In addition to your vested (guaranteed) benefits, ACERA offers retirees a range of non-guaranteed (non-vested) benefits. The levels of these benefits are reviewed each year by the Board of Retirement, are based on the availability of reserve funds, and may be reduced or eliminated at any time. Because the Board tries to keep these reserve funds sustainable, eligibility requirements for these benefits are also subject to change.
The current eligibility requirements are listed in the table, and you may want to consider these eligibility requirements in your retirement planning.
Eligibility Requirements for Non-Guaranteed Retiree Benefits
* Benefit Eligibility With Service-Connected Disability Retirement
If you apply for and are awarded a service-connected disability retirement, you will be eligible to receive the Monthly Medical Allowance at the 20-year level, the Medicare Part B Reimbursement Plan, the Dental Subsidy, and the Vision Subsidy 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.
Family Members and Healthcare Benefits
Retirees may enroll family members in ACERA healthcare plans. Survivors of ACERA retirees may maintain their enrollment in ACERA healthcare plans after the death of the retiree. One thing to note is that while family members and survivors can be enrolled, the healthcare subsidies described in the chart above can only be paid to offset the cost of the retiree’s healthcare coverage, not the family members or survivors.
All ACERA Service Credit Purchases and ACERA Redeposits Count Toward the ACERA Service Credit Requirement
Reciprocal Service Doesn’t Count Toward the Service Credit Requirement
When planning your retirement, it’s important to understand that reciprocal service credit does not count toward the service credit required to be eligible for the benefits in the table above. Reciprocal service credit is service credit you earned working for another public agency in California before or after your active membership with ACERA, and where you’ve linked the retirement systems together by establishing reciprocity. Service credit you earned in another retirement system could possibly be used to establish healthcare benefits with that system; contact that other retirement system to learn about what healthcare benefits they offer.