Service-Connected Disability Retirement and Healthcare Benefits /
If you apply for and are awarded a service-connected disability
retirement, you will be eligible to receive the following
subsidies regardless of years of service credit at retirement:
Members awarded a non-service-connected disability retirement
must meet the eligibility criteria for each of the subsidies
above, which starts with having at least 10 years of ACERA
service credit at the time of retirement. These members must meet
the 15 or 20 year ACERA service credit requirements to be
eligible for the higher levels of the MMA.
Service Retirement Allowance Pending Determination of your
If eligible, you may apply for a regular service retirement
allowance pending the determination of your Application for
disability retirement.; You must be at least age 50 with ten (10)
years of credited service to be eligible for a service
retirement. If you are a Safety Member with 20 years of credited
service, you may apply for service retirement before you reach
age 50. Adjustments will be made to your allowance retirement
retroactive to your Effective Date, if applicable, if you are
found eligible for disability retirement.
If you are granted regular service retirement and found not
entitled to disability retirement, you will not be eligible to
return to your job because your employment terminates upon
accepting a regular service retirement.
Neither you nor your beneficiaries may receive more than one type
of retirement allowance for the same period of time.
Disability Retirement after Death
Your Beneficiary may continue your pending disability retirement
Application process if you die before the Board makes a final
determination on your Completed Application and/or before your
Election of Disability Retirement Allowance is executed.
The Beneficiary you designate in your ACERA Service File may
elect to continue the pending Application process on your behalf.
This Beneficiary must be your surviving spouse, state-registered
domestic partner, or Alameda County domestic partner, or minor
child through the age of 21, if such children remain unmarried
and are regularly enrolled as full-time students in an accredited
school. The Beneficiary must also complete and execute a
Continuation of Disability Retirement Proceedings After Death of
Upon a showing of good cause, the D.U. may accept such a
designation after ninety (90) days, however, in all cases where
no form is received, the Application will be deemed withdrawn
with prejudice six (6) months after the date of your death.
Supplemental Disability Allowance
The Board may pay a Supplemental Disability Allowance in lieu of
the full disability allowance if you are granted a disability
retirement and accept alternate County or Participating Employer
work with lower pay. Under such circumstances, the amount
of the Supplemental Disability Allowance is equal to the
difference between your salary in the former position and your
salary in the new position, not to exceed the amount of your
approved disability benefit.
COLA adjustments are applied to your Disability Allowance
when you retire.
Reciprocal Disability Benefits Processing
CERL ‘37 encourages career public service by granting reciprocal
retirement benefits to eligible members. If you have worked for
another California public retirement system and met necessary
requirements, your membership is reciprocal. Accordingly, there
is reciprocity in disability retirement benefits among Reciprocal
Systems, e.g., the CERL
‘37 Act Counties, the Public Employees’ Retirement Systems
(“PERS”), the State Teachers’ Retirement System, the Judges’
Retirement System, and the retirement systems of any other public
agency within the State of California that has established
reciprocity with PERS by meeting all necessary statutory
Generally, each Reciprocal System calculates its respective
obligations based upon your service with that entity and each
adjusts its payment on a pro rata basis. No retirement system or
political entity is liable for more than its just financial
obligation. Your combined reciprocal benefit will not be higher
than it would have been were all service credit earned in one
Safety Member Presumption
A legal presumption is a conclusion based upon a particular set
of facts. Certain diseases/disabilities are presumed to
arise out of and in the course of a Safety Member’s employment,
- Heart trouble
- Blood borne disease, and
- Exposure to biochemical substances
The Application and use of legal presumptions involve complex
legal and technical issues and detailed analysis that are beyond
the scope of this website or the Handbook. ACERA recommends that
you seek the advice of an attorney. You must act promptly to
avoid waiving valuable rights, if this applies to you.
Disability retirement benefits are subject to rules and
regulations by the US Treasury. While some disability retirement
benefits are considered taxable income, some are not.
- Disability retirement allowance payments for a Non-Service
Connected Disability retirement are considered taxable income.
- Disability retirement allowance payments for a Service
Connected Disability retirement that are equal to 50% or
less of your final average salary are not considered taxable
- If you, as a disabled Member, receive a service retirement
allowance higher than 50% of your final average salary, but
are eligible for an SCD retirement, the difference between
the service retirement allowance and the 50% of final
average salary is taxable. The remainder of the benefit
(i.e., the 50% of final average salary) is not taxable. SCD
benefits are excluded from taxable income, but service
retirement benefits are not.
IMPORTANT: State and federal tax laws are
subject to change without notice. It is not the purpose of this
Handbook to provide legal or tax advice.