PSPRS Online Services:

Membership Tiers and Retirement Plans

AAA

Arizona’s corrections officers have relied on the Corrections Officer Retirement Plan for retirement benefits since 1986. There are two retirement benefit plan types for corrections officers under CORP, including the CORP defined benefit pension plan and the CORP defined contribution 401(a) retirement plan known as the Public Safety Personnel Defined Contribution Retirement Plan.

In CORP, member benefits, contribution rates and requirements to retire are determined by member hiring dates and type of correctional work – state, county or local corrections and detention, or probation and surveillance work performed for the Administrative Office of the Courts.

There are three corrections membership tiers with the most recent, Tier 3, covering officers hired on or after July 1, 2018. Those hired between January 1, 2012, and June 30, 2017, are Tier 2 members, while all of those hired prior to January 1, 2012, are Tier 1 members.

Tier 1 Members
DB Plan Only

Hired into CORP position before January 1, 2012

Tier 2 Members
DB Plan Only

Hired into CORP position on/after January 1, 2012

Tier 3 Members
DB and DC Plans

Hired into CORP position on/after July 1, 2018

Tier 1 and 2 members contribute towards the CORP pension, which distributes monthly retirement benefits that are based on member salaries and years of credited service.

These benefits are constitutionally guaranteed in Arizona and adjusted for inflation, providing lifetime financial security to retirees and surviving spouses. Unlike traditional investment-based retirement plans, pension benefits are unaffected by stock market fluctuations or adverse economic conditions.

CORP pension benefits are paid from contributions made by members and employers, and interest earned by these funds when they are invested by the investment team, which manages financial risk on behalf of plan participants.

Tier 1 and 2 members contribute a portion of their salary towards their pensions. The exact amount is determined by the funding level status of their employer. This statistic compares how much money is in an employer’s CORP account to the amount needed to pay retirement benefits for its employees.

Tier 3 retirement benefits are determined by the type of work members perform and their employer. Officers who perform probation and surveillance work for the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts, which oversees state and county court systems, may choose to contribute towards receiving pension benefits or 401(a) defined contribution benefits upon retirement.

However, Tier 3 officers who perform corrections and detention duties for state, county, and local employers contribute towards receiving 401(a) defined contribution benefits upon retirement.

Member contributions to CORP pension and 401(a) defined contribution benefits are made on a pre-tax basis. This means that the money contributed is deducted from member salaries before taxes are applied, which reduces taxable income.

Members of all three tiers may elect to pay an annual premium for PSPRS Cancer Insurance Program coverage if their employer participates in the program. All corrections members may receive disability retirement benefits provided they meet the necessary eligibility requirements. Line of duty death benefits are also available for surviving and eligible spouses or family members. Health insurance subsidies are also available to members of all three tiers upon retirement.

Highlights

Tier 1 and Tier 2 members::

  • Retirement plan: Defined benefit pension through CORP
  • Contribution rates: Both tiers pay the same flat rate towards pension
  • Cancer Insurance Program: Coverage dependent on employer participation and member election to pay annual premium
  • Disability: Eligible for disability retirement benefits
  • Line of duty death: Eligible for benefits for surviving spouses or family members
  • Health insurance subsidies: Available to members of both tiers upon retirement

Tier 3 Members:

  • Retirement plans:
    • Defined contribution 401(a) through Public Safety Personnel Defined Contribution Plan for state, county and local corrections and detention officers
    • Defined benefit pension through CORP for probation and surveillance officers employed by the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Contribution rates: Rates vary depending on use of defined benefit pension or defined contribution 401(a) plans
  • Cancer Insurance Program: Coverage dependent on employer participation and member election to pay annual premium
  • Disability: Eligible for disability retirement benefits
  • Line of duty death: Eligible for benefits for surviving spouses or family members
  • Health insurance subsidies: Available to AOC probation surveillance officers, and to corrections/detention officers members who elect to contribute towards benefit and meet system requirements for retirement

Public Safety Personnel Defined Contribution Retirement Plan

The PSPDCRP is a 401(a) retirement account that both members and employers contribute towards to create a retirement funding source for participants. The 401(a) accounts are managed by Nationwide Retirement Solutions and are overseen by the PSPRS Defined Contribution Committee, which consists of PSPRS trustees and members of the public safety, corrections and elected officials retirement plans.

PSPDCRP participants can allocate contributions to investment options within their individual 401(a) account. These options include target date funds, mutual funds, index funds and bond funds. The benefit available upon retirement is determined by contributions and investment performance of the funds chosen by participants. Defined contribution plans are a proven wealth and retirement security building tool, but participants bear the risk of market volatility and economic conditions.

For additional information, members can review the AZ PSPRS Plan Overview and the PSPRS Summary of Plan Provisions.

Keeping track of pension contributions and 401(a) DC plan balances

Members can check their defined benefit (DB/pension) contribution balances at any time during their careers by accessing their Members Only account or by calling PSPRS at  (602) 255-5575 or emailing  [email protected].

Members can check their 401(a) defined contribution account balances through their account or by contacting Nationwide Retirement Services by calling  1-855-297-8228, or emailing  [email protected] for assistance.

Please note that all CORP members and retirees can use defined contribution plans available under state law and through Nationwide Retirement Services. These accounts include a 401(a) supplemental plan and a 457 plan. Members can contact their employers for assistance.