All Kentucky public employees participate in one of the existing public pension systems; Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) or the Teachers' Retirement System of Kentucky (TRS).  Legislators and the judicial branch each have their own separate pension systems.

Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS): KRS is a state agency that administers multiple public pension systems:

  • Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS).  With the exception of legislators and the judicial branch, most people employed by a state agency belong to this system, which has both "hazardous" and "non-hazardous" subgroups.  Retirement benefits are different for hazardous and non-hazardous retirees.  Employer contributions for KERS employees are made by the Commonwealth through provisions in the state budget.
  • County Employees Retirement System (CERS).  This pension system is for people employed by a local or county governmental agency, including classified (ESP) employees of local public school systems.  CERS also has hazardous and non-hazardous subgroups.  Employer contributions for these employees are made by the county or local employer, not by the state. 
  • State Police Retirement System (SPRS).  All participants in this system are deemed hazardous. Employer contributions are made by the state. 

Teachers' Retirement System of Kentucky (TRS): TRS is the state agency that administers the pension system for university and non-university eligible participants.  Generally, all certified public school employees participate in TRS. 

In every public pension system, the benefits an individual will receive upon retirement are tiered based on the initial date of participation.  Generally, participants become eligible for full retirement when they reach a certain age and have also attained a specific number of years of service.  

Kentucky Public Pension Coalition: In an effort to protect defined benefit pensions for all public employees, KEA joined with other groups to create the Kentucky Public Pension Coalition. For more information or to get involved please visit, You can also visit the coalition on Facebook at!/KentuckyPublicPensionCoalition or follow Twitter handle @kypublicpension.