” page, click on the “Benefit Estimate” link in the list on the left. Click on “Create New Benefit Estimate” and follow the steps from there.

You will be able to run estimates for: Just your judicial time, just your Tier One or Tier Two account, or these plans combined. Any unused sick time you may have accrued prior to serving on the bench will be brought in by the tool. You will need to run a separate estimate for your OPSRP membership.

The online benefit estimator will use the most recent data supplied by your employer(s) to create an estimate for any future retirement date. You can generate multiple benefit estimates with different retirement dates to help you determine if you are on track to meet your retirement goals.

2. When you are within 24 months of the earliest date on which you’re eligible to retire, you can request a PERS benefit estimate by submitting a Judge Member Benefit Estimate Request form. This estimate also may indicate whether you have the option to purchase service time, which could increase your monthly pension benefit or provide extra service time to allow you to retire sooner. We encourage you to get at least one benefit estimate from PERS before your retirement date.

If you are a judge member with an Individual Account Program (IAP), you can use the IAP Disbursement Forecaster to estimate your IAP distribution at retirement.​

Complete and submit a new Pre-Retirement Designation of Beneficiary form to make updates to your judge membership beneficiary elections before retirement. New beneficiary designations supersede all past selections.

If you also have Tier One, Tier Two, and/or an IAP membership, you will need to submit separate beneficiary forms for each account. Find the forms by clicking the following: Tier One/Tier Two and IAP.

If you have an OPSRP membership, beneficiary options are limited by law. See the OPSRP member annual statement FAQ’s section “Do I have a beneficiary for my OPSRP pension benefit?” for more details. Do ensure you fill out your IAP beneficiary if you have an IAP.​

If you participated in the Variable Annuity Program, you can request a one-time, irrevocable transfer of variable account funds into your regular account. You can do so within “Section C: To make a one-time transfer” on the PERS: Judge Member Variable Annuity Program Participation form, and submit that form via fax or mail to PERS. You must meet age and eligibility requirements as shown in the Section C instructions.

One-time transfer requests received on or before December 31 of a given year will go into effect on January 1 of the following year.

You can take the transfer at any time or wait to do it at retirement. Remember: If and when you take the transfer, you will no longer be eligible to receive a variable annuity in retirement. ​

Yes, if you already are a participant in the Variable Annuity Program as a judge member.

Program participants can choose to place 25%, 50%, or 75% of employee contributions into their variable accounts or cancel all future contributions using “Section B: To change variable contribution rate” of the PERS: Judge Member Variable Annuity Program Participation form. All changes become effective January 1 following the year in which PERS receives the form.

Remember: The Variable Annuity Program is only applicable to judge members who were sitting judges and participating in the Variable Annuity Program on or before June 30, 2003. PERS ended the Variable Annuity Program as an investment option for anyone joining PERS on or after January 1, 2004.

For those judges who are variable annuity participants after retirement, PERS will adjust the variable portion of your retirement benefit every February 1, based on earnings or losses for the 12-month period ending October 31 of the prior year.​​​​​
Talk to PERS

Contact PERS’ judge member coordinator from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 503-603-7507 or PERS.Judge.COUNSELOR@pers.state.or.us.

Online

The Judge Member’s Handbook includes helpful information on all aspects of PERS benefits for judges, including contribution rates, benefit calculations, and participation in the Variable Annuity Program.

News and announcements

Sign up to receive email or text alerts through GovDelivery. You can choose the topics you wish to receive updates on, including member news and information, education workshops, Oregon Savings Growth Plan, and PERS Health Insurance.

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Go back to the Member Annual Statement FAQ page or the Judge Members page.​


In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), PERS will provide PDF documents on this page in an alternate format upon request. To request a document in an alternate format, call 888-320-7377 (toll free) or TTY 503-603-7766.​​​​​​​​​​​