How to get Alaska retirement benefits

When we are young, we do not tend to think about our old years; we know it will happen, but we do not spend the necessary time to think about it and perhaps make the best decisions for our future. However, Alaska has a fairly comprehensive retirement benefit system that we will detail for you below.

Many people around the world receive benefits payable because of their years of service, special conditions, or for meeting specific age criteria (also known as ‘retirement’); this represents one of the most important benefits created by the social security agencies from each country.

If you live in Alaska and want to get these benefits or are looking for information to help a family member or friend, we have written a basic guide so you can learn more about it.

Types of Retirement Plan Benefits

Before starting the application process, you must know the type of retirement benefits offered by the state of Alaska, so you can check if you meet the eligibility requirements.

elderly man - retirement benefits

Public Employees’ Retirement System Tiers I, II, III (PERS)

This program aims to provide the employees or public servants (and their survivors) with the necessary benefits to guarantee their financial security once they have completed the required years of service. This is nothing more than a kind of benefit that the state grants in exchange for the beneficiaries’ contribution throughout their lives.

At this point, it is important to clarify that there are three classes of PERS according to the date you entered your position:

a) TIER I: date of entry between 01/01/1961 and 30/06/1986.

b) TIER II: date of entry after 30/06/1986 but prior to 30/06/1996.

c) TIER III:  date of entry after 30/06/1996 but prior to 30/06/2006.

In addition to this, you must meet the age and years of service requirements:

a) TIER I: you must be at least 55 years old or any age if you served 30 years of service.

b) TIER II: the normal age is 60 years or any age with 30 years of service.

c) TIER III: the required age is 60 years old, or in case you do not comply, have at least 30 years of service.

On the other hand, you can also get an early retirement; this means that you can apply for benefits before the age mentioned above. The only condition is that the benefit will be reduced by 1/2 percent per month for each month under the normal age. So the closer you are to the normally required age, the less the reduction will be. TIER I’s anticipated age is 50 years, and for TIER II and TIER III is 55 years.

Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS)

Another retirement benefit plan in Alaska is the one aimed to teachers; its main objective is to provide a sort of guarantee of financial security to people who have been teaching for several determined years.

The date you entered the system is also significant by the time you want to apply since it determines your TIER:

a) TIER I: date of entry between 01/07/1955 and 30/06/1990.

b) TIER II: date of entry between after 30/06/1990 but prior to 30/06/2006.

Regarding the age and service requirements, you must meet:

a) If you are TIER I: normal age 55 years and anticipated age 50.

b) If you are TIER II: normal age 60 years, and anticipated age 55.

Also, suppose you are not the required age for TIER II. In that case, there is a possibility that you may qualify for these retirement benefits in Alaska and get unreduced monthly payments if you meet these criteria:

TIER II - TRS Alaska retirement benefits requirements

➡ READ ALSO: How to login for Alaska unemployment benefits?

PERS/TRS Defined Contribution Retirement Plan (DCR)

Concerning the previous retirement plans, if you entered the system (as a public employee or teacher) after June 30th, 2006, you will be entitled to this retirement plan.

The DCR was created in 2005 through a reform to the retirement legislation approved by the legislature (Senate Bill 141).

In this plan, you will decide between several investment options to receive the benefit of payment at a future date because, during your years of service, both you and your employer made payments to cover the cost of your retirement benefit. You can check more information about this here.

National Guard and Naval Militia Retirement System

As the name implies, if you served as an army, air, or naval militia guard, you can choose to obtain a benefit based on your years of service and other criteria.

To apply, you must contact the administrative section of your branch of the Alaska National Guard. They will provide you with all the information about the application process and the appropriate forms to verify your service conditions and determine whether you qualify or not.

Judicial Retirement System (JRS)

It is the retirement plan aimed at judges and magistrates created in 1963; if you serve or have served, you can go to the Division of Retirement and Benefits (DRB) of your community to request the information corresponding to the application process.

Contact information

You may mail your documents to this address:

Division of Retirement and Benefits
P.O. Box 110203
Juneau, AK 99811-0203

Or, if you need assistance, you can dial (907) 465-4460 for Local Juneau or (800) 821-2251 for outside Juneau.  You may also send an email to doa.drb.mscc@alaska.gov and expose your case; they will provide you with all the information related to Alaska retirement benefits.

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