FAQs

Q: My statement does not reflect my current/preferred beneficiary. How do I correct this?

A: To update your beneficiary designation with PERA, please complete and submit a Beneficiary Designation form which is available here. It is important to note that if this change is the result of marriage, PERA will also require a copy of your marriage certificate. If this change is the result of a divorce, you will need to include a copy of your court-endorsed final decree, marital settlement agreement, and any order related to your retirement benefits. If you are married and wish to name someone other than your spouse, your spouse must sign the Beneficiary Spousal Consent form (available here) in the presence of a notary.

Q: My name has changed/ is different from the name reflected on my statement. How do I update my PERA records?

A: To update your name in PERA’s system, please complete and submit a Change in PERA Records form which is available here . PERA’s Records Division may also require a copy of your Driver’s License and Social Security card reflecting you have updated your name with the respective government agencies.

Q: My wages do not match my W-2 form. Why?

A: PERA’s wages and contributions are reported based on pay period end dates and are reflected on a fiscal year basis not a calendar year basis.

Q: I am missing service credit. How do I resolve this matter?

A: If you worked for PERA in the past and refunded/withdrew your contributions, you also forfeited the related service credit. You are eligible to pay to reinstate the missing service credit. Please contact PERA to learn more.

If you received more than one annual member statement, please contact PERA. Regardless of where a member is employed under any of PERA’s 31 plans, the member’s participation is recorded based on the employee’s Social Security number.

If you were employed as a temporary, seasonal, part-time (less than 20 hours per week), or excluded employee you were not eligible to participate in PERA.

Q: How do I obtain more information about my SmartSave Deferred Compensation account?

A: You can login into your SmartSave account here. Your deferred compensation account allows you to access your:

  • Account Balance
  • Account Activity
  • Balance History
  • Rate of Return
  • Update Contributions
  • Fund Allocation
  • Quarterly Statements
  • Beneficiary Information

Q: How do I find out how much money I have in my PERA account? Are the employer contributions included?

A: You may obtain your account balance in two ways: 1) Log into your RIO Account and view your account information 24/7; or 2) Call 1-800-342-3422 and follow the instructions on the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system or stay on the line and speak to a PERA Customer Service Representative.

The employer contributions are not included in your account balance because by statute, employer contributions stay in the PERA Fund and are used for investments and to pay costs to the fund.

Q: If I notify my employer of my new address, do I need to also notify PERA?

A: Yes, PERA's database is separate from your employer's database. It is the member's responsibility to notify PERA of any personal information that has changed. If your address, name, or marital status has changed, please complete and submit a PERA Change In Records form. As an active member, if your refund and/or survivor beneficiary has changed, please complete and submit a Beneficiary Designation form. Both forms can be found here.

Q: What is the difference between a refund beneficiary and a survivor beneficiary?

A: You may designate only one person or one organization as a refund beneficiary and only one person as a survivor beneficiary. The refund beneficiary and the survivor beneficiary can be the same person.

The refund beneficiary designation is very important if you have not vested. If you die before you are vested and your death is not duty-related, your employee contributions plus interest are paid in a lump sum to your designated refund beneficiary. If you do not designate a refund beneficiary, your member contributions will be paid to your estate.

The survivor beneficiary designation becomes effective after you have become vested or if you die from duty-related causes before being vested. Survivor pension amounts vary for non-duty-related and duty-related deaths.

Q: I am getting ready to retire. Why do I have to provide PERA with a certified copy of my divorce decree and marital settlement agreement? The divorce occurred a long time ago. Why does it matter now?

A: New Mexico is a community property state and PERA needs to make sure there are no legal claims against your retirement benefits before your benefits begin. Plus, it is for your protection so no one can make a claim against your pension or your survivor's pension at a later date because PERA has already established that you are solely entitled to your retirement benefits.

Q: I'm getting ready to retire. What do I need to do?

A: We advise you to login to your RIO account and contact PERA to verify you are retirement eligible. Please review PERA's Retirement Kit, which can be found here. The kit contains guidance and a list of required documentation that need to be submitted along with your kit. We advise members to submit their kit and required documentation no less than 60 days but no more than 6 months ahead of their effective retirement date. You can submit the above by mail or to noreply.records@state.nm.us

You are more than welcome to call and speak with a PERA Customer Service Representative to go over your kit. You may also email PERA-memberservices@state.nm.us if you have any questions or need assistance.

Please view "How to Retire from PERA" here.

Q: I have time with ERB so what does that mean as I am currently employed with a PERA-affiliated employer?

A: Service credit earned under the Educational Retirement Board (ERB) may be combined toward retirement eligibility and used to calculate pension benefits. The service credit earned under each system, however, will be calculated using the formula for that system. Because there may be different age and service requirements for each of the different plans and tiers, you may not receive your combined pension amount when you retire from PERA. When you qualify to receive the reciprocal portion, the increase will be included in your pension benefit.

Members with reciprocal service credit apply for and retire under the state system of their last employer. So, if you worked for an Educational Retirement Board (ERB) employer in the past and are now working for a PERA employer, you will retire under PERA.

Q: If I leave my job in the middle of the month when would my retirement date become effective?

A: To earn service credit during your last month of employment you must remain on payroll through the 15th day of the month. Your retirement becomes effective the first of the month following receipt of your completed and submitted Retirement Kit, required documentation, termination of employment with all PERA affiliated employers and determination by PERA that you have successfully met all eligibility requirements and conditions. PERA does not retire members in the middle of the month.