FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

At its most basic level, participating in an optional retirement plan means voluntarily setting aside a portion of your paycheck and investing it in order to save for retirement.  These monies that you set aside are NOT taxed right now (leaving you with more to invest), and instead will be taxed when you withdraw them later for retirement.  Participating in the optional retirement program does not affect your regular PERA benefit.  Participating is optional and would be in addition to your required PERA contributions.

While this sounds simple, the various rules and options of participating can be complex.  We hope this site will be of some use in navigating the various issues and decisions you’ll face as you decide to participate!  To get started and learn about what is available to you, check out “Your Retirement Options as an Employee of St. Vrain Valley Schools.”


To sign up, please visit the following link: Sign Up for the PERAPlus 401(k) or 457(b) Plans

 


You can access your PERAPlus 401(k)/457(b) or Legacy SVVSD 403(b)/457(b) retirement funds in various ways:

Standard withdrawal provisions:
  • All 401(k) and 403(b) plans
    • Separate from service/retire
    • Attain age 59 1/2
    • Become Disabled
    • Death
  • All 457(b) plans
    • Separate from service/retire
    • Attain age 70 1/2
    • Death
Hardship/unforeseeable emergency withdrawal provisions:
Loan Provisions:

 

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The July 1, 2013 freezing of the District-sponsored 403(b) and 457(b) plans did not trigger a distributable event, so you may not rollover the balance of your old 403(b) or 457 account into PERAPlus (or anywhere else) unless you qualify under the standard withdrawal provisions above.

 


At this time, the District does not provide any matching funds for amounts you contribute to your optional retirement plan.

Unrelated to the optional retirement plans, the District does contribute an amount equivalent to more than 17% of your gross salary to help fund the regular PERA defined benefit system.  You are not directly entitled to these contributions, but they do indirectly benefit you by helping to fund retirement payments for current and future PERA retirees.


Those are the code sections in the IRS rules that allow PERA to operate these plans.  These are deferred compensation plans and are authorized under IRC (Internal Revenue Code) sections 401(k) and 457(b).

The most important thing to know is which one in which you are participating.  Technically, these are two separate plans.  You can contribute to either or both simultaneously.  The withdrawal rules (getting your money out!) are different between the two, and this can have a big impact on your future planning.  See the PERAPlus 401(k) vs. 457(b) Comparison Chart to learn more about the differences.


For 2015, the contributions limit is 18,000 for each of the PERAPlus 401(k) and 457(b) plans.

For information on other years’ 401(k) and 457(b) contribution limits, please visit the IRS website using this link, or the PERA website by using this link.

Please note that these limits are independent of each other, meaning you can contribute the max of each if you participate in both plans.

 


For information on Hardship Withdrawals, please visit the Hardship Withdrawals page.


While often referred to together, the PERAPlus 401(k) and 457(b) plans are actually two separate plans with separate contributions limits and different withdrawal rules.  Please see the PERAPlus 401(k) vs. 457(b) Comparison Chart for details on the differences between the two.


If you receive a regular paycheck as an employee of St. Vrain Valley Schools, you are eligible to participate in the plan.


Unfortunately there is not currently a ROTH (after-tax) option for the PERAPlus 401(k) or 457(b) plans.


Please be advised that taking hardship withdrawals and loans against your retirement account can be severely detrimental to your retirement savings and should be considered carefully only when all other options have been exhausted.

To access the loan packet provisions and application for your PERAPlus account, please choose the appropriate link below:

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St. Vrain Valley Schools does not accommodate any loan provisions for its Legacy SVVSD 403(b) and 457 plans.

If you are suffering a hardship and need access to your retirement account to satisfy an immediate and heavy need, you may qualify for a hardship withdrawal under the plan.


No.  Unlike health and dental insurance, contributing to a 401(k), 457(b), or 403(b) is pre-tax, but not “pre-PERA,” meaning your PERA contribution and your Highest Average Salary is based on your wages BEFORE these retirement contributions.  Therefore, contributing to an optional retirement plan does not negatively impact your other PERA retirement benefit.

For instance, if you made $100 gross wages, and you had a $10 health insurance premium and a $20 401(k) payment deducted from your check, your wages reported to PERA that month would be $90.

Tip: If you’re getting closer to retirement, did you know that you can opt to have your health and dental insurance premiums taken out of your check AFTER tax in order to increase your HAS?  Ask HR about it!

If you have additional questions or need more information:

The SVVSD Retirement Plan Website: https://blogs.svvsd.org/retirementplan

Informational Meeting Schedule: Click Here

Frequently Asked Questions: Click Here

Plan Revision Information: Click Here

The PERAPlus website: https://www.copera.org/pera/active/dc.htm

PERA and PERAPlus customer service phone number: 800-759-7372

List of Legacy SVVSD 403(b) and 457 Representatives (not PERAPlus): Click Here

List of SVVSD Retirement Plan Committee Members: Click Here

 

To contact the Plan Administrator: Click Here