Human Resources

Retirement Plans

Public Employees’ Retirement System
429 Mississippi Street
Jackson, MS 39201-1005

The Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) of Mississippi is the retirement system for nearly all non-federal public employees in the state. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Tennessee border, from the Alabama line to the Mississippi River, PERS serves employees of the state, public school districts, municipalities, counties, community colleges, state universities and such other public entities as libraries and water districts.

Membership in PERS is a benefit accorded to eligible public employees of member agencies, and is financed by contributions made by the employees and their employers and the earnings on these contributions.

PERS is a defined benefit plan. It provides a retirement benefit for public employees after attainment of a certain age and/or completion of a required number of years of service. This system combines the benefits of the Social Security Program with a supplementary state annuity program to give employees a state retirement program. Under this defined benefit plan, the benefit you receive at retirement is based upon a benefit formula.

Neither the investment experience nor the amount contributed by the employee and institution on behalf of the employee directly determines the amount of guaranteed benefit to be received. All employees are required to contribute 9.00% of their total earnings up to a maximum of $330,000 annually. This contribution is contributed on a pre-tax basis. The University will also contribute 17.40% on your total earnings up to a maximum of $330,000 per year; however, you will only receive a benefit from the university’s contributions if you retire from the system and draw monthly benefits. Should you decide to leave the University before retirement, you may withdraw your contributions less taxes, roll over your contributions to a qualified IRA without paying taxes, or leave the money in the system for the purpose of drawing a benefit later, should you qualify, or return to state service.

Retirement benefits are determined by years of service and average annual earnings for the four years of employment with the highest earnings. Benefits are calculated using a service credit factor. This is determined by multiplying the total years of creditable service times the statutory formula percentage. An employee receives 2% percent for 1-25 years of service. For years of service over 25, participants receive 2.5 percent.

PERS requires four (4) years of service in the plan before you are vested for those employees employed before July 1, 2007, and eight (8) years of service for employees employed on or after July 1, 2007. Once an employee is vested, there are several other potential benefits.

  1. Disability income for a qualifying disability.

Disability Retirement: An employee who is disabled after he/she has completed four years of creditable service may receive a disability retirement allowance which consist of the amount as a retirement allowance he/she continued in service to age 60.  PERS has two disability plans, Age Limited Disability Plan and Tiered Disability Plan. If you were a member of PERS before July 1, 1992, and did not elect coverage under the Tiered Disability Plan, you are covered under the Age Limited Disability Plan.

  1. Surviving spouse and dependent children income in the event of the death of the member.

Advantages of PERS

Disadvantages of PERS

  • Disability income protection
  • Military service credit
  • Unused leave credit
  • Death benefits in line of duty
  • Cost of living increase (13th check)
  • Stability of system
  • Can purchase professional leave credit
  • Minimum monthly payments after 4 or 8 (depending on hire date) years service upon qualification for retirement
  • Can purchase out-of-state service
  • Spousal and dependent child benefits available after 4 or 8  (depending on hire date) years of service
  • Not transferable
  • 4-year or 8-year (depending on hire date) service requirement for monthly disability, survivor and retirement benefits
  • Employee does not have access to employer contributions if terminates prior to eligibility for monthly benefits.

Public Employees’ Retirement System offers the following seminars:

  • Full-day Seminars
  • PERS After Hours
  • PERS on the Move
  • Focus Sessions

To see the current PERS seminar dates, click HERE.

Monthly retirement benefits are available from PERS if (1) you are age 60 with at least four years of membership service for those employees employed before July 1, 2007, and eight (8) years of service for employees employed on or after July 1, 2007; or (2) you have completed 25 years of creditable service (four of which must be membership service credit). Unused leave and military service can be applied toward the 25 year service credit but CANNOT be applied for retirement eligibility purposes until after the four (4) or eight (8) years of contributing membership service credit is awarded.

Send questions and comments regarding this site to Lisa Giger.

Prior to July 1, 1990, all eligible employees of the Institutions of Higher Learning were covered under PERS; however, in the 1990 Legislative session, the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) were instrumental in getting House Bill 1070 passed which made an optional retirement plan available to the IHL teaching and administrative faculty. This alternative plan was established in recognition of the fact that many university level faculty members transfer from state to state a number of times prior to retirement and that such mobility in employment severely limits the ability to build a meaningful retirement benefit under a defined benefit plan such as PERS. This alternative plan is structured so as to be portable and transferable as teaching and administrative staff move from one state to another. It was also designed to serve as a recruiting tool to better enable Mississippi to attract qualified and talented university staff. Beginning July 1998, this criteria was expanded to include Librarians with academic rank, Coaches, and Administrators with Budgetary Authority.

In order to participate in the Optional Retirement Plan, an employee must first be eligible to participate in PERS. Therefore, the individual must first be in a covered position. If initially employed in a qualifying position after July 1, 1990, an eligible employee has the option to elect to participate in the Optional Retirement Plan. This option is only available during the first 30 days of employment. If no election is made during that period of time, the employee automatically becomes a member of PERS. The decision is then irrevocable.

The Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) is a defined contribution plan. In this plan, contributions made by the employee and the institution on your behalf are invested in a retirement annuity certificate in your name. The amount of monthly benefit received at retirement will be based on amount of funds contributed, the investment earnings of those funds, age at the time the employee begins receiving benefits, and the type of annuity chosen. Contributions made by the employee and the institution are immediately vested and continue to accumulate benefits, even if no longer employed by the State of Mississippi, or regardless of future employment.

Eligible employees who join ORP contribute 9.00% on total earnings up to a maximum of $255,000 annually. The University contribution on behalf of the employee is 15.75% of which 13.115% is remitted to ORP company chosen, making a total contribution of 22.865%.  The employer contribution balance of 2.6325% goes to PERS to fund the unfounded accrued liability of PERS as it does for all PERS participants.

The following companies are vendors for ORP.

  • Corebridge Financial
  • TIAA-CREF – Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association College Retirement Equities Fund
  • VOYA

Advantages of ORP

Disadvantages of ORP

  • Access to contributions of 23.751%
  • Portability
  • Benefits available upon termination at any age subject to applicable penalties
  • Control over investment
  • Immediate vesting
  • Disability benefits based on account value
  • Survivor benefits based on account value
  • No additional credit for unused leave or military time
  • No cost of living increase
  • Employee does not have access to 2.649% of employer contribution

This page is maintained by Lisa Giger. Send questions and comments regarding this site to

Additional Retirement Investments

Mississippi Deferred Compensation

Account Representative:
Ms. Katrina Yarbrough
111 Capitol Street, Suite 260
Jackson, MS 39201




Financial Advisor:
Mr. David Stratton
113 W Jackson St, Suite 2A
Ridgeland, MS 39157
Cell: 662-607-4593
Office: 601-605-3590





Financial Advisor:
Mr. Charles (Chas) Emerson
5740 Getwell Road
Building 9, Suite C
Southaven, MS 38672
Fax: 888-207-9309


 TIAA logo


Ms. Richella B. Vincent Lee
Financial Consultant
Six Concourse Parkway, Suite 2600
Atlanta, GA 30328-6104
Phone: 1-800-842-2003 ext. 26-3570
Fax: 770-399-5469