Retirement Plan Benefits
There are no secrets to a successful retirement. It is the result of your preparation today. A condition of employment with the City of Albuquerque, in most instances, is to participate in the Public Employee’s Retirement Association, also known as PERA. Seasonal employees, students and retirees from the Educational Retirement Board do not qualify to participate in PERA.
The City of Albuquerque contributes a percentage of salary to PERA on behalf of the Employer, pursuant to State law. Employees also contribute a percentage of salary to PERA into their own account. However, a benefit of working for the City of Albuquerque is that the City contributes a large portion of the employees’ contribution (up to 75% of the employees’ contribution). Contact the Insurance & Benefits Office for further information on contribution rates.
You may designate only one person or one organization as a refund beneficiary and only one person as a survivor beneficiary. The refund and survivor beneficiary can be the same person. If you are married, your spouse must give his or her consent if you choose someone other than your spouse to receive the benefit. In that instance, your spouse must sign a Beneficiary Spousal Consent Form before a Notary Public.
The refund beneficiary designation is important if you have not obtained the service credits needed for vesting. Once you become vested the survivor designation becomes effective.
Vesting means you are guaranteed a pension benefit when you meet the age and service requirements for normal retirement. The service credit used for vesting must be earned while employed with a PERA-affiliated employer. Service credit earned with the Educational Retirement Board (ERB) does not count toward the years to vest with PERA. If you are retired from the ERB you are not eligible to participate in PERA and will need to complete an exclusion form.
- Tier 1 = Hired June 30, 2013 or before; are vesting after five (5) years of earned service credit
- Tier 2 = Hired after July 1, 2013 or previously contributed and pulled all funds from PERA; are vested as follows:
- General Members- non- public safety employees (State General and Municipal General Members) are vested after earning eight (8) years of service credit.
- Public Safety members are vested after earning six years of service credit.
Employees may be eligible to retire early by using their accumulated sick and vacation leave prior to their PERA retirement date. Any accumulated leave other than sick and vacation are not eligible to be used in Early Retirement. Employees that have entered Early Retirement are not afforded any salary increases which are awarded to City Employees. Contact the Insurance & Benefits Office for additional information.
Retirement Seminar Information
Every other month the Insurance & Benefits Division of Human Resources holds a half-day Retirement Seminar for employees considering retirement within the next three years. Presenters include representatives from:
- Social Security Administration
- NM Retiree Health Care Authority
- Retired Public Employees of New Mexico
- Retirement Seminar Calendar 2015
There are several necessary steps to complete the retirement process with the City of Albuquerque. Once the decision is made to retire, employees should visit the PERA Albuquerque satellite office to begin the process. Every retirement is individual to each person. There are different service credit markers that must be in place to become a PERA retiree. PERA has a website (RIO) Retirement Information Online, where a member can monitor their retirement account. This site also provides tools to project estimated benefits and the estimated cost of purchasing service credit. When you become a member of PERA, please visit the RIO website and open an account.
Once you have submitted your retirement packet to the PERA Albuquerque satellite office, and received either a date-stamped copy of your application, or a retirement letter from PERA in the mail, call the Insurance & Benefits office to schedule an appointment with an Insurance & Benefits Specialist. The City of Albuquerque requires a potential retiree to schedule this appointment 60-90 days in advance of the retirement date. A Specialist will assist and process your retirement from the City of Albuquerque. City of Albuquerque retirees are given a life insurance policy from the City of Albuquerque. By completing the retirement process with our office, the Retiree Life insurance is put in place.
The City of Albuquerque also allows retirees to defer any sick and vacation balances into a deferred compensation account. This allows the dollar amount of the leave balances to be tax deferred. A retiree must contact a deferred compensation representative prior to retirement to defer any leave balances.