In May 1945, Governor Forrest C. Donnell signed into law the Public School Retirement Act of Missouri, which established the Public School Retirement System of Missouri (PSRS) effective July 1, 1946. Missouri was the 47th state to adopt legislation leading to a statewide teacher retirement system. PSRS was established to provide certificated public school employees and their families with a significant and stable source of retirement income, disability and survivor benefits.
The first benefit check, in the amount of $31.45 was issued to 75-year-old Benjamin Rea of Buffalo, MO, on August 1, 1947. By the end of its first year, PSRS had more than 20,000 contributing members and assets of nearly $1.5 million.
The Non-Teacher School Employee Retirement System of Missouri (NTRS), was created on October 13, 1965, with the adoption of House Bill 88. The goal was to build a plan similar to PSRS, but for non-certificated public school personnel. The name of the non-teacher system was changed to the Public Education Employee Retirement System of Missouri (PEERS) in August 2005 to more positively represent members.