Welcome to PERS

  

The Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) p​roudly serves the state of Mississippi by providing retirement benefits for individuals working in state government, public schools, universities, community colleges, municipalities, counties, the Legislature, highway patrol, and other such public entities. These retirement benefits not only help recruit and retain a strong public workforce in Mississippi, they help stimulate local economies in every county in the state and help reduce the need for social assistance.


 Announcements
 
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A Message to Our Members, Retirees, and Employers

The Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) thanks each of you for your patience as we are navigating through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While your retirement system has continued to operate during this time, we have kept the doors of our building closed to guests for their safety and for the safety of our staff so that we could maintain a workforce dedicated to our critical operations. However, we will be opening our doors back up to guests today, June 1, with the understanding that we will be mindful of the Mississippi State Department of Health’s (MSDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) regulations and guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For PERS, this means that staff will be following various guidelines and safety measures and that guests will be required to consider certain guidelines and safety measures, as well.

Guidelines for PERS Guests beginning June 1, 2020:

  1. Guests should continue to make every effort to conduct PERS business by telephone or online. Our Call Center has remained open and available throughout the pandemic. Before coming to the building, please call to see if your needs can be handled telephonically. Our numbers are 800-444-7377 and 601-359-3589. And remember that our website provides a number of helpful resources.
  2. Visits to PERS will be by appointment only. Guests needing to discuss their accounts should call PERS to arrange a scheduled time to speak with a retirement counselor. These appointments will be conducted by video conferencing or telephone. Individuals who need to come to the PERS building should note that only a limited number of guests will be allowed at any given time to help maintain proper social distancing as prescribed by the MSDH and the CDC.
  3. Guest visits are for individuals only. While we prefer that members not be accompanied by other individuals, we understand that some individuals may require one additional person for physical assistance. In these cases, the additional person will be encouraged to return to his or her vehicle during the member’s appointment.
  4. All guests will be asked to wear masks while visiting PERS.
  5. Any guest who is sick with any illness or who is displaying any symptoms of COVID-19, is asked to stay home and will not be allowed in the PERS building. Any guest who has been sick is required to have been fever- and symptom-free for 14 days prior to entering the building.
  6. Finally, by entering the PERS building, each guest confirms that:

    • He or she has not had one or more of the following in the last 14 days:
      • A fever;
      • A cough that cannot be attributed to another health condition;
      • Shortness of breath that cannot be attributed to another health condition;
      • A sore throat that cannot be attributed to another heath condition;
      • Nasal congestion or runny nose that cannot be attributed to another health condition;
      • Body aches;
      • Loss of taste and/or smell;
      • Diarrhea;
      • Nausea;
      • Vomiting;
      • Sweats; or
      • Chills.
    • He or she does not care for or live with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms (fever and symptoms listed above) or who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
    • He or she has not been exposed to someone with a positive COVID-19 test in the last 14 days.

Also resuming June 1 will be PERS Focus Sessions and group seminars as requested by employers, though the format for these opportunities will be presented virtually rather than in person. Please watch the Retirement Education page of our website for the availability of these events.

We thank each of you for your careful consideration of these guidelines as the state and PERS begin their safe return to additional services. Please continue to take care of yourselves and stay well! Thank you.

Ray Higgins, PERS Executive Director 

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Message to Employers: Governor signs Executive Order waiving 90-day break for retirees returning to work

To maintain and supplement Mississippi's workforce in hospitals and other governmental entities as needed in response to COVID-19, Governor Tate Reeves has signed Executive Order No. 1472. This order temporarily waives the required 90-day break in service for any Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) retiree whose effective date of retirement occurred prior to April 15, 2020.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of Governor Reeves and other state leaders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic," said PERS Executive Director Ray Higgins. "In consultation with the Attorney General’s Office and outside tax counsel, we assisted with the Executive Order and fully support its implementation. We believe the temporary waiver may help supplement the workforce during the state of emergency with no adverse impact to the System.” 

Though the order waives the 90-day break-in-service requirement, retirees who return to work will need to adhere to one of the following so as to not suspend their retirement benefits:
  1. Work no more than half the normal hours or days and earn no more than half the salary in effect for the position during the fiscal year or
  2. Work for an amount of time in the fiscal year sufficient to earn up to a maximum of 25 percent of the retiree’s average compensation used for calculating retirement benefits.
Any PERS retiree who wishes to return to work with a PERS-covered employer must submit a completed PERS Form 4B, Reemployment of PERS Service Retiree Certification/Acknowledgement.

For more information, you may email customerservice@pers.ms.gov with any questions.

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A Message from PERS Executive Director Ray Higgins Regarding Attorney General's Opinions - Updated May 7, 2020

After months of consideration and correspondence, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has decided to decline to rule on the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi's (PERS') private letter ruling request about recent revisions to Regulation 34, Reemployment after Retirement, which is their prerogative under federal law. (Click here to view the IRS' written response.​)

PERS leadership, representatives from the Attorney General’s Office, outside tax counsel, and the PERS Board will consider the System's next steps going forward, and I anticipate this matter possibly being an agenda item for discussion at the regularly scheduled committee or board meetings in late June.

Our retirees and members are important to us, and, as fiduciaries, we must always act in the best interest of the System. Thank you.

-Ray HigginsPERS executive director

 

Background

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, 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 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. 

 
 
 
 
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