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The Oregon Public Employees Retirement Plan (PERS)

Is A Defined Contribution Pension Plan

Oregon has one retirement system that covers all state employees – the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). You become a vested plan member if you work at least 600 hours in each of five calendar years (calendar years do not have to be consecutive).

Your membership type depends on the date you were hired:

  • PERS Tier One: members hired before January 1, 1996
  • PERS Tier Two: members hired between January 1, 1996 and August 28, 2003.
  • OPSRP (Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan): members hired after August 28, 2003 and worked at least six full months for a public employer.
As a Defined Contribution Plan, employees contribute a percentage of each paycheck into the system. Generally, employee contributions are 6% of your annual salary based on the first $280,000 of annual salary. However, this limit does not apply if you were a PERS member before December 31, 1995. These contributions are tax-deferred which means you do not pay income taxes on this portion of your earnings until you receive the funds upon retirement. The amount of your monthly retirement benefit depends on when you first contributed to PERS and how long you served as a member of the plan. Depending upon your eligibility and date of hire, PERS uses up to four methods to calculate Tier One and Tier Two retirement benefits while the OPSRP Pension Program uses a formula method only to calculate benefits. Add to this, as a Defined Contribution pension plan it does not provide a guaranteed lifetime benefit. To view a chart comparing the differences between Tier One, Tier Two and OPSRP, go to: https://www.oregon.gov/pers/MEM/Pages/Benefit-Component-Comparisons.aspx

Normal Retirement Age & Early Retirement

Keep in mind, when you choose to retire early, your retirement benefit will be reduced because you’ll be receiving your benefit over a longer period of time. You receive your full unreduced benefit when you retire at the normal retirement age indicated for your plan below:
  • PERS Tier One: Normal Retirement is age 58 (or 30 years of service); Early Retirement is age 55.
  • PERS Tier Two: Normal Retirement is age 60 (or 30 years of service); Early Retirement is age 55.
  • OPSRP: Normal Retirement is age 65 (or age 58 with 30 years of service); Early Retirement is age 55 if vested.
For complete information about Oregon State Pension Plans click here.

PERS FAQ's

How long do I need to work before I am vested in PERS?

Generally, you become a plan member if you work at least 600 hours in each of five calendar years (calendar years do not have to be consecutive).

What is the PERS retirement Age?

The normal retirement age (full, unreduced benefits), and the age you can file for early retirement (reduced benefits), each depend upon your tier which is determined by the date you were hired.

  • PERS Tier One: Normal Retirement is age 58 (or 30 years of service); Early Retirement is age 55.
  • PERS Tier Two: Normal Retirement is age 60 (or 30 years of service); Early Retirement is age 55.
  • OPSRP: Normal Retirement is age 65 (or age 58 with 30 years of service); Early Retirement is age 55 if vested.

Do I have to pay Federal Income Taxes on my PERS retirement benefit?

Yes – once you retire and start receiving your PERS retirement benefits as income, those payments become subject to Federal taxes.

Will my PERS retirement benefits be reduced by Social Security Benefits I receive?

No, PERS does not reduce your benefit once you become eligible for Social Security.
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