Ready to Retire

If you are within three years of retirement eligibility, below are some resources to help you navigate through the retirement process. It can be a nerve-wracking decision, but PERA is here to make sure you have a smooth transition into retirement.

  • What You Need to Know
    • Estimate of Benefits

      When you are within 3 years of retirement eligibility you can request two estimates of benefits in a 12-month period, which can provide you with your first eligible retirement date and what you will receive in retirement. You can also request other dates. You will need to submit a PERA Request form and request an Estimate of Benefits, which is the second option on the form. On that line, you can type/write for example: first eligible, a specific date, a certain percentage, a certain number of birthdays, etc. You can submit your request form by email, fax, in-person, upload to your RIO Self-Service account, or by mail and you’ll receive an estimate within 60 business days. You can also receive an estimate by logging into your PERA RIO Self Service account and use the estimate of benefits calculator.

      A member’s base monthly benefit is calculated using the following statutorily defined formula, not what you have contributed during your PERA career:

      Years of Service Credit x Pension Factor (s) x Final Average Salary = Gross Monthly Benefit

      Starting the Retirement Process

      If you are within a year of retirement eligibility, you will want to review PERA’s Retirement Kit and learn more about how to retire from PERA. In this kit, you will learn more about the information necessary to complete the retirement process.

      When you are within 6 months of retirement eligibility, you will need to submit PERA’s Application for Pension. You will find instructions for each section of the Application for Pension so that you are fully knowledgeable about your retirement options. PERA asks that you submit your Application for Pension no earlier than six (6) months and no later than sixty  (60) calendar days from your effective date of retirement.

      If you have a PERA SmartSave Deferred Compensation Plan, you will need to find out what withdrawal options are available to you (monthly, annually, etc.) since you cannot contribute pension income to this tax-deferred plan.

      Health Care In Retirement

      Health care costs and recent New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority’s rule changes could impact the timing of your retirement. As a PERA retiree, you may have access to several health care coverage options available through the New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority. PERA encourages retirees to consider all health care plans, including those outside of the New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority, to find the plan that works best for you.

      If you have questions about Medicare, reach out to the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at 1-800-432-2080 or

      Working After Retirement

      If you’re planning on returning to work post-retirement, be aware of the working after retirement rules if you work for a PERA or New Mexico Educational Retirement Board (ERB) employer after retiring. If you work for an employer not covered under PERA or ERB, these rules don’t apply. View page 37 of PERA’s Member Handbook for more information. 

  • Next Steps
    • Be Informed

      After reviewing your Estimate of Benefits, attend a PERA Retirement Seminar to help you create an action plan for your last year before retirement, walk you through the application process, and cover other items you’ll need to know as you take this important step on your PERA journey.

      Visit PERA’s Video Library to view our PERA Retirement Seminar and other retirement preparation videos.

      Review the PERA Retirement Kit and submit your Application for Pension and required documentation to PERA. Once you submit this information, PERA’s retirement specialists will begin auditing your account. They will review all of your PERA career information and provide you with an acknowledgement letter if everything is received and completed. This letter will confirm your effective retirement date and will be mailed out within 7-10 days of receipt of your application.

      One to two months before your effective retirement date, PERA will send you a preliminary estimate of benefits by mail. One to two weeks prior to your effective retirement date, our retirement specialists will reach out to your employer for certification of final wages/date of separation. It is your responsibility to notify your employer of your retirement. This is the only time PERA will reach out to your employer.

      The majority of our affiliated employers pay into Social Security. As you plan for retirement contact them to see what benefits you may be eligible for.


      After all of the final processing is done, PERA’s retirement specialists will place you on payroll. Please keep in mind, you will always receive your monthly benefit on the last business day of the month by direct deposit. For example, if your effective retirement date is July 1st, you will receive your monthly benefit on the last business day of July.  Members with reciprocal Educational Retirement Board (ERA) service credit will receive a separate payment for the ERB portion of their benefits.

      PERA’s retirement specialists will also mail you an award letter when you are placed on payroll, which occurs during the same week you receive your monthly benefit, which occurs on the last business day of the month.

      Congratulations on your retirement! You have worked hard for this benefit so enjoy it! 

  • When to Contact PERA
    • If you have questions as you get closer to your effective retirement date, you can contact PERA Toll-Free at 1 (800) 342-3422 or you can email PERA at

      You can submit any forms or documentation to PERA by email, fax, mail, upload to your RIO-Self Service account, or in-person. There are also secure drop off boxes located in front of our Santa Fe & Albuquerque Offices. 

  • Additional Resources