Edit by LM 8/4/22
PERS & TRS Defined Contribution Retirement Plan
Retirement information for the PERS and TRS DCR plan.
Effective as of January 1,
All employees that enter service with a Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) or Teachers Retirement System (TRS) employer after June 30, 2006 for the first time are automatically entered into the DCR Plan.
The Alaska PERS and TRS Defined Contribution Retirement plan (DCR plan) is a defined contribution plan governed by Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. A portion of your wages and a matching employer contribution are made to this Plan before tax. These contributions plus any change in value (interest, gains and losses), and minus any Plan administrative fees or other charges, are payable to you or your beneficiary at a future date. The Plan is a participant-directed plan with investment options offered by the Plan. The providers of these investment options were selected by the Alaska Retirement Management (ARM) Board.
The PERS and TRS DCR plan is a hybrid plan. This plan includes the defined contribution retirement account and benefits that are traditionally associated with defined benefit retirement plans, such as occupational death and disability benefits and retiree medical insurance. Also included in the plan is a separate Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) account that will help retired members pay medical premiums and other eligible medical expenses not covered by the medical plan.
Each pay period, 8% of your gross eligible compensation is contributed to your retirement account through payroll deductions before it is taxed.
If you are a PERS participant, your employer will contribute an additional 5% of your gross eligible compensation to your retirement account. The total employee and employer contribution is 13% of your gross eligible salary.
If you are a TRS participant, your employer will contribute an additional 7% of your gross eligible compensation to your retirement account. The total employee and employer contribution is 15% of your gross eligible salary.
A comprehensive statement of your account will be mailed to you each quarter. If you prefer not to have your statements mailed, you can sign up to use the Online File Cabinet® for your account at the Empower Retirement Services website.
Members are 100% vested with their contributions plus the earnings they generate from the moment they are made. There is a vesting schedule for the employer’s contributions and associated earnings. Members vest in the employer contributions on a schedule that equals 100 percent vesting with five years of service. The schedule is as follows:
- 1 year of service = 0% vested of contributions.
- 2 year of service = 25% vested of contributions.
- 3 year of service = 50% vested of contributions.
- 4 year of service = 75% vested of contributions.
- 5 year of service = 100% vested of contributions.
Eligibility For Coverage Under the DCR Retiree Health Plan
A member is eligible to elect coverage under the AlaskaCare DCR Retiree Health Plan if he or she retires directly from the DCR Plan, was an active member in the DCR Plan for at least 12 months immediately before his or her application for retirement, and:
- has at least 25 years of membership service as a peace officer or firefighter, or
- for any other employee, has at least 30 years of membership service, or
- Has at least 10 years of membership service and reaches Medicare age.
Benefit recipients who are eligible to be covered under the AlaskaCare DCR Retiree Health Plan may voluntarily elect coverage. The plan requires monthly premium payments.
DCR Health Premiums
Premiums may be paid by deductions from your Health Reimbursment Account (HRA). If you are not eligible for Medicare, you must pay the full monthly premium for the coverage elected under the DCR Retiree Health Plan. If you are eligible for Medicare, you must pay a percentage of the monthly premium for coverage elected under the medical plan, as follows:
- 30 percent if the member had 10 or more, but less than 15, years of service;
- 25 percent if the member had 15 or more, but less than 20, years of service;
- 20 percent if the member had 20 or more, but less than 25, years of service;
- 15 percent if the member had 25 or more, but less than 30, years of service; and
- 10 percent if the member had 30 or more years of service.
If eligible to elect coverage under the DCR Retiree Health Plan then a member is eligible to elect Dental-Vision-Audio (DVA) and or Long-term Care (LTC) coverage at retirement. All members who elect DVA and or LTC pay the full premium for the coverage.
The DCR Plan Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) is a separate account that your employer contributes to while you are employed to reimburse all or a portion of your out-of-pocket qualified medical expenses for you when you are eligible for benefits. Can be used to reimburse for:
- reimburse participants for insurance premium payments for health care insurance premiums not paid by your plan.
- participants for prescription medication, but not over-the-counter drugs.
Employers will contribute 3% of the annual average employee compensation of all PERS and TRS participants to the account. No contributions are made by the participant.
- A terminated participant who is eligible for Medicare and has 10 years of service
- A participant who has at least 25 years of membership service as a peace officer or firefighter or at least 30 years of membership service for all other employees
- A participant does not have to retire directly from the plan to be eligible for the HRA
- An eligible participant can use the HRA even if not participating in the Retiree Health plan
To discuss your eligibility, coverage options, and premiums, and/or make your elections for medical, DVA, LTC and HRA, and/or for an overview of your investment accounts and options, please schedule an appointment with a retirement counselor using our online scheduler or call (800) 821-2251.
There are no front-end loads for investments. Expenses are charged to your account in order to cover the cost of Plan administration.
There are two types of fees: a monthly fee based on a 0.11% annual rate on assets (0.0011 / 12 x month-end asset balance) and a fixed annual fee of $35 for actively contributing participants, or $25 for non-contributing members. This fee is charged to your account each July. The plan may also charge fees associated with MyTotal Retirement Services elected by participants.
In addition, the funds have annual investment expenses that vary depending on the funds you choose. The returns are net of these costs. For more detailed information, please visit the Empower Retirement Services website.
The amount of taxes you pay, and when you pay them, is determined by whether you take payment directly or make a rollover to a traditional IRA or other qualified plan. Your payment will be taxed in the current year unless you roll it over. However, if you receive a lump-sum payment before age 59½, you also may have to pay an additional 10% tax penalty. Direct transfers to Roth IRAs are reported as taxable income but are not subject to the additional 10% tax penalty.
The DCR plan is a participant-directed plan. This means that you choose from the investment options offered by the Plan. The providers of these investment options were selected by the ARM Board. Investment options are described in detail in the Plan Information Booklet and in the individual Fund Overviews, which are available on the Empower Retirement Services website by selecting "Investment information" under the "Investing" menu.
Initially, your contributions to the Plan are automatically invested in one of the Alaska Target Retirement Trust funds or Alaska Balanced Trust funds based on your year of birth. This is the default option. You can move all or a portion of your existing balances among investment options and change how your contributions are invested. You may transfer among existing fund options and make changes to the allocation of your future contributions once a day. There is no extra charge for daily changes. Funds may impose redemption fees, and/or transfer restrictions, on certain transfers, redemptions or exchanges if assets are held for less than the period stated in the fund’s prospectus or other disclosure documents. For more information visit the Empower Retirement System website or call Empower's call center toll-free. Until you change how your future contributions are allocated, your money will continue to be invested the intial trust fund. Changes may be made through Empower's website, or by telephone through a client service representative, or in writing
Existing Investment Funds
The Plan provides for twenty-seven investment alternatives. Carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, fees and expenses of the annuity and/or the investment options. Contact Empower Retirement for a prospectus, a summary prospectus and disclosure document, as available, containing this information. Read them carefully before investing.
- U.S. Small-Cap Trust Fund
- International Equity Fund
- World Equity Ex-US Index Fund
- Russell 3000 Index Fund
- S&P 500® Index Fund
- Alaska Target Retirement 2065 Trust
- Alaska Target Retirement 2060 Trust
- Alaska Target Retirement 2055 Trust
- Alaska Target Retirement 2050 Trust
- Alaska Target Retirement 2045 Trust
- Alaska Target Retirement 2040 Trust
- Alaska Target Retirement 2035 Trust
- Alaska Target Retirement 2030 Trust
- Alaska Target Retirement 2025 Trust
- Alaska Target Retirement 2020 Trust
- Alaska Target Retirement 2015 Trust
- Alaska Target Retirement 2010 Trust
- Alaska Long-Term Balanced Trust
- Alaska Balanced Trust
- State Street Treasury Money Market Fund – Inst.
- Passive US Bond Index Fund
- Stable Value Fund
- JPMorgan SmartSpending 2015 R6
- JPMorgan SmartSpending 2020 R6
- Strategic Completion Fund
Funds may be withdrawn at once you have reached eligible retirement age in the event of:
- Leaving employment (including retirement)
- Death (after which your beneficiaries will take the withdrawal)
You are not eligible to receive payment from your account until 60 days after you have been terminated from employment. If you are re-hired before the 60-day period has passed, the withdrawal request will be canceled and a new 60-day period will begin at the next termination. Actual payment mailing occurs after you have been terminated 60 days and the Plan administrator approves your distribution. In the event of your death, funds will be available to your beneficiary. Your money remains invested until your account balance is zero.
Withdrawals are made directly to you or your beneficiary or to another qualified plan on your behalf at your direction. There are only three recognized exceptions that would allow your account to be paid directly to another person or agency other than yourself. They are:
- An IRS Lien for unpaid taxes
- A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) issued by a court of law
- An Order to Withhold and Deliver Property issued by the Child Support Services Division (CSSD)
After you have met the 60-day termination of employment requirement, you are eligible to apply your account balance to the payment option you choose. Payment options include:
- Do nothing and defer payment until you have obtained the age of Required Minimum Distribution
- Single life annuity
- Period certain annuity (five, 10 and 15 years)
- Single life with period certain annuity (10 or 15 years)
- Joint and survivor (50% or 100%; may be chosen only by members)
- Lump-sum payment (full or partial, allowed monthly)
- Direct rollover to a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or other qualified or eligible plan
- Period Payment Installments
- Current account balance
- Current interest rates
- Current unit values or share prices
- Current account balance by fund
- Current fund allocation
- Recent transaction history
- Change investment fund allocation
- Transfer among investment funds
- Rebalance portfolio
- Change a PIN
- Order a copy of existing PIN
The DCR Plan is a participant-directed plan. You choose from the investment options offered by the Plan. You can invest your contributions in any the following ways, depending on your knowledge and comfort level with researching and selecting investments.
My Total Retirement TM—with this service, AAG builds and manages a portfolio for you, based on your specific goals. AAG makes adjustments as you get closer to retirement and/or as you provide additional information when your financial picture changes. You have access to a team of investment adviser representatives to help answer your questions.
Online Advice—This online service provides fund specific recommendations to support you as you make your investment decisions. You select and implement your own retirement savings strategy. The service provides you with access to investment adviser representatives to answer your questions. Online Advice is available at no additional cost to you.
If you choose to have AAG manage your account for you, the annual Managed Account fee will be based on your account balance and deducted from your account on a quarterly basis, as follows:
- Less than $100,000 Participant account balance = 0.45% Annual fee.
- Next $150,000 Participant account balance = 0.35% Annual fee.
- Next $150,000 Participant account balance = 0.25% Annual fee.
- Greater than $400,000 Participant account balance = 0.15% Annual fee.
If your account balance subject to the Managed Account is $500,000, the first $100,000 will be subject to an annual fee of 0.45% (0.1125% quarterly); the next $150,000 will be subject to an annual fee of 0.35% (0.0875% quarterly); the next $150,000 will be subject to an annual fee of 0.25% (0.0625% quarterly); and any amounts over $400,000 will be subject to an annual fee of 0.15% (0.0375% quarterly).