In the SERS defined benefit pension plan, your benefit is defined by a calculation that considers your years of service and salary. Your benefit grows each year based on an annual benefit accrual rate and, when you retire, is paid to you in equal monthly payments for your lifetime. In this type of plan, the majority of the investment risk is on the plan provider – your employer – and the assets are managed centrally and professionally.
You and your employer make mandatory contributions to your pension each pay day. The amounts are set by law in the State Employees’ Retirement Code and are generally fixed with the exception of a shared-risk/shared-gain provision on your contribution. If SERS investments fail to achieve the assumed rate of return over a number of years; or conversely, if SERS investments outperform the assumed rate of return over a number of years, your contribution rate could change by no more than 3% over the base rate for your class of service.
You are eligible for monthly pension payments, or “vested,” after working ten years.
This plan includes a disability retirement benefit that provides monthly pension payments, and for those employees under the Governor’s jurisdiction and most independent employers, majority state-paid retiree health insurance for the term of your disability retirement benefit.
This plan also provides you with the opportunity to purchase certain prior military, educational or state service toward your SERS pension. It also provides you with the opportunity to combine service that you have earned in the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ System with the service you earn in SERS toward one payment.
You can stay up-to-date with the latest SERS happenings by signing up for email updates. You tell us what kind of information you're interested in and we'll send updates according to your preferences.
|Recent Active Employee Updates||Recent Retiree Updates|
Twice a year we send our members a short newsletter with important news, tips, and reminders.
|Spring/Summer 2019||Fall/Winter 2019|
|Spring/Summer 2018||Fall/Winter 2018|
|Spring/Summer 2017||Fall/Winter 2017|
|Spring/Summer 2016||Fall/Winter 2016|
|Spring/Summer 2014||Fall/Winter 2015|
These documents have been prepared to address some of the more common questions that arise among SERS members. They are updated from time-to-time and new ones are created as necessary. If you have a specific question, please call your counseling center at 1.800.633.5461.
Features and Highlights
Guide for Retiring Members (for members hired before 1/1/19)
Disability Retirement Guide (for members hired before 1/1/19)
Guide to Your SERS-Issued 1099-R Tax Form
Annual SERS Retirement Statement
If you are working for a SERS-participating employer and contributing to the Defined Benefit Plan (pension plan), we will send you an annual statement that provides a snapshot of your pension benefit as of December 31. It lists the service credit you earned, contributions you made, and interest you earned on your contributions during the year and over the course of your membership in the pension system. If you are eligible for monthly pension payments, or “vested,” you will see pension estimates calculated to several payment options.
Appeals to the State Employees' Retirement Board
Deferring Your Pension
Frozen Present Value
Purchase of Service
Refund Procedures for Leaving State Service
Social Security Integration Coverage for SERS Members
State Police Officer Retirement Benefits
A fact sheet that includes up-to-date information on the number of SERS members, benefits, contributions, funded status, and more.
A graphic detailing the total annual retirement benefits paid to residents in each Pennsylvania county and out of state.