A Message to Our Members, Retirees, and Employers
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) will continue to remain closed to the public, visitors, and our membership through April 17. However, please know that the retiree payroll is on schedule and we continue with essential operations while complying with recent executive orders and public health guidelines. Routine procedures for key areas such as retirement applications, refunds, and death reporting remain in place, although processing times could be delayed. We appreciate your patience during these unprecedented times.
As of Monday, March 16, 2020, PERS temporarily suspended all walk-in appointments and guest visits, Focus Sessions, group seminars, and activities where large groups were scheduled to meet with PERS representatives either at the office or off-site.
PERS employees are working to process existing retirement applications as expected, but we ask that any member who is not waiting on paperwork from PERS or who is not retiring before July 1, 2020, to please refrain from calling the office so that staff can focus on meeting critical deadlines of those who are.
PHONES ARE OPEN, BUT PLEASE LIMIT CALLS
Because we may have limited capacity at any given time, we ask that anyone who calls PERS to please be patient and limit calls to only those necessary or time sensitive (e.g., if you are retiring before July 1, 2020). All other questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please note that many helpful resources can be found here on our website for those who have questions.
PERS is monitoring this situation closely and will make adjustments accordingly. The PERS website will be updated as new information is available; however, we encourage you to sign up for PERS eUpdates so that we can e-mail you any updates we have.
We thank each of you for your patience and support as we operate in this temporary environment. Please, take care of yourselves and stay well. Remember, we are working with you in mind. Thank you.
Ray Higgins, PERS Executive Director
Message to Employers: A Reminder about Return-to-Work Options
As the coronavirus COVID-19 state of emergency continues to put a strain on the services offered by public employers, the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) wants to remind covered employers of the return-to-work options available to retirees who could help with staffing needs.
RETURN-TO-WORK OPTIONS WHILE KEEPING RETIREMENT BENEFITS
PERS recognizes that not all retirees can or should return to service, especially since some of them are among those most vulnerable to the virus. But for those who are healthy, able, and wanting to help, there are avenues to allow for them to return to service without penalty to their retirement benefits.
Under existing laws and regulations and assuming a retiree has had a bona fide 90-day break in service, PERS retirees may do the following without suspending their retirement benefits:
- Work half time as determined by the employer, for half pay (For example, 20 hours a week or 80 hours a month) or
- Work up to a maximum of 25 percent of the retiree’s average compensation used for calculating retirement benefits. This may mean the retiree could work practically full time for a short duration depending on his or her personal circumstances. This option could be the most helpful, as PERS operates on a fiscal year and workers could be on hand to help through the end of June.
For these two options, PERS needs a completed PERS Form 4B, Reemployment of PERS Service Retiree Certification/Acknowledgement, or a completed PERS Form 9C, County/Municipal Elected Official Reemployment Acknowledgement/Election.
INDEPENDENT CONTRACT WORKERS
Should an employer decide to engage a retiree as an independent contractor, a completed PERS Form EVI, Employee vs. Independent Contractor Determination Questionnaire, should be submitted and approved by PERS before any such engagement begins.
A retiree who has had a bona fide 90-day break in service may be allowed to volunteer in certain circumstances.
WORKING FULL TIME WITH SUSPENDED BENEFITS
Mississippi statute also provides for retirees to suspend their retirement benefits and work full time for full pay. However, if that time exceeds six months, their benefit is recalculated to include the new service.
PERS Regulation 34, Reemployment after Retirement, details each of the provisions listed. Or, for more information, you may e-mail email@example.com with any questions.
Ballots mailed March 6 for state employee representative election
Ballots were mailed to eligible voters March 6 to elect a representative for the state employee trustee term that runs from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2026. Deadline to cast ballots is April 6 at 5 p.m.