When you’re ready to retire, you submit an ACERA Retirement Application. Once you’re retirement date passes, we send you a retirement contract in the mail. Once you fill out and return your retirement contract, you receive your 100% monthly retirement allowance for the rest of your life.
ACERA must have a COPY of these documents on file before you can retire, so please submit them on or before your retirement date. Failure to submit the needed documents may delay the processing of your retirement benefits. You can provide ACERA with many of these documents at any point during your career. Please also review the Forms to Complete For Retirement page.
ACERA must complete your final retirement calculation before you can choose a payment option. ACERA must verify your employment termination date, vacation sell backs and sick leave balance, and receive the final retirement contribution from your last paycheck. This can take up to six weeks after your last day in paid status. Approximately eight to ten weeks after your retirement date, your retirement benefit calculations will be finalized and you may choose a payment option.
During this eight to ten week period, ACERA will mail a packet containing an Election of Retirement Allowance to you. Upon receipt of the election form, you choose a payment option by signing and returning the form. ACERA will begin paying your retirement allowance based on the option amount you select.
You may be eligible to receive up to 80% of your estimated monthly benefit until your actual benefit is finalized so that you receive payment on a regular monthly basis. The difference between your interim partial payment and your actual benefit will be paid retroactively (without interest) once ACERA receives your signed election and processes the payment option you choose.
Once payments begin, you cannot change your payment option. Your selected payment option is irrevocable.
As of July 2007, ACERA requires the direct deposit of all monthly pension payments into your bank account unless you substantiate a valid hardship to ACERA demonstrating why direct deposit is not an option for you. Retirement allowance payments will be deposited on the last business day of each month. This policy ensures the receipt of your funds, especially in the case of a natural disaster, delivery delays, or theft.
After your retirement date passes, ACERA will mail you an Election of Retirement Allowance on which you will choose one of the five retirement options. Your selection is permanent, and cannot be changed after ACERA has received your signed, completed retirement election—so it’s important to understand your benefits and your beneficiary(ies)’ benefits under each option.
Unmodified Option: Provides the Maximum Monthly Lifetime Benefit
Benefit paid to retiree
Maximum allowance provided for retiree’s lifetime, based on age, service credit, and final average salary.
Benefit paid to beneficiary on retiree’s death
For spouse/state-registered domestic partner with whom retiree was married/registered at least one year before retirement, lifetime monthly allowance of 60% of retiree’s allowance at time of death.
If the retiree was on a service-connected disability retirement, the benefit is 100% of retiree’s retirement allowance at the time of death for a spouse or state-registered domestic partner that was married to the member at time of retirement for any amount of time.
For minor child(ren), collective monthly allowance of 60% (or 100% for member who retired on service-connected disability) of retiree’s allowance at time of death, payable to the minor child(ren) until the minor marries/registers or reaches age 18 (or age 22 if enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited school).
For a beneficiary other than a spouse/state-registered domestic partner or minor child, a one-time, lump-sum payment of retiree’s accumulated contributions and interest, minus monthly retirement payments already paid.
If named beneficiary dies before retiree
Upon retiree’s death, alternate or newly named beneficiary will only receive lump-sum payment of retiree’s accumulated contributions and interest, minus monthly payments already paid.
The temporary added annuity is a temporary increase in retirement benefit for members who retire younger than age 62. Members who see the most benefit retire significantly under age 62. Members retiring near 62 (like at 61) will probably not find much advantage in this benefit.
The amount of the temporary increase in retirement benefit is based on a the Social Security Administration estimates your social security benefit to be if you take the early retirement at age 62.