When can I retire?
Normal Retirement provides full benefits at Age 62 with any number of years of creditable service.
Special Early Retirement provides full benefits prior to age 62 when you meet the Rule of 75. The Rule of 75 is met when your age plus the number of years of creditable service total 75. If hired after December 31, 2015, you must be at least age 50 to qualify for this retirement option.
Regular Early Retirement – A reduced benefit is available at age 55 if you have at least 5 years of creditable service, if hired before January 1, 2013, or 8 years if hired after December 31, 2012. If you elect to start receiving a monthly benefit, the benefit is reduced 3% for each year you are under age 62.
Go to When You Can Retire for more details.
How is my benefit calculated?
The El Paso County Retirement Plan is a traditional Defined Benefit Retirement Plan and calculates benefits using a predefined formula. We start with a Final Average Monthly Compensation (FAMP), which is the average of highest consecutive 36 months of salary out of the last 120 months of employment. The rest of the formula is as follows:
Monthly Benefit**= (FAMP x Credited Service (prior to 2013) x 2.22%) + (FAMP x Credited Service (after 2013) x 2.00%)
Monthly Benefit**= FAMP x Credited Service x 2.00%
Example: ($3,000 x 20 years x 2.22%) + ($3,000 x 5 years x 2.00%) = $1,632 Per Month
**The minimum monthly pension you can receive is $25 per year of credited service. So if you have 10 years of credited service, your minimum monthly benefit is $250.
Go to Member Log-in/Registration to estimate your monthly benefit. Or, you can receive a benefit estimate by contacting the Retirement Plan. We will ask for the date of when you plan to retire. Your annual benefit statement also provides an estimate of your retirement benefit as of your earliest eligible date of retirement.
What happens to my medical insurance coverage?
If you are currently covered under the health insurance provided by El Paso County, you have the option of continuing coverage for yourself and your enrolled spouse and dependent children.* If you forfeit this option, you cannot re-enroll in the health insurance benefits in the future.
If the retiring employee is married to another El Paso County employee, the retiree may elect to be covered under the spouse who is still actively working full-time.
The medical insurance program is sponsored and administered by El Paso County. The Plan is subject to change upon each contract renewal. Contracts are effective January 1 of each year.
Please contact the Benefits Division at 719-520-7420 for questions on retiree health benefits.
*Eligible dependents include your lawful spouse and children who are less tan 26 years old who are enrolled at the time of retirement.
What should I do if I leave employment prior to retirement?
If you have less than 5 years of creditable service, if hired prior to January 1, 2013 or 8 years if hired after December 31, 2012, you must take the money out of your retirement account. You can either roll the money into an eligible tax deferred retirement account or have it paid directly to you. If you roll it over, 100% of your account balance is transferred and there are no current tax consequences. If you elect to have it paid to you, the gross amount of the distribution is taxable income and subject to a 20% withholding. If you are under 59 ½ at the time you take the distribution, it is also subject to a 10% penalty for early withdrawal. Go to our Forms tab for a non-vested application.
If you have more than 5 years if hired prior to January 1, 2013 or 8 years if hired after December 31, 2012, you have the option of taking a distribution of your account balance subject to the same distribution rules as described above, or you can elect to leave the money in the plan and take a deferred retirement benefit. You would be eligible to begin receiving the lifetime benefit as early as age 55. Go to our Forms tab for a vested application.
At the time you leave, you may contact the Retirement Office at 719-520-7490 for assistance in completing the application form.
Can I have my retirement check direct-deposited to my bank?
Yes. We offer direct deposit of your monthly benefit check. By using direct deposit, your benefit will automatically be deposited in your checking or savings account on the first working day of each month. You will need to complete an Application for Direct Deposit through the Retirement Plan Office, or online on this site under our Forms tab. In addition, a notification will be mailed to your residence (if you desire) confirming the deposit and detailing all monthly withholdings and deductions.
Is there any Life Insurance available?
The El Paso County Retirement Plan does not offer any Life Insurance. However, as a retiree of the El Paso County Retirement Plan, you will automatically be eligible for a $3,000 Death Benefit. Upon your death, your named beneficiary will receive the $3,000. This is a gift from the Plan and there is no cost to you.
What happens to my retirement if I die before I start receiving my benefit?
If death occurs with less than five years of service if hired prior to January 1, 2013, or 8 years if hired after December 31, 2012, your named beneficiary will receive your account balance at time of death.
If death occurs with more than five years of service, if hired prior to January 1, 2013, or more than 8 years if hired after December 31, 2012, but before you were eligible to retire, your named beneficiary will have two options. They can receive twice the amount you have in your retirement account at time of death. Your beneficiary may also choose a monthly lifetime benefit equal to 60% of the benefit you were eligible for at time of death. Payment would begin at the time you would have reached the age of 55.
If death occurs before Normal Retirement Age, but you were qualified under the Rule of 75 for an immediate retirement benefit, your named beneficiary will receive a lifetime monthly benefit equal to the 100% Joint and Survivor Benefit. If death occurs after Normal Retirement age your named beneficiary will receive a lifetime monthly benefit equal to the 100% Joint and Survivor Benefit.
My spouse and I both participate in the retirement plan. Can we name each other in a joint and survivor option? If one dies, can the other receive both a survivor benefit and a retirement benefit?
You can name each other in a joint and survivor option, and when one dies, the surviving member may receive both a survivor benefit and a retirement benefit.