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Edit by LM 4/29/22 Not Apprvd


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.

HRA Eligibility

  • 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.

Plan Expenses

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

Asset Allocation

  • 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:

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

Empower Retirement is the contract record keeper for the PERS TRS DCR Plan. They process all payments for the DCR plan, the Supplemental Annuity (SBS-AP) plan and Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP).

  • Account: akDRB.com
  • Outside Anchorage: (800) 526-0560
  • Local to Anchorage: (907) 276-1500
  • Call Center: (800) 232-0859
  • TTY: (800) 766-4952
  • Hours: Mon-Fri: 4 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sat: 5 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Alaska Time
  • Email:
  • PIN: Request a PIN

Automated Functions

  • 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).

Page Last Modified: 05/16/22 11:36:22

© State of Alaska || || drb.alaska.gov

DCR FAQs

How can I determine my current account balance?

Your account balance, as well as your account activity, is included in your quarterly statement. You may also check your account balance between statements by calling KeyTalk at (800) 232-0859 or by using your PIN to access the information on this site.

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What do I do with my account once I leave PERS or TRS service?

You are not required to remove your funds from the plan once you terminate employment. You may continue managing your account until a future date of your choosing. If you elect to withdraw your account, you may choose between several options. You may elect:

  • to rollover the amount to another qualified plan without tax consequences; or
  • choose a lump sum payout (See "Taxes and Penalties" section); or
  • a monthly annuity for a defined period (5, 10 or 15 years); or
  • a monthly annuity for your lifetime; or
  • a joint and survivor lifetime annuity.
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How do I start benefit payments from my PERS/TRS DCR account?

First, you must be terminated from employment. Then, you must submit an application for payment on the PERS/TRS DCR Distribution Request form. On the form, you can choose to be paid now or to defer payment to a future date.

The date of payment depends on when the Distribution Request is received. Generally, lump-sum payments are paid within 65 to 80 days after termination. Continuing annuity payments usually begin on the first day of the month following the month in which your 60-day waiting period ends.

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Do I have to submit a Distribution Request form if I do not want to be paid now?

If you are age 65 or greater and terminate employment you need to submit a Distribution Request form to defer payment to a later date, not later than April 1 of the year following the year in which you turn 70-1/2 years of age.

If you are under age 65, you do not need to submit a Distribution Request form until you are ready to begin receiving payments.

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Why does my spouse have to submit a waiver when I request payment of my PERS/TRS DCR plan as a lump sum?

Your PERS/TRS DCR plan account is considered marital property subject to equitable division in the event of a divorce or dissolution. Contributions and earning you have accumulated during your marriage are considered to be one-half the property of your spouse.

When you choose any option other than the 50% or 100% joint and survivor option with your spouse as a survivor, your spouse must consent to this choice by signing a Distribution Request form.

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If I have been involved in divorce, dissolution, or legal separation, do I have to submit proof of these circumstances before I can receive payment of my PERS/DCR plan account?

Yes. Because the contributions and earning you have accumulated during your marriage are considered to be one-half the property of your spouse, the plan cannot pay you the funds until the status of your spouse's entitlement is clear. You are required to submit a court-certified copy of the divorce decree or dissolution to the plan for review. If you have been released through the divorce or dissolution, a review of the property settlement will indicate the status of your ex-spouse's share of your account.

If your ex-spouse has retained ownership of his or her share after the divorce or dissolution, the plan requires a domestic relations order (DRO) issued by the court be filed prior to any payments being made from your account. Plan staff will review the DRO to determine if it meets the requirements set out by the statutes governing the plan. If it does, it will then be qualified and the plan will implement the order.

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What additional types of documents might be required before payments can begin?

Depending on the payout form you select, you may be required to provide proof of birth date for yourself as well as your designated spouse and a copy of your marriage certificate.

A birth certificate, baptismal record, military discharge, Alaska driver's license, or a passport are acceptable forms of proof of birth.

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Can I receive payment of my PERS/TRS DCR Plan account if I am laid off?

Yes, if you have been separated from employment.

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What is a beneficiary designation?

A beneficiary designation is a form on which you indicate who is to receive any benefits you may be entitled to from the PERS/TRS DCR Plan should you die before drawing your benefits out of the plan.

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I understand my spouse is automatically (50%) my primary designated beneficiary. What do I do if I want to elect someone else as primary?

If you wish to elect another person as your primary beneficiary (50% or greater), your spouse must provide written consent on the PERS/TRS DCR Plan Beneficiary Designation for Active and Deferred Participants form. Consent is not required if you were married for less than one year and you and your spouse were not living together when the designation was changed.

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My spouse and I have divorced. I still wish to have my ex-spouse as my primary beneficiary. Can I do this?

Yes. Since a divorce, dissolution or annulment voids any prior beneficiary designations you have made, you must file a new beneficiary designation after the divorce, dissolution, or annulment specifically affirming in writing that your former spouse is the primary beneficiary.

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I am a single parent and want to leave my account to my minor children. How can I do this?

If your account exceeds $5,000, the plan must make the payment to an adult member of the minor's family who is a court-appointed guardian, a person having custody and care of the minor or a financial institution with a federally insured savings account in the sole name of the minor. A conservatorship must be established for the minor before payments can be made.

If your account is less than $5,000, the plan may make payments without a conservatorship to the court-appointed guardian or person having custody and care of the minor or a financial institution with a federally insured savings account in the sole name of the minor.

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What happens if I don't file a beneficiary designation?

When you fail to designate a beneficiary or, if no designated beneficiary survives you, the death benefit will be paid according to statute in the following order:

  • First to your surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse;
  • second to your surviving children in equal parts. If there are no surviving children;
  • third to your surviving parents in equal parts or, if there are no surviving parents;
  • fourth to your estate.
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I want to designate a trust as my beneficiary. Can I do this?

Yes. When an estate or trust is the beneficiary, a copy of the court document naming the personal representative of the estate or trustee of the trust must be filed with the plan along with the beneficiary designation form. The estate or trust must have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the federal government before payment may be made.

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How many times may I change my beneficiary?

There is no limit to the number of times you can change who is to receive your benefits in the event of your death. The last beneficiary designation on file is the one the plan will use to determine who should receive your benefits. Please be sure to keep your beneficiary's contact information up-to-date or to change your beneficiary if you have a change in marital status.

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How much does my employer contribute to my account?

For PERS members, your employer contributes 5% of your gross eligible PERS salary to your account.

For TRS members, your employer contributes 7% of your gross eligible TRS salary to your account.

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How much do I contribute to my account?

Both PERS and TRS members contribute 8% of gross eligible salary to the defined contribution account.

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Can I make additional contributions to my account?

No. The PERS/TRS DCR Plan does not allow additional voluntary contributions.

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Who determines if my death is from occupational causes?

To qualify as an occupational death, the proximate cause of death must be a bodily injury sustained or a hazard undergone while in the performance and within the scope you're your duties and not be the result of negligence on your part. A copy of your death certificate showing cause of death is usually sufficient to show your death was caused by an occupational injury or accident while you were conducting the usual duties of your job. To establish an occupational cause for illness may require additional medical documentation confirming causation.

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What is the difference between benefits that are available to my spouse, if I am married, or to my nonspouse beneficiary, if I am not married, at the time of my death?

Beneficiaries are only eligible to receive the balance of your retirement account, including gains and losses, less expenses.

A surviving spouse is eligible to receive a monthly survivor benefit of 40% of your monthly gross compensation at the time of your death or 50% of your monthly gross compensation if you are a peace officer/firefighter member until the time you would have reached eligibility for normal retirement.

Your employer will also continue to make monthly contributions based on your salary at the time of your death to a survivor account established for your surviving spouse in the occupational death fund. At normal retirement, your survivor may withdraw the balance of this account, including gains and losses, less expenses. This fund is invested by the plan fund managers while the survivor benefit is being paid.

While your surviving spouse is receiving monthly survivor benefits, he or she may not withdraw your DCR retirement account balance. However, your surviving spouse will be able to direct the investment of the account among the ten available options.

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Who determines if I qualify for an occupational disability retirement benefit?

A consulting physician will review your medical documentation and make a recommendation to the PERS/TRS DCR plan Administrator. The Administrator will then review your file and the consulting physician's recommendation to determine if you qualify for a disability retirement benefit. If you are approved for a benefit, you will be notified by phone, followed up by a letter.

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What happens if I'm not approved?

If the Administrator determines you do not qualify for a disability retirement benefit, you may appeal the decision to the Office of Administrative Hearings within 30 days of notification of the denial for benefits. You may also submit additional medical evidence to the Administrator for review.

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Do I have to terminate employment before applying for disability benefits?

No, you do not need to terminate employment before applying for a disability benefit. However, if your disability benefit is approved, you must terminate within 30 days of the Administrator's decision. Your termination of employment must be due to the medical condition causing your disability.

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How do I apply for disability benefits?

You contact the Division of Retirement and Benefits for an application packet. You will receive a booklet that gives you step-by-step information on how to apply and what types of documentation must be submitted. You must submit your application to the division within 90 days after termination of employment if you have already terminated. Remember, you do not have to terminate before you can apply. If you miss the 90-day deadline, please contact the division for assistance.

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How long does it take to find out if you're approved or not?

In general, disability applications take six to eight weeks to process. It can take longer if you do not provide adequate medical documentation or other required information to support your application. It is your responsibility to provide complete information to the division so a determination can be made.

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Will I be eligible for medical coverage while I am receiving disability benefits?

No. Coverage under the retiree medical plan is not available to any participants before eligibility for normal retirement. However, medical coverage can be provided for a limited period by using the federal COBRA entitlement to purchase continuing coverage from your employer health plan as a person losing coverage. Coverage for your disabling condition may be provided by Workers' Compensation. You will be eligible to enroll in the retiree medical plan when you reach normal retirement eligibility.

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What happens if I return to work?

Disability benefits are intended to provide a means of economic survival if you must terminate your employment because of a total and presumably permanent disability. The program is not intended to supplement your income if you should recover from your disability and are able to return to work. If you return to work, you should contact the division immediately.

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When can I receive payment of my PERS/TRS DCR account?

You are eligible to receive payment of your account 60 days after you have been terminated from employment. If you are rehired 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.

This 60-day period is established in the Alaska Statutes. The only exception is a qualified hardship (see question 50). Actual payment mailing occurs after you have been terminated 60 days.

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Can I receive payment of my PERS/TRS DCR account if I am laid off?

Yes, if you have been separated from service.

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Can I "pay back" money previously paid out from my PERS/TRS DCR plan account?

No. Money previously withdrawn cannot be re-deposited into your account. Once you have requested payment of the account and the 60-day waiting period has passed and the payment has been issued, the account cannot be reinstated.

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How do I start benefit payments from my PERS/TRS DCR account?

First, you must be terminated from employment. Then, you must submit an application for payment on the PERS/TRS DCR Distribution Request form. On the form, you can choose to be paid now or to defer payment to a future date.

The date of payment depends on when the Distribution Request is received. Generally, lump-sum payments are paid within 65 to 80 days after termination. Continuing annuity payments usually begin on the first day of the month following the month in which your 60-day waiting period ends.

Learn More
Do I have to submit a Distribution Request form if I do not want to be paid now?

If you are age 65 or greater and terminate employment you need to submit a Distribution Request form to defer payment to a later date, not later than April 1 of the year following the year in which you turn 70 1/2 years of age.

If you are under age 65, you do not need to submit a Distribution Request form until you are ready to begin receiving payments.

Learn More
Why does my spouse have to submit a waiver when I request payment of my PERS/TRS DCR plan as a lump sum?

Your PERS/TRS DCR plan account is considered marital property subject to equitable division in the event of a divorce or dissolution. Contributions and earning you have accumulated during your marriage are considered to be one-half the property of your spouse.

When you choose any option other than the 50% or 100% joint and survivor option with your spouse as a survivor, your spouse must consent to this choice by signing a Distribution Request form.

Learn More
If I have been involved in divorce, dissolution, or legal separation, do I have to submit proof of these circumstances before I can receive payment of my PERS/DCR plan account?

Yes. Because the contributions and earning you have accumulated during your marriage are considered to be one-half the property of your spouse, the plan cannot pay you the funds until the status of your spouse's entitlement is clear. You are required to submit a court-certified copy of the divorce decree or dissolution to the plan for review. If you have been released through the divorce or dissolution, a review of the property settlement will indicate the status of your ex-spouse's share of your account.

If your ex-spouse has retained ownership of his or her share after the divorce or dissolution, the plan requires a domestic relations order (DRO) issued by the court be filed prior to any payments being made from your account. Plan staff will review the DRO to determine if it meets the requirements set out by the statutes governing the plan. If it does, it will then be qualified and the plan will implement the order.

Learn More
What additional types of documents might be required before payments can begin?

Depending on the payout form you select, you may be required to provide proof of birth date for yourself as well as your designated spouse, a copy of your marriage certificate.

A birth certificate, baptismal record, military discharge or a passport are acceptable forms of proof of birth.

Learn More
Employee FAQs