“In November 2018 and January 2019, Mississippi’s Attorney General issued opinions regarding PERS retirees serving in the Mississippi Legislature and continuing to receive benefits. In response to these opinions, the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) Board of Trustees approved initial adoption in April 2019 of revisions to PERS Board Regulation 34, Reemployment after Retirement, to allow PERS retirees to serve in the state Legislature while continuing to receive benefit payments under certain conditions. These revisions were officially adopted by the Board at their December 17 meeting.
To confirm whether the revised regulation complies with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements for maintaining the System’s qualified tax status, the proposed regulation was submitted (prior to final adoption) to the IRS this summer with a request for issuance of a private letter ruling. Maintaining the plan’s qualified status pertains to federal tax law and is very important to both the System and individual members. Our hope was to receive an affirmative ruling from the IRS prior to the proposed January 1, 2020, effective date of the regulation revisions. PERS made a strong, good faith effort to make this possible. While we have yet to receive an official ruling from the IRS, PERS did receive word from the IRS via telephone that an affirmative ruling is expected. In response to this news, the PERS Board of Trustees voted December 17 for the final adoption of revised Regulation 34, which will now be filed with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office according to the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Act and should be effective in approximately 30 days.
In the event that PERS does not receive IRS affirmation, we will likely have no choice but to revise the regulation, which may mean that the current and historical regulation will go back into effect. Any possible change to the benefit of a PERS retiree will be determined based on his or her individual circumstances and the regulation in effect at the time of his or her service in the Legislature.
will update this statement once we have received this critical ruling. We also
will continue to act prudently and in the best interest of the System. Should
you have further questions, you may contact us at 800-444-7377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
copy of the revised regulation, click here.”
-Ray Higgins, PERS executive director