National Association of State Retirement Administrators

Effects of Pension Plan Changes


Since 2009, fiscal constraints have forced state governments to reduce costs, often by laying off or furloughing employees, imposing salary freezes and/or reducing benefits. In fact, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, since 2009, more than 45 states have made significant changes to their retirement plans, including increasing employee contributions, reducing benefits, or both. Other states have modified their plan design, choosing to transfer more of the risk associated with providing retirement benefits from the state and its political subdivisions to its employees.

While we know a great deal about the unfunded liabilities of public pension plans, we know little about the effects pension plan changes will have on the retirement income of public employees.

This report calculates the retirement income state and participating local employees hired under the new benefit conditions may expect, and compares it with the retirement income they would have earned before the plan was changed. The report also summarizes interviews conducted with state human resource executives and retirement experts from 10 states that have made significant pension plan changes.


Date published

April 25, 2014


Alex Brown, Research Manager

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Press release