As you plan for retirement, keep these things in mind:
Get an estimate of your retirement allowance by exploring alternative retirement dates and other factors using Web Member Services. Click on the Your Personal Account button on any page or visit our Get an Estimate page for more information.
Once you’re eligible to retire, you can select any date as your retirement date. Retirement begins the day after your last day on paid status with your participating employer, provided ACERA receives your retirement application before that date.
Since your retirement benefit allowance is calculated based on three factors—age, length of service, and final average salary—there are a few things to consider when selecting your effective retirement date.
When you’re ready to retire, follow this checklist.
Attend a Pre-Retirement Seminar
This seminar covers a wealth of information about ACERA membership, retirement allowance benefit formulas, purchasing service, retirement allowance options, retiree health, dental and vision coverage and much more. We recommend you attend this seminar within five years prior to retirement. Visit our Retirement Planning Seminars page to sign up.
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.
At retirement, you will complete 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.
When you are within 60 days of your chosen retirement date, you may complete and submit an ACERA retirement application. On your retirement application you will write your chosen retirement date as well as choose a beneficiary or beneficiaries for continuance death benefits. You can even submit an application the day before you retire.
Retirement allowances are paid on a monthly basis. ACERA mandates signing up for direct deposit, so that your monthly check will be deposited directly into your bank account. Direct deposit is easy, safe, and reliable, and can save you time and money. You will receive a monthly Electronic File Transfer (EFT) statement in the mail each month whenever you are paid through direct deposit. This process ensures the receipt of funds, especially in the case of a natural disaster, Post Office delivery delays, or theft.
A cost of living adjustment (“COLA”) is made annually in accordance with the changes in the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) for the San Francisco Bay Area. Adjustments are made annually on April 1. Allowances may be increased up to a maximum yearly limit of 3% for tier 1 and 3 members and 2% for tier 2 and 4 members.
See the COLA page in the Retirees section for current COLA information.