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How KP&F Works

The KPERS Trust Fund is made up of contributions and investment income. You contribute 7.15% of your pay into the Retirement System. Your employer contributes, too. Then we invest the money to pay you a lifetime monthly benefit in retirement. You vest your benefit with a certain number of years of service (more below). That means you're guaranteed a benefit.

Kansas law requires that all eligible members contribute. But when retirement gets here, you'll be glad you saved. KPERS is your fiduciary. That means we put members first. The KPERS Trust Fund is your money. It's not going anywhere except to pay your benefits. It can never be withdrawn for any other purpose, not even by the Legislature.

The Retirement System is "prefunded." That means your contributions are invested to pay your benefits down the road. KPERS is not like Social Security that uses current contributions to pay current benefits. Over time, investments have paid for about half of retiree benefits.


How You Contribute

  • You contribute 7.15% of your pay, automatically deducted by your employer.
  • You earn annual interest based on your membership date:
    • Before July 1, 1993, your contributions earn 7% interest.
    • On or after July 1, 1993, your contributions earn 4% interest.
  • Kansas law doesn't let you borrow from your contributions.
  • Pretax for federal income taxes and after tax for State of Kansas income taxes.
  • Can withdraw your contributions and interest if you leave employment.
  • Paid to your beneficiary if you die before retirement.

Guarantee Your Benefit

Service racks up automatically while you're working and is tracked by the quarter. After 15 years of service*, you're guaranteed a benefit. This is called "vesting."

You can be confident that your benefit will be there when the time comes for you to retire. That's our job as your fiduciary.

*Tier I members vest with 20 years of service. Tier II members vest with 15 years of service. If you have participated in more than one Retirement System group, you may be able to combine years of service toward vesting.

Lifetime Benefit

That's right. As a KP&F retiree, you'll receive a monthly benefit for the rest of your life. You can choose from a few payment options, in case you want someone to get your benefit when you pass away. More info about on Retirement Options

If you're eligible to retire, but want to work a few more years, the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) may be an option for you. DROP lets you keep working while your monthly benefits grow in an account. Learn more about DROP.

A benefit for life is really something. But this next part is a big deal. KP&F wasn’t designed with an automatic cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Your monthly benefit stays the same throughout your retirement. Unless the Kansas Legislature approves one. And they’ll need to find the extra money to pay for it.

With no COLA, personal savings becomes more important. Consider savings with KPERS 457. Your employer may also offer other 457 or 403(b) plans. Individual retirement accounts (IRA) are also great savings options.

Middle-Aged Couple sitting on a couch together.

You'll Need More Than KP&F

Really. No, really. KP&F won't be enough for a secure retirement. You need to do your part to "fill the gap" by saving on your own. One of the easiest ways to save is through an employer plan, like a 457 or 403(b). Many employers offer KPERS 457. It's an optional deferred compensation plan that's easy to get started.

Check with your employer about options where you work. If they don't have an employer plan, you might want to consider saving in an individual retirement account (IRA). It doesn't really matter where you save, as long as you are saving. After all, the sooner you start the more time your money has to grow. That can pay off big in retirement thanks to the power of compound interest.

Save Now and High-Five Your Future Self

Look at the difference starting to save at 30 can make compared to age 50. And this is just the $50 a month, or $1.65 a day! You can start with even less. But starting is what's important. A dollar invested today, is worth nearly 6 times as much.

Waiting just 10 years to begin saving & investing can make a huge difference in the long run.

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What's Best About KPERS 457?

If your employer offers KPERS 457, you should give it a good look. KPERS oversees KPERS 457 with your best interest in mind. It's part of our fiduciary commitment. And KPERS 457 is in tune with how the two plans work together.

See if your employer offers KPERS 457 and get started today.

Retiring: When & How Much?

Answers to the big questions! When can you retire and how much will your benefit be? Kansas law defines the rules about both. Generally speaking, the longer you work and the higher your salary, the more your benefit will be.

You have 3 options for retirement.

  • Retire as early as age 50 with reduced benefits
  • Retire with full benefits when you meet age & service requirements
  • Choose a DROP option at full retirement and keep working a bit longer.

When Can You Retire?

You have 3 choices. You can wait until "full" retirement for the biggest benefit. Or you can pick "early" retirement and go at age 50 with a smaller benefit. If you're eligible for full retirement, you can choose a DROP option to keep working and build a lump-sum nest egg.

Full Retirement
  • Age 50 w/25 years
  • Age 55 w/20 years
  • Age 60 w/15 years
Early Retirement
  • Reduced benefits @ age 50 w/20 years

How Much Will You Get?

KP&F pays you a benefit for the rest of your life, guaranteed. Security is the watchword here. You won't run out of money and your monthly payment is not affected by market downturns.

The best way to get an estimate is the benefit calculator in your online account. It's preloaded with your own membership information. You can also check out your annual statement. We send one to you each spring. If you are vested, it will have an estimate.

KP&F Online Benefit Calculator (must enter your own data)
See the Membership Guide for full details.

Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP)

If you're eligible to retire, but want to work a few more years, the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) may be an option for you. DROP lets you keep working while your monthly benefits grow in an account.

DROP Benefit Flyer

Considering a Service Purchase?

You can increase your benefit, but it comes at a cost. Check with us if it's right for you.

What is Service Credit?

Service credits represent how long a member has worked. Employees automatically earn “participating” credit for the years they work in a KPERS-covered position. Purchasing additional service credit could help you vest your benefit faster, get more at retirement and possibly retire sooner.

Only active members may purchase service. Federal law may limit you if you are purchasing service with after tax-money. This limit applies only to after-tax contributions. For more info visit Taxes & KPERS.

Don't wait costs are based on salary and age. Now is probably the most inexpensive time for you to buy.

Pros Cons
Could increase your retirement benefits Lower your pay (with payroll deduction)
Could you allow you to retire earlier Usually cost more to purchase service later in your career
3 options to pay:
  • pretax payroll deduction
  • rollover from other retirement plan
  • lump sum payment
Limits to what kind and how much service can be purchased

How Does the Process Work?

  1. Contact KPERS or your employer to see if your past service is eligible.
  2. Complete an Application to Purchase Service Credit: KP&F
  3. Your designated agent completes the employer part of the form and sends it to KPERS.
  4. KPERS calculates your cost and sends you a letter. At this point, you can consider the cost and benefits.
  5. To complete the purchase, sign the paperwork, arrange for payment and return both to KPERS.
  6. KPERS receives your payment or payroll deduction commitment. We must receive your complete payment on or before your last day on your employer's payroll.
  7. KPERS adds service credit to your record after the purchase is completed.

Life Insurance, Disability & Death Benefits

KP&F isn't just for retirement. Your income is automatically protected by life insurance, disability benefits and death benefits. It's here if you need it. And your employer pays the cost. Some employers offer "optional" life insurance, too. It's extra coverage, and you pay the cost for that one.

Optional Life Insurance

Optional life insurance is extra coverage in case you need it. There's member coverage (that's you), plus spouse and child coverage.

You choose how much you need. You can change or cancel anytime, and you pay the premiums through payroll deduction. Many employers offer optional insurance, including the State of Kansas. Check with your employer if you’re interested. Especially if you just started. New employees can get guaranteed coverage within their first 31 days. We also have an annual open enrollment for everyone.

It seems weird to think about dying but you want to make sure the right person would get the money. Visit for more info on naming a beneficiary.

Life Insurance Brochure | Certificate of Insurance

Middle-Aged Family hanging out with their pet dog.

Disability Benefits

Tier I and Tier II members covered by different disability benefits. You are not eligible for disability benefits if you are injured while working for any employer other than your KP&F employer.

Your employer pays for the coverage.

Working While Receiving Disability Benefits: If you return to work for any KP&F participating employer, your disability benefits will automatically stop. There is no earnings limit for non-public safety employment.

You will remain on disability for the rest of your life unless you return to work for a KP&F participating employer or you are no longer disabled.

Service-Connected Disability Benefits

You receive an annual disability benefit, in ongoing monthly payments, based on the higher of:

  • 50% of your final average salary
  • Final average salary x 2.5% x years of service

Eligible children receive an annual benefit of up to 10% of your final average salary (subject to maximum) in ongoing payments. Children are eligible up to age 18 (or age 23 if a full-time student).

Maximum family benefit = (including children's benefits) 75% final average salary

Maximum benefit = (if no eligible children) = 90% final average salary

Non Service-Connected Disability Benefits

You receive an annual benefit of your final average salary x 2.5% x years of service, in ongoing monthly payments.

Minimum benefit = 25% final average salary

Maximum benefit = 90% final average salary

Note: You must wait 180 days from the last day you are actively at work to apply for benefits.

Disability Benefits

Your disability benefits are the same, whether your disability is service-connected or non service-connected. You receive an annual benefit of 50% of your final average salary, in ongoing monthly payments. There is no waiting period. You will continue receiving service credit until you are no longer disabled or until you are eligible to retire. If you are already eligible to retire, you may not apply for disability.

If you are disabled and off payroll for five or more years, your final average salary may be recalculated to benefit your when determining your retirement benefits.

Reminder: To apply for disability benefits, contact your designated agent.

Death Benefits

Death benefits depend on whether your death is connected to your KP&F service.

Either way, benefits are paid automatically to your spouse and eligible children. Your children are eligible up to age 18, or age 23 if they are full-time students. No spouse or children? Your beneficiary receives a one-time payment equal to your current annual salary.

Death Connected to KP&F Service

Your spouse receives a lifetime monthly benefit based on which option pays the most:

  • 50% of your final average salary
  • Benefit for the 100% joint-survivor retirement option

Eligible children also receive an annual benefit of 10% of your final average salary. The maximum combined benefit is 90% of your final average salary, including spouse and children.

Death Not Connected to KP&F Service

Spouses receive two death benefits:

  • One-time payment of 100% of your final average salary
  • Monthly benefit for life, based on the same formula as your retirement benefit

Final Average Salary x 2.5% x Years of Service

Max Annual Benefit: 50% of your final average salary

Money Know-How

Not a whiz with money? Not many are. But KPERS can help you understand budgeting, debt and credit, and of course, saving. Having this stuff under your belt can make a world of difference now and help you get ready for retirement. Even if it's eons away. This is for you... even if all you want is to make it to the next paycheck.

One size does not fit all.

Check out financial guidance by career stage. And boost your financial confidence. You can do this!

Know Your Budget

Do you spend less than you make?

Your cash flow compares the money coming in (paycheck, investments) to what's going out (mortgage, bills, debt payments). If you do the math and you're coming up in the red, it's time to check your spending. It's a good idea to check your cash flow as often as you get. But remember, most bills are monthly, So if you're paid bi-weekly, review your cash flow every two week to help plan for all your expenses and due dates.

Do you use a budget?

Want to be financially fit? You need to budget. It’s a big key to paying off debt, growing your nest egg and setting aside money for the fun things in life.

50/30/20 Rule

Try the 50/30/20 rule for an easy way to budget responsibly. It divides your month after-tax income into three spending categories: 50% for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings/investing/paying off debt.

Save, Save More, Save Often

Are you saving 10-15% for your retirement?

KPERS and Social Security won’t be enough. You need to save on your own, too. Some experts suggest saving 10-15% of your income. You’re already contributing to KPERS, so you are part of the way there. The State of Kansas and some local employers offer KPERS 457, a deferred compensation plan. Check with your employer about savings options where you work.

Do you have 3 months saved in an
emergency fund?

Car’s in the shop? Owe the doctor? Need a new dishwasher? Your emergency fund is there to help with those surprises..

3 months enough?

3 months is a standard time, but you need to decide if you need to save more. You can figure out how much you'll need by looking at what you spend.

Debt & Your Financial Goals

Do you set financial goals and work to reach them?

It’s often said that you’re more likely to achieve your goals if you write them out. Take some time to think about the financial things you want to accomplish (buy a car, house or appliance; travel; pay for college; retire; or donate to a cause you believe in). Consider the cost and your timeline to see how much money you need to save. It’s also a good idea to size up your finances at least once a year. Then do a year-to-year comparison to see how far you’ve come.

How much debt and do you have a plan for it?

Knowing how much you owe and working your payoff plan is key. Getting that monkey off your back will help you find the money for other things like saving for retirement or your kids’ education. Debt Repayment.