National Association of State Retirement Administrators

Delaware

The Delaware Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) administers retirement benefits for nearly all public employees in the state. Delaware PERS administers nine different pension plans:

  • State Employees' Pension Plan

  • Special Pension Plan

  • New State Police Pension Plan

  • Judiciary Pension Plans (closed and revised)

  • County & Municipal Police/Fireman's Pension Plan

  • County & Municipal Employees' Pension Plan

  • Volunteer Fireman's Pension Plan

  • Diamond State Port Corporation Pension Plan

  • Closed State Police Pension Plan

The State Employees' Pension Plan includes public school teachers and its membership comprises about 82 percent of all active members in the state.

Authorizing Statute

Chapter 55 of the Delaware Code creates the State Employees' Pension Plan. According to the text:

§ 5541. Establishment of Fund. There shall be established a State Employees' Retirement Fund, hereinafter referred to as "Fund," to which state appropriations and other employer contributions shall be deposited monthly and to which employee contributions shall be deposited upon deduction from the employee's paycheck and to which earnings on investments, any other contributions, gifts, donations, grants, refunds and reimbursements shall be deposited upon receipt and from which benefits shall be paid and fees and expenses authorized by the Board shall be paid. Subject to Internal Revenue Code § 401(a)(24) [26 U.S.C. § 401(a)(24)], the assets of the Fund will be commingled in the Delaware Public Employees' Retirement System as provided for by § 8308 of this title. The assets of the Fund are held in trust and may not be used for or diverted to any purpose other than for the exclusive benefit of the employees and their beneficiaries.

Board Composition

Plan

Board Size

Appointed

Elected

Plan Members

Ex Officio

Delaware Public Employees Retirement System

7

5

0

0

2

Contributions

Per the U.S. Census, in FY 2014, employer contributions to Delaware state and local government pension plans were 2.99 percent of all state and local government direct general spending.

Constitutional Protections

Courts recognize contractual rights for vested employees who have fulfilled retirement eligibility requirements. See In re State Employees' Pension Plan, Del. Supr., 364 A.2d 1228 (1976); State ex rei. State Bd. of Pension Trs. v. Dineen, 409 A.2d 1256, 1259 (Dei.Ch.1979)(holding contract rights vest upon completion of statutorily prescribed ten-year service requirement even though employee must wait until retirement age to collect). Article 15, §4 of the DE Const. also provides limited constitutional protection for elected/appointed public officers: No law shall extend the term of any public officer or diminish the salary or emoluments after his or her election or appointment." Source: Robert Klausner, Esq., State Constitutional Protections for Public Sector Retirement Benefits

Flag of Delaware (May 10, 1913)

Population (2016) 952,065

Delaware public pension statistics, per U.S. Census Bureau as of FY 2016 ($ in 000s)

Assets

$9,648,772

Active Members

50,958

Annuitants

31,623

Benefits Paid

$669,484

Employee Contributions

$75,318

Employer Contributions

$305,051

Systems

25

More Data