MEMBERS

​On this page: ​Information for new or prospective public employees, how to understand your retirement benefits, links to education sessions, and more.

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Am I an OPSRP member?

You belong to PERS' Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan (OPSRP) if:

  • You started working in a PERS-​qualifying job after August 28, 2003.
  • You were not previously a member of any other PERS plan (Tier One or Tier Two).
  • You are not a judge (PERS has a separate plan for judges).

 

What is OPSRP?

It is your employer-provided retirement plan, which includes two parts:

Watch a PERS video to understand the two parts to your retirement.

Note: As of July 1, 2020, an IAP-related change occurred for some OPSRP members. If you earn more than $2,500 a month, you are one of those members. The change involves the amount you contribute to your IAP.

  • Since July 1, a portion of your IAP contributions have been redirected to a new Employee Pension Stability Account (EPSA), which will help pay for part of your future pension benefit.
  • Instead of contributing 6% of your salary to only the IAP, 5.25% now goes to your IAP and 0.75% to your EPSA. The redirect to EPSA happens behind the scenes at PERS, and therefore the deduction posted to your paycheck may still appear as a total of 6%.
  • The change occurred because of Senate Bill 1049 (SB 1049), passed by the Oregon Legislature, which sets PERS benefits.

 

Pension? IAP? What is the difference?

The Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) is a 401(a) defined benefit plan with Internal Revenue Code 414(k) accounts (the IAP).

  • Your OPSRP pension is what is called a defined benefit, which means it does not have an account balance and is defined by other means. At PERS, a formula is used to define how much pension you will be paid monthly as a retiree. Your employer primarily pays for your pension.
  • Your IAP is what is called an "account-based benefit," meaning you or your employer regularly pay into an account, the account can grow over time based on investment returns, and you end up with a pot of money that is yours at retirement.
  • The difference is that a pension can provide you with a lifetime monthly income that never runs out, while an account-based benefit, like your IAP, is a finite amount of money. Your IAP can provide you with income – in installments or a lump sum – until the money runs out.

 

How does the IAP work?

Once you officially become a member (usually after six months), you begin contributions to your IAP. 

Your IAP is built with contributions that amount to a percentage of your salary, whether paid by you or your employer. Due to SB 1049, your percentage now depends on your monthly income:

  • If you earn more than $2,500 per month: 5.25%.
  • If you earn $2,500 per month or less: 6%.

Your IAP contributions are invested in a Target-Date Fund (TDF) based on your age. The TDF is intended to reduce investment risk and volatility as you age.

  • As of September 2020, you have the option to change the TDF your account is invested in to better match your risk tolerance and savings goals. You can change your TDF only once per year and only during the annual Member Choice window, September 1-30.

Your IAP balance will change over time according to investment returns (earnings or losses) credited to your account on an annual basis. PERS also deducts administrative fees from your account's earnings on an annual basis.

You are vested in your IAP account from its inception, and at retirement, you can take your IAP in a lump sum, roll over, or in a series of installments. You can use the IAP Disbursement Forecaster to estimate your IAP distribution at retirement.

Learn more on the What is the IAP webpage.

 

How does the OPSRP pension work?

Your OPSRP pension is primarily funded by your employer and can provide a lifetime income.

To vest in your pension, you must do one of two things:

  1. Work for five years in a PERS-qualifying position for at least 600 hours per year. The years do not need to be consecutive, but you cannot have a gap in qualifying employment of more than five years.

    OR

  2. Work in a qualifying position on or after reaching normal retirement age, which is 65 for general service or 60 for police officers and firefighters.

Being vested means that you cannot lose your right to your pension benefit unless you withdraw from the overall OPSRP program.

If you work for 30 years in general service or 25 years as a police officer or firefighter, at retirement, your OPSRP pension can pay you about 45% of your average salary. If you work fewer years, the percentage will be lower.

 

How does PERS determine how much pension I get paid?

PERS calculates what your lifetime, monthly pension benefit will be using a formula that varies slightly depending on your service type – general service or police officer and firefighter (P&F).

The formula also uses your final average salary. In general, this salary figure is calculated as either the average of your highest salaries from three consecutive years or 1/3 of your total salary in the last 36 months of employment.


How the math works, by service type:

General service
You are most likely in general service, unless you work in a police officer or firefighter (P&F) position.

Your formula: 1.5% × years of total retirement credit × final average salary

Example:

    Final average salary: $45,000
    Retirement credit: 30 years
    Convert 1.5% for ease of multiplication: 1.5% ÷ 100% = 0.015

    0.015 × 30 × $45,000 = $20,250 per year

    $20,250 ÷ 12 months = $1,687.50 per month in pension income


Police officer and firefighter
Notice: If you work in a police officer or firefighter position, you must work as P&F member for at least five years immediately before retiring, and you must retire the first of the month after you stopped working in your P&F position for your benefits to be calculated correctly.

Your formula: 1.8% × years of total retirement credit × final average salary

Example:

    Final average salary: $45,000
    Retirement credit: 25 years
    Convert 1.8% for ease of multiplication: 1.8% ÷ 100% = 0.018

    0.018 × 25 × $45,000 = $20,250 per year

    $20,250 ÷ 12 months = $1,687.50 per month in pension income


All examples are based on a Single Life Option. Learn about the various retirement options you will have, including beneficiary options, in the OPSRP Pre-Retirement Guide.

 

Want an estimate for your pension?

  1. At any time, you can generate your own estimate through Online Member Services (OMS). 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. 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 "written" PERS benefit estimate by submitting an OPSRP Estimate Request form. (Note: PERS processes benefit estimate requests in retirement-date order, with the earliest retirement dates first. Estimate processing time may vary from member to member, as each account is different, so we are unable to tell you exactly when your estimate will be completed.)
    • ​​​​Note: Benefit estimates are just that — estimates. They are not a guarantee of benefits.

Key terms:

  • Retirement credit is the amount of time you work in a PERS-qualifying position. One month of retirement credit is earned for each major fraction of a month worked.
    • Your retirement credit will affect how much pension income you receive. Generally, the longer you work in a qualifying position, the higher your pension income will be.
  • A "qualifying position" is one in which you work 600 or more hours in a calendar year for a PERS-participating employer(s). Hours worked with different participating employers can be combined, and in some instances you can earn retirement credit for partial years with fewer than 600 hours.

 

What if I need more help understanding my retirement benefits?


Disclaimers

This webpage is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. If there is any conflict between this webpage and federal law, Oregon law, or administrative rules, the laws and rules shall prevail.

Much of the educational info​rmation on this page aims to simply explain PERS benefits and may not apply to all situations.