National Association of State Retirement Administrators

Mississippi

The Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS), a governmental defined benefit pension plan qualified under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, is the retirement system for nearly all non-federal public employees in the state including employees of the state, public school districts, municipalities, counties, community colleges, state universities, and such other public entities as libraries and water districts.

Additional programs administered by PERS for the benefit of its members and the state include the Supplemental Legislative Retirement Plan (SLRP), the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Retirement System (MHSPRS), the Institutions of Higher Learning Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), Fire and Police Disability and Relief Funds and General Municipal Retirement Systems (MRS) for employees of 17 cities, the Mississippi Deferred Compensation Plan, and the PERS Retiree Insurance Program.

 

Authorizing Statutes

Mississippi PERS is established in Title 25, Chapter 11 of the Mississippi Code. According to § 25-11-101.

A retirement system is hereby established and placed under the management of the board of trustees for the purpose of providing retirement allowances and other benefits under the provisions of this article for officers and employees in the state service and their beneficiaries. The retirement system provided by this article shall go into operation as of the first day of the month following the effective date thereof, when contributions by members shall begin and benefits shall become payable. This system shall be an agency of the State of Mississippi having all the powers and privileges of a public corporation and shall be known as the "Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi." By such name all of its business shall be transacted, all of its funds invested, and all of its cash and securities and other property held; but in ordinary correspondence the word "system" may be used instead of the full title. After appropriation for administrative expenses and after payment of investment management fees and costs, all funds of the system shall be held in trust in the custody of the board of trustees as funds of the beneficiaries of the trust. The Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review is hereby authorized and directed to have performed random actuarial evaluations, as necessary, of the funds and expenses of the Public Employees' Retirement System and to make annual reports to the Legislature on the financial soundness of the system.

Board Composition

Plan

Board Size

Appointed

Elected

Plan Members

Ex Officio

Mississippi PERS

10

1

8

8

1

§ 25-11-15 describes administration of the fund by the Board of Trustees, which is comprised of 10 trustees including:

  • The State Treasurer;

  • One (1) member who shall be appointed by the Governor for a term of four (4) years, who shall be a member of the system;

  • Two (2) members of the system having at least ten (10) years of creditable service who are state employees who are not employees of the state institutions of higher learning, who shall be elected by members of the system who are employees of state agencies and by members of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Retirement System, but not by employees of the state institutions of higher learning;

  • Two (2) members of the system having at least ten (10) years of creditable service who do not hold office in the legislative or judicial departments of municipal or county government, one (1) of whom shall be an employee of a municipality, instrumentality or juristic entity thereof, who shall be elected by members of the system who are employees of the municipalities, instrumentalities or juristic entities thereof and by members of the municipal systems and the firemen's and policemen's disability and relief funds administered by the board of trustees, and one (1) of whom shall be an employee of a county, instrumentality or juristic entity thereof, who shall be elected by members of the system who are employees of the counties, instrumentalities or juristic entities thereof;

  • One (1) member of the system having at least ten (10) years of creditable service who is an employee of a state institution of higher learning, who shall be elected by members of the system who are employees of the state institutions of higher learning as included in Section 37-101-1. Any member of the board on July 1, 1984, who is an employee of an institution of higher learning shall serve as the member trustee representing the institutions of higher learning until the end of the term for which he or she was elected;

  • Two (2) retired members who are receiving a retirement allowance from the system, who shall be elected by the retired members or beneficiaries receiving a retirement allowance from the system and by the retired members or beneficiaries of the municipal systems, the firemen's and policemen's disability and relief funds and the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Retirement System administered by the board of trustees, to serve for a term of six (6) years under rules and regulations adopted by the board to govern that election; however, any retired member of the board in office on April 19, 1993, shall serve as a retired trustee until the end of the term for which he or she was elected;

  • One (1) member of the system having at least ten (10) years of creditable service who is an employee of any public school district or junior college or community college district that participates in the system, who shall be elected by the members of the system who are employees of any public school district or junior college or community college district; however, any member of the board on June 30, 1989, who is a certified classroom teacher shall serve as the member representing a classroom teacher until the end of the term for which the member was appointed.

Local Employees

Section § 25-11-11. outlines optional coverage for employees of political subdivisions,

(1) Each political subdivision of the state and each instrumentality of the state or of a political subdivision, or of both, is hereby authorized to submit for approval by the board a plan for extending the benefits of this article, in conformity with applicable federal law, to employees of any such political subdivision or instrumentality.

Contributions

Per the U.S. Census, in FY 2011, employer contributions to Mississippi state and local government pension plans were 3.17 percent of all state and local government direct general spending.

Constitutional Protections

No explicit constitutional protection for public pension benefits, but courts provide protection for contractual pension rights. Article 3, §16 of the Mississippi Constitution prohibits laws impairing the obligation of contracts. Note that Article 15, §273 prevents the use of the initiative process to amend or repeal the state retirement system. Public Employees' Retirement System v. Porter, 763 So.2d 845 (Miss. 2000)(holding that statute mandating that pre-retirement death benefits go to surviving spouse rather than named beneficiary, was an unconstitutional impairment of contract). (MS CONST., Article 15, §273; Article 3, §16) Source: Robert Klausner, Esq., State Constitutional Protections for Public Sector Retirement Benefits
Flag of Mississippi (April 23, 1894)

Population (2015) 2,992,333

Mississippi public pension statistics, per U.S. Census Bureau as of FY 2015 ($ in 000s)

Assets

$28,363,655

Active Members

157,918

Annuitants

99,096

Benefits Paid

$2,284,168

Employee Contributions

$560,099

Employer Contributions

$1,030,028

Systems

4

More Data

Other Resources