University Human Resources
Public Employees’ Retirement Fund (PERF)
The facts behind PERF legislative changes
Each year, the Indiana General Assembly passes legislation that changes Public Employees Retirement Fund “rules.” These changes are often misunderstood, creating concern and rumors. To debunk the myths and rumors University Human Resources offers a few details on recent changes.
PERF Guaranteed Fund moving to Stable Value Fund on January 1, 2017
- Employees hired on or after July 1, 2013, see Retirement & Savings Plan
- PERF is a retirement plan established by the State of Indiana to provide retirement, disability, and survivor benefits for its participants
- PERF is a defined benefit plan (IRC Section 401(a) plan) with a defined contribution plan feature
- PERF has two separate and distinct benefits, a pension benefit and an annuity savings account benefit. Both benefits are funded by Indiana University
- Pension benefits are subject to vesting terms and conditions
- Annuity savings account benefits are immediately 100% vested
Support Staff and Temporary (formerly Hourly) employees appointed prior to July 1, 2013, who normally work at least 50% full-time equivalent upon their appointment and are expected to work at least 1000 hours or more a year, are eligible to participate in PERF.
Commencement of Participation
An eligible employee will begin participating in PERF upon his or her date of hire. Eligible employees will be automatically enrolled in PERF and will receive information via email or regular mail about electing beneficiaries and making investment elections.
An employee is no longer eligible to receive an allocation of PERF contributions if:
- The employee terminates employment with Indiana University; or
- The employee ceases to be a member of an eligible class of employees.
In the event an individual becomes ineligible to receive an allocation of PERF contributions:
- Contributions will stop being made to PERF with the employee's last regular paycheck or the last paycheck attributable to employment in an eligible class of employees.
- The participant will have the same rights as any other participant except no additional contributions will be made to PERF on his or her behalf.
Participants who terminate employment or cease to be in an eligible class of employees at Indiana University have the same rights as active participants, except that no additional contributions will be made to PERF on their behalf by Indiana University.
PERF has two separate and distinct benefits, a pension benefit and an annuity savings account benefit. Both benefits are funded by Indiana University.
The full (unreduced) pension benefit is an annual benefit payable for life that is based on the following formula:
Years of PERF creditable service X final average salary X 1.1% = annual benefit for life.
"Final Average Salary" refers to your highest five years of compensation in a PERF-covered position. PERF will combine twenty (20) quarters in groups of four (4) consecutive quarters (as mandated by law) over your entire PERF- or TRF-covered career. The resulting average in all cases will be the highest possible benefit.
Participants must have at least 10 years of PERF creditable service to have a vested right to the pension benefit.
Annuity Savings Account Benefit
The annuity savings account benefit is an employer contribution equal to 3% of a participant's compensation per pay period that is contributed to an individual participant account at the end of each pay period by Indiana University.
Indiana University makes all contributions to annuity savings accounts. Participants are not required, nor permitted, to make additional contributions to annuity savings accounts.
A participant is always 100% vested in his or her annuity savings account.
Taxes on Contributions
Contributions will not be included in a participant's income reported to the federal government for income tax purposes. However, contributions and earnings (if any) will be subject to tax upon distribution from PERF.
Upon reemployment or reinstatement following a period of military service, Indiana University may be required by law to restore any PERF benefits that would had been earned by the eligible employee for any portion of the military service period for which the employee would otherwise have been a participant had he or she continued working with Indiana University.
If an employee returns to work following a period of military service, please contact University Human Resource Services (UHRS) immediately. A copy of honorable discharge papers are required.
Any person or entity can be designated as a beneficiary. In the event no valid beneficiary designation exists, or if the beneficiary is not alive at the time of the participant's death, the death benefit will be paid to the participant's estate. The default beneficiary is the participant's estate. Participants are encouraged to contact PERF to change the beneficiary or log on to the PERF website to make changes.
PERF offers several investments options for participants to choose to invest money held in their annuity savings account.
The default investment for all new participants is the PERF age appropriate target date retirement fund.
Investment changes can be made by logging into the PERF website or by calling PERF at 1-888-526-1687.
For further information on the self-directed investment options, PERF's investment activities, and fund performance, visit the investments section of the PERF website.
Generally, a participant must terminate employment with Indiana University and all other State employers who are participating employers in PERF in order to be eligible to receive distribution of plan benefits.
A participant's distribution options will differ depending on the following participant circumstances:
- The participant terminates employment and does not qualify for a pension benefit ("cash-out provision");
- The participant terminates employment with 5 or more years of PERF creditable service and is disabled ("disability provision"); or
- The participant terminates employment and qualifies for a full or reduced pension benefit ("retirement provision").
If a participant has attained age 70 and has been credited with 20 or more years of PERF creditable service, the participant may begin receiving PERF pension while continuing to work at Indiana University.
Additionally those participants that are no longer in PERF covered positions may be eligible to begin pension benefits if the participant is at least age 62 and meets other eligibility rules. Contact INPRS for additional information.
If a participant terminates employment with Indiana University and is no longer employed in a PERF-covered position, the participant may receive a cash-out of the balance of his or her annuity savings account upon satisfying the following conditions:
- The participant terminates employment with Indiana University; and
- The participant is not rehired by Indiana University or any other employer who participates in PERF within 30 days (regardless if the participant's new position is a PERF-covered position or not).
The annuity savings account cash-out consists of the 3% mandatory contributions made by Indiana University to the participant's account and all accumulated earnings credited to the account. Money contributed to PERF on the participant's behalf to fund the pension benefit does not belong to the participant until he or she becomes eligible to receive the pension benefit from PERF. Therefore, the pension benefit cannot be cashed-out to the participant.
A participant does not have to take a cash-out of his or her annuity savings account upon termination of employment with Indiana University, even if the participant qualifies for a cash-out. The participant may leave the accumulations in his or her annuity savings account and continue to manage the investment of the account with PERF.
If a participant has 10 years or more of PERF creditable service, the participant should consider leaving his or her annuity savings account with PERF until the participant reaches the required age to be eligible to receive a pension benefit. At that time, the participant may choose to receive the annuity savings account as either monthly income that is added to the pension benefit, leave it at PERF, or make partial or lump-sum withdrawal.
A participant is eligible to apply for disability benefits from PERF upon satisfying the following conditions:
- The participant has accrued five or more years of PERF creditable service before: a) the participant terminates employment; b) employer-provided income protection benefits expire; c) leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) expires; or d) worker's compensation benefits expire;
- The participant is determined to be disabled by the Social Security Administration; and
- The participant was receiving salary, or employer provided income protection benefits, or was on leave under FMLA as of the disability onset date established by the Social Security Administration.
A participant will be entitled to receive PERF disability benefits for as long as he or she continues to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
To be eligible receive a full (unreduced) pension benefit, a participant must satisfy the following conditions:
- The participant terminates employment with Indiana University;
- The participant must satisfy one of the following age and service conditions:
- Attainment of age 65 with 10 or more years of PERF creditable service;
- Attainment of age 60 with 15 or more years of PERF creditable service; or
- Attainment of age 55 with the participant's age and total number of years of PERF creditable service equaling 85 or more.
To receive a reduced pension, a participant must satisfy the following conditions:
- The participant terminates employment with Indiana University;
- The participant is not rehired by Indiana University or any other employer who participates in PERF in a PERF-covered position within 30 days of the date payment of PERF benefits began; and
- The participant has attained at least age 50 or older with 15 or more years of PERF creditable service.
Hardship distributions are not allowed to be made to a participant from PERF.
Loans are not allowed to be made to a participant from PERF.
Minimum Required Distributions
Federal law requires that a participant begin to receive a distribution of his or her PERF Annuity Savings Account (ASA) on or before the "required beginning date." The required beginning date is April 1 st of the calendar year following the calendar year in which the participant attains age 70½ or terminates employment, whichever is later.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)
Indiana law prevents assigning of PERF benefits. Accordingly, PERF cannot honor any divorce decree which requires it to pay anyone other than the participant, or in the event of the participant's death, the named beneficiary. Therefore, QDROs do not apply to PERF.
In order to be consistent with laws governing PERF and to satisfy Indiana's domestic relations laws, divorce decrees should order a participant to make payments to an ex-spouse rather than ordering PERF to make such payments. In addition, Indiana law prohibits PERF from garnishing a participant's benefit for child support payments.
Upon termination of employment with Indiana University, a PERF participant must:
- Complete and return appropriate forms to PERF to receive ASA distribution or complete online by logging into the PERF website.
- Notify PERF of any name and/or address change.
- Notify PERF any beneficiary change.
- Continue to manage investment of the annuity savings account with PERF.
- Begin to receive minimum required distributions on or before the required beginning date.
The PERF Member Handbook contains a detailed description of the terms and conditions of PERF. A copy of the handbook may be obtained from the PERF website or by contacting PERF.
Please contact PERF at:
Call Center: (317) 233-4162 or (888) 526-1687 (toll free number)
Fax: (866) 591-9441
1 North Capitol, Suite 001
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
University Human Resources