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, and touchless temperature taking will be conducted on every guest by agency personnel upon arrival.
  5. Any guest who is sick with any illness, has a fever, 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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A Message from PERS Executive Director Ray Higgins Regarding Attorney General's Opinions and Regulation 34, Reemployment after Retirement - Updated July 2, 2020

After careful consideration and counsel, the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) Board of Trustees voted at its June 23 meeting to initially adopt staff recommendations to revert select language in section 102:1a-1b of PERS Regulation 34, Reemployment after Retirement, that allowed PERS retirees to serve in the state Legislature while continuing to receive benefit payments. Other minor and unrelated changes were also made to the regulation. Click here to read latest version of Regulation 34​.


Staff recommendations were based on current Mississippi Law and recent Attorney General Opinions, guidance from the Attorney General’s Office and Ice Miller (PERS’ outside tax counsel), and the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) recent decision to decline to rule on PERS’ private letter ruling request about the Board’s December 2019 revisions to Regulation 34 that allowed retirees to serve and continue receiving benefits. (Click here to view the IRS' written response.)​.


We certainly support our retirees, but we must do what is in the best interest of the system based on the various laws and regulations. As a reminder, complying with IRS requirements allows PERS to maintain its qualified status. This qualified status pertains to federal tax law and is very important to the System and individual members.


The Board will meet in August to vote on a final adoption of the reverted regulation, in accordance with the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Act.


Again, our retirees and members are important to us; but, as fiduciaries, we must always act in the best interest of the system as a whole. Thank you.


-Ray HigginsPERS executive director


Background

In November 2018 and January 2019, Mississippi’s Attorney General (then Jim Hood) issued opinions regarding PERS retirees serving in the Mississippi Legislature and continuing to receive benefits. In response to these opinions, the 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 complied with IRS requirements for maintaining the System’s qualified tax status, the proposed regulation was submitted (prior to final adoption) to the IRS during the summer of 2019 with a request for issuance of a private letter ruling. The IRS responded in May 2020 that they declined to rule on the private letter ruling request, which is their prerogative under federal law.

 
 
 
 
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