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The Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS or the System) is a governmental defined benefit plan qualified under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. PERS was established by the state Legislature in 1952 to provide benefits to eligible Mississippi public employees working for state agencies, universities, community/junior colleges, and public schools, as well as counties, cities, and other participating political subdivisions.

Unlike a defined contribution plan (e.g., a 401(k)-type plan) where a participant’s retirement benefit is based on contributions and any investment earnings accumulated in that participant’s account, a defined benefit plan determines a member’s retirement benefit using a formula based on the member’s average compensation, years of creditable service, and the benefit payment option selected at retirement. PERS is a trust fund operating on a fiscal year calendar from July 1 through June 30. All funds are held in trust for the exclusive benefit of the members.

Funding for PERS comes from member and employer contributions and investment earnings on those contributions that accumulate over time. As a defined benefit plan, PERS has access to professional investment management, which eliminates the need for members to manage their contributions in the markets. Defined benefit plans are designed based on strength in numbers, automatic participation, and pooled risk so that members are guaranteed to receive lifetime benefit payouts at retirement, regardless of market downturns. In addition, PERS provides disability and survivor protection.



The University offers certain benefits to retirees, including tuition assistance, activity card, alumni membership, etc. Life insurance and health insurance are provided by the Office of Insurance through the State of Mississippi Health Insurance Plan. To be classified as a Delta State University retiree, an employee must have been a full-time employee with ten or more years of full-time service to DSU or a part-time employee with fifteen or more years of service.

You become vested when you have worked the required number of years of service as a contributing member. Being vested entitles you and your beneficiaries to certain benefits when you reach a specified age or years of service or if you become disabled or die prior to retirement. (See table below outlining vesting and eligibility requirements.)
If you were hired On or before June 30, 2007 July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2011 On or after July 1, 2014
Vesting requires that You have 4 years of membership service to be vested. You have 8 years of membership service to be vested. You have 8 years of membership service to be vested.
Service Retirement Eligibility requires that You can retire with 25 years of creditable service at any age or age 60 and vested. You can retire with 25 years of creditable service at any age or age 60 and vested. You can retire with 30 years of creditable service at any age or age 60 and vested.
Partial Lump Sum Option (PLSO) eligibility requires that You are eligible for PLSO with 28 years of creditable service or age 63 and vested. You are eligible for PLSO with 28 years of creditable service. You are eligible for PLSO with 33 years of creditable service.



While working in a PERS-covered position where wages are properly reported and applicable contributions are paid, you earn membership service that counts toward your retirement. No membership service is awarded for leave of absence without pay. service is awarded for leave of absence without pay. To receive service credit other than membership service, you must be vested and eligible to qualify as follows:

You may receive service credit for accumulated uncompensated, unused leave, if eligible. Credit for non-elected positions State law relating to leave allows service to be awarded to a PERS member upon retirement for lawfully accumulated unused and uncompensated personal (vacation) and major medical (sick) leave certified to PERS at or prior to retirement. State and university employees who terminate covered employment on or after July 1, 1984, and school employees who terminate covered employment on or after May 15, 1984, may receive service credit for lawfully accumulated unused leave.
For members who terminate on or after July 1, 1984, the employer must have a written policy in place authorizing accumulated unused leave to be certified to PERS at termination and/or retirement to receive credit for that leave. For retirement purposes, policies of covered employers that allow for the accumulation of unused leave cannot exceed the provisions of the state law relating to leave. Except at retirement, accumulated unused leave is certified by the employer.

Active Duty Military Service Credit at No Cost and for Purchase

Qualifying active duty military service credit is available at no cost and for purchase. Military service performed after terminating from covered public service or while drawing a retirement allowance is not eligible for credit.

Military Service Credit at No Cost
Military service credit at no cost requires that you must:
  • have served on active duty in:
    • the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard;
    • maritime service during periods of hostility in World War II; or
    • the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service prior to 1972. This credit is available only to members who retire on or after July 1, 2002.
  • have entered or reentered state service after discharge from qualifying service and be vested in PERS;
  • not have received a dishonorable discharge;
  • not have credit for this service in any other retirement system administered by PERS and not have overlapping service for the same period of time; and
  • provide necessary documentation prior to retirement.

If eligible, you may receive, at no cost, up to four years of service credit, or more if you were retained in the armed forces or maritime service during World War II by causes beyond your control and without opportunity for discharge. You must submit a copy of your DD-214 discharge form or comparable documentation to qualify for this additional credit. You also may be eligible for service credit as a National Guard or Reserve member if your unit was federally activated into the U.S. Armed Forces and you provide PERS with a copy of your DD-214. Neither the Guard NGB Form nor the U.S. Army Reserve Personnel Center Chronological Statement of Retirement Points will be accepted to establish eligibility for active duty military service.

Military Service Credit for Purchase
Under certain circumstances, you may be awarded credit for military service that interrupts covered public service, provided the appropriate employee and employer contributions are paid.

To purchase service under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), you must have worked for a covered employer, left employment for a military leave of absence, and returned to work with the same employer within 90 days of discharge or release except as otherwise provided under USERRA. The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief
Tax (HEART) Act extends the right to purchase service under USERRA to survivors after a member’s death.

If a member dies while performing qualified military service as defined by the United States Code, his or her survivors are entitled to any additional benefits that the system would provide if the member had resumed employment and then died. A deceased member’s period of qualified military service must be counted for vesting  purposes. An individual receiving differential wage payments from an employer shall be treated as employed by that employer, and the differential wage payment shall be treated as compensation.

Out-of-State Service
A vested member may purchase up to five years of out of-state service for qualifying public, non-federal service performed in another state as a public employee of the other state; a political subdivision, public education system, or other governmental instrumentality of the other state; or as a teacher in American overseas dependent schools operated by the U.S. Armed Forces
for children of U.S. citizens residing in areas outside the continental U.S. A member who enters or reenters state service after his or her out-of-state public employment may purchase his or her qualifying out-of-state service at actuarial cost prior to retirement. For PERS to determine eligibility and the cost of the purchase, PERS must receive a completed Form 19, Out-of-State Public Employment Certification.

Professional Leave
Professional leave is leave without pay for professional purposes directly related to employment in state service and performed with a public institution or public agency of Mississippi or another state or federal agency, as authorized by the employer. As a vested member, you may purchase a maximum of two years of qualifying professional leave for any 10-year period of state service. Credit for professional leave may be purchased at actuarial cost prior to retirement.

Refund Payback
If you return to covered service after refunding previous contributions and interest, you may reinstate withdrawn service credit by repaying your refund plus interest. Service credit will be  reinstated when you become vested.


Our office is dedicated to helping employees prepare, plan for and transition into their life in retirement. In order to help employees better understand the benefits available to them, we have created a Retirement Orientation that is delivered every other month. Please refer to the Getting Ready to Retire section_____________________ of our website to learn more and register for Orientation and other retirement workshops.


  • Continuing your medical insurance (Retiree paid)
  • Voluntary, dental insurance (Retiree paid)
  • Voluntary, vision insurance (Retiree paid)
  • $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 of term life insurance (Retiree paid)
  • Tuition benefits for yourself, your dependent children, or spouse
  • Membership in the Delta State University Dedicated Statesmen Association
  • Parking decal which allows the retiree to park in most parking spaces.
  • Symbolic retirement gift subject to the availability of the Foundation funds to cover the cost.
  • “Retiree” ID card which entitles the retiree with access to the following at no charge:
    • Roberts-LaForge Library
    • Athletic Events (regular season only)
    • Fitness Center
    • Wyatt Gym
    • Aquatics Center
    • Tennis Courts
    • Limited Health Services
  • DSU retiree email account if requested. This email will provide limited access to the University email system.
    • An application may be completed with the Office of Information Technology, Bailey 102.
  • Lifetime membership in the Alumni Association


Please note as a recent retiree, you will also receive COBRA paperwork, mailed to your home address. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi will mail you COBRA paperwork, even though you are entitled to receive retiree medical benefits, for one important reason:

  • COBRA regulations require us to send you this paperwork.


You can contact Delta State University Human Resources’ Office at 1-662-846-4035 between the hours of 8am – 5pm.