On The Floor

KY Public Pensions 101: Who is in CERS?

Jennifer Burnett

The public pensions world can be confusing and full of jargon. Below is a brief explanation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) and where membership fits into the overall public pension system in Kentucky

The Kentucky Retirement System (KRS)* administers public pension benefits for many public employees. Within KRS, there are three systems:

·         Kentucky Employee Retirement System (KERS)

·         County Employees Retirement System (CERS)

·         The State Police Retirement System (SPRS)

CERS has the largest membership in KRS (64%), followed by KERS (35%) and SPRS (1%). This includes all active, inactive and retired members. Within CERS, there are two categories: CERS Nonhazardous and CERS Hazardous. Those in the Nonhazardous plan make up the bulk of the membership in CERS (92%).

Most local public employees are in the CERS system, including fiscal courts, cities, boards of education and more. Here’s a breakdown of employees of participating employers in CERS as of June 30, 2018.

*In addition to the membership in KRS, the state administers public pension plans for teachers (called the Teachers’ Retirement System - TRS) and the Judicial Form Retirement System (JFRS), which includes the Judicial Retirement Plan and the Legislators Retirement Plan.   


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