Public employee pension plans in the United States
In the United States, public sector pensions are offered by federal, state and local levels of government. They are available to most, but not all, public sector employees. These employer contributions to these plans typically vest after some period of time. These plans may be defined-benefit or defined-contribution pension plans, but the former have been most widely used by public agencies in the U.S. throughout the late twentieth century. Some local governments do not offer defined-benefit pensions but may offer a defined contribution plan. In many states, public employee pension plans are known as Public Employee Retirement Systems (PERS).
Unlike the private sector, in the public sector once an employee is hired their pension benefit terms cannot be changed. Retirement age in the public sector is usually lower than in the private sector. Public pension plan managers in the United States take higher risks investing the funds than ones outside the united States or those in the private sector.
Public pensions got their start with various promises, informal and legislated, made to veterans of the Revolutionary War and, more extensively, the Civil War. They were expanded greatly, and began to be offered by a number of state and local governments during the early Progressive Era in the late nineteenth century.
Federal civilian pensions were offered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), formed in 1920. CSRS provided retirement, disability and survivor benefits for most civilian employees in the federal government, until the creation of a new federal agency, the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), in 1987.
- Federal Employees Retirement System - covers approximately 2.44 million full-time civilian employees (as of Dec 2005).
Retired pay for U.S. Armed Forces retirees is, strictly speaking, not a pension but instead is a form of retainer pay. U.S. military retirees do not vest into a retirement system while they are on active duty; eligibility for non-disability retired pay is solely based upon time in service. Unlike other retirees, U.S. military retirees are subject to involuntary recall to active duty at any time, though the likelihood of such a recall is remote, especially after age 60. In 2008, there were 1,983,467 retired military in the US. There were 856,677 receiving military pensions, the remainder carrying their longevity into federal civil service positions.
- Alaska - Alaska Retirement System
- Alabama - Retirement Systems of Alabama
- Arizona - Arizona State Retirement System and Public Safety Personnel Retirement System of Arizona
- Arkansas - Arkansas currently has six retirement systems which cover most employees at the state and local level: Judicial Retirement, Public Employees Retirement, State Highway Employees Retirement, State Police Retirement, District Judges Retirement and Teacher Retirement.
- California - CalPERS (California Public Employees' Retirement System), CalSTRS (California State Teachers' Retirement System)
- Colorado - Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association
- Connecticut - Connecticut Teachers' Retirement Board
- Florida - State Board of Administration of Florida (SBA), see external SBA homepage
- Illinois - State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS)
- Maine - Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS)
- Massachusetts Massachusetts State Board of Retirement
- Minnesota - Public Employees Retirement Association of Minnesota, see external PERA homepage
- Nevada - Public Employees' Retirement System of Nevada
- New Hampshire - New Hampshire Retirement System
- New Mexico - Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico, see external PERA homepage
- New York - New York State and Local Retirement System, New York State Local Police and Fire Retirement System, New York State Teachers' Retirement System
- Ohio - Ohio Public Employees Retirement System,
- Oklahoma - Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System
- Oregon - Oregon Public Employees Retirement System
- Pennsylvania - State Employees' Retirement System and Public School Employees' Retirement System
- Texas - Employees Retirement System of Texas, see external ERS homepage
- Utah - Utah Retirement Systems
- Wisconsin - Wisconsin Dept of Employee Trust Funds
|This section requires expansion. (October 2008)|
Many U.S. cities are allowed to participate in the pension plans of their states; some of the largest have their own pension plans. The total number of local government employees in the United States as of 2002 is 13.2 million. There are 10.15 million full-time and 3.13 million part-time local-government civilian employees as of 2002.
|This section requires expansion. (June 2008)|
- Political divisions of the United States
- States of the United States related lists
- Retirement plans in the United States
- Social Security Administration
- Federal, State, and Local Governments - Main Page
- "Retired Military Personnel". Patrick Air Force Base, Florida: The Intercom (publication of the Military Officers Association of Cape Canaveral). June 2009. p. 4.
- Compendium of Public Employment: 2002
- http://www.arkansas.gov/dfa/budget/ documents/retirement_systems_05_07.doc
- Public Employees' Retirement System of Nevada
- Employment of Major Local Governments
- U.S. Census Bureau page for local government
- Directory of state pension executives
- Public employee retirement systems
- Overview of Pension Crises
- Alaska state retirement system
- Alabama state retirement system
- Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System
- Arkansas Teacher Retirement System
- Arkansas State Highway Employees Retirement System
- California CalPERS
- Maine Public Employees Retirement System
- Colorado PERA
- Delaware Office of Pensions
- Wisconsin Dept of Employee Trust Funds
-  Connecticut retirement system
- Ohio Public Employee Retirement System
- Utah Retirement Systems