Life Changes After Retirement

Overview

To ensure no interruption in your ACERA plan benefits, it is important to keep ACERA and your health plan providers informed of important life changes. This section describes the things you should consider and the steps to take when working through a range of events.

Overview

Name, Address, & Phone Change

Changing Your Name

Active and Deferred Members

If your current name doesn’t match your birth certificate, you must provide proof of name change before you can retire. This also includes your spouse or state-registered domestic partner.

We understand that in California, you have the common law right to change your name by the “usage method.” This means that you simply pick a new name and start using it consistently in all parts of your life (but this method cannot be used by people who are in state prison, on probation, on parole, or been a convicted sex offender, or to change a minor’s name).

However, due to the fight against identity theft, fraud and terrorism, changing ones name by the “use method” is highly scrutinized. Therefore, our member or his or her spouse or state-registered domestic partner has to comply with our requirements to show official name change.

Active members should also officially change their name with the employer (Human Resources department) so that it can be reflected in our pension database whenever your employer transmits data to us.

Deferred members should also complete the Address Name Change Form and submit it to ACERA.

Provide as many of the following documents as you can provide:
  • Proof of amended birth certificate.
  • Driver’s license and/ or passport with current name.
  • Proof of time of name change (such as school records with original and new names; professional license with original name; driver’s license with original name; passport with original name; social security card with original name; baptismal records, etc.)
How to Provide Documents
Mail copies of the documents to ACERA:

Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association
475 14th Street, Suite 1000
Oakland, California  94612-1916

QIC Code

22901

If you work for Alameda County or one of our employers that uses the QIC code system, feel free to send us documents via QIC.

Don’t Email Documents

Please refrain from emailing documents to ACERA as your personal documents contain personally identifying information and email is not the most secure way to transmit this information.

Retired Members

Retired members should complete the Address Name Change Form and submit it to ACERA.

 

Address Change

If you move to a new residence, temporarily relocate, or change your mailing address, ACERA will need your new address and contact information. The same goes if your phone numbers change. You should take the following steps, based on your membership status as an active, deferred or retired member.

Active Members

Update your address with your employer. Your employer is responsible for providing ACERA with updated information each pay period, including your current address.

Deferred Members

To change your address with ACERA, complete and return the Address Name Change Form to ACERA.

Retired Members and Others Receiving Monthly Payments (Payees)

To change your address with ACERA, complete and return the Address Name Change Form to ACERA.

If you move outside of California, you should cancel your withholding designations for California state income tax. ACERA cannot withhold your tax deductions for other states. To change your withholding, complete and return the Tax Withholding Designation Form (State of California) for the state of California to ACERA. Complete the form with an effective date in advance if possible, or, as soon as you have your new address information.

Send completed forms to ACERA’s mailing address in the blue footer at the bottom of the page.

A Note About Foreign Addresses  

If you are considering a move outside of the United States and want to avoid the possibility of 30% taxation on your pension, you must make sure you have the following documents on file with ACERA:  

  • U.S. Certified Birth Certificate, verifying you were born in the United States, or submit a W-9 Form (available through the ACERA website, www.acera.org, or by request from ACERA Member Services)  
  • Current U.S. Passport (stating U.S. Citizenship)  
  • If you are a non-Resident Alien, a copy of your green card  

A non-U.S. citizen or non-Resident Alien who will be residing at a non-U.S. address is subject to mandatory federal tax withholding from a U.S. income source at the rate of 30%. The IRS requires these individuals to complete and return a W-8BEN Form to ACERA. For non-citizens and non-Resident Aliens, a reduced tax rate including a total tax exemption may apply if there is a tax treaty between the non- U.S. resident’s country and the United States.

If you establish a relationship with a new financial institution due to your move, be sure to update your direct deposit information with ACERA. To establish and/or change your financial institution, complete and return a Direct Deposit Form to ACERA. The account must be in the payee’s name in order for ACERA to activate the direct deposit. Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) is not allowed for international transactions unless conducted from and to a U.S. owned bank.

Moving and Your Eligibility for ACERA Health Plan Coverage  

Eligibility for enrollment in an ACERA-sponsored medical and dental plan is affected by where you live because some of ACERA’s plans require you to live in their specific service areas. This may limit your options if you and/or your dependents live in a rural area within California or in another state. If you move, check with your current plan’s member services to confirm whether you live within the appropriate service area.  

If coverage is not offered through your current provider, it may be available through another ACERA provider. Contact ACERA or the plan providers directly to discuss your options. The plans’ member service contact numbers are listed on our Health Plan Contact Page and on the back cover of the ACERA Enrollment and Health Plan Brochure.

Once you determine there is an ACERA-sponsored plan available in your new area, contact ACERA Member Services to request the appropriate enrollment form(s). Forms must be completed and submitted in advance—or within 30 days—of the move to ensure no gaps in coverage.

If moving requires you to change medical plan providers, it could take up to a month to receive new ID cards. Be sure to fill your prescriptions and get doctors’ appointments out of the way before your move.

 

Phone Change

Active Members

First 5 and Housing Authority: If you work for First 5 and Housing Authority of Alameda County, you can change your home phone number in ACERA’s database by changing your home phone number with your employer—it will get transmitted automatically to ACERA. If you want to change your mobile or work number with ACERA, send us a letter in writing with your signature asking for it to be changed.

Alameda County, AHS, LARPD, Superior Courts: For all other agencies including Alameda County, if you want to change your home, mobile, or work number with ACERA, send us a letter in writing with your signature asking for it to be changed.

Deferred Members

As a deferred ACERA member, you’re no longer working for an ACERA participating employer but your’re not yet retired. If you want to change your home, mobile, or work number with ACERA, send us a letter in writing with your signature asking for it to be changed.

Retired Members and Beneficiaries

If you want to change your home, mobile, or work number with ACERA, send us a letter in writing with your signature asking for it to be changed.

Overview

Working After Retirement

You may work for any employer other than an ACERA participating employer for any amount of time without affecting your retirement allowance.

Working For an ACERA Participating Employer After Retirement Has Restrictions and Duration Limits

Note: Most of these limits have been suspended for the duration of the Governor’s declared emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The only remaining restriction during the emergency is the last restriction in the list. See our COVID-19 update page for more information.

Once you retire as an ACERA member, and begin receiving an ACERA benefit, there are rules, regulations, policies, and laws which govern your ability to return to work with an ACERA participating employer.

Retired members may not be paid for service to an ACERA Participating Employer and continue to receive their retirement allowances except in limited and specific circumstances. In situations where the participating employer believes an ACERA retiree possesses special skills or knowledge, the law allows the participating employer to hire that retiree on a temporary basis—for a limited duration and for a period of 960 hours per fiscal year—without suspending the retiree’s retirement allowance; however, the following restrictions apply:

  • You May Not Have a Prearranged Agreement to Return to Work: A member who retires cannot have a prearranged agreement (either written or oral) to return to work for the employer after retirement, regardless of the length of the break in service.
  • General Members Must Wait 180 Days: Regardless of your age at retirement, general ACERA members who have retired won’t be eligible to return to work (for a limited duration, in any capacity, in any form) for an ACERA employer for a period of 180 days following retirement, except under special circumstances. (This even applies to work under contract or via an employment agency).
    • If there are special circumstances, the employer can certify in writing it is necessary to fill a critically needed position and the hiring has been approved by the Board of Supervisors or governing body of the Participating Employer in an open public meeting and not on the consent calendar.
  • Safety Members Under 50 Must Wait 90 Days: ACERA safety members cannot return to work within 90 days of retirement if they retire at an age younger than 50, except under special circumstances, under IRS rules.
  • You May Not Work For More Than 960 Hours Per Fiscal Year: An eligible retiree may return to work for a limited duration of time with a participating employer and for a period of 960 hours or less in any fiscal year and continue to receive his/her retirement allowance. Sometimes this is called becoming a “Retired Annuitant.” During this limited duration post-retirement employment, the member will not accrue any additional ACERA service credit or pension benefits, nor will the member or the employer pay contributions for this service.
  • Your Pay Must Fall Within the Range of Other Employees Performing Comparable Duties
  • All Incentivized Retirees (General and Safety) Must Wait 180 Days: ACERA members who received a retirement incentive, such as a golden handshake or early separation program payoff, won’t be eligible to work for an ACERA employer for a period of 180 days following retirement.
  • You Cannot Have Collected Unemployment Compensation Within the Prior 12 Months: You are not eligible to return to work if you have collected unemployment compensation arising out of prior employment with a public agency during the 12 months before your appointment to the position with one of ACERA’s participating employers.

If You Return to Work For an ACERA Employer, You Can’t Get Medical Subsidies For Via Benefits Healthcare Plans

If you an ACERA retiree who is enrolled in an individual plan through the Via Benefits, the Affordable Care Act disallows ACERA from providing premium and other reimbursements (such as the Monthly Medical Allowance) during time of employment. However, if you are in a group plan such as through Kaiser Permanente or UnitedHealthcare, you can still receive medical subsidies.

Working After Retirement May Affect Social Security

Working after retirement may affect your Social Security benefit. Check the Social Security website for more information.

Overview

Other Life Changes

Marriage or Registration of Domestic Partnership After Retirement

If you get married or register a domestic partner with the California Secretary of State after you retire, you may want to designate your new spouse/partner as your beneficiary, because as an ACERA retiree, you have certain benefits that will be paid at your death. However, in the Election of Retirement Allowance Form you signed at the time of retirement, you made elections regarding your nominated beneficiaries. Those beneficiaries you designated to receive continued monthly payments (continuance) after your death cannot be changed, even upon divorce, dissolution of domestic partnership, or your beneficiary’s death. Beneficiaries designated for death benefits other than a continuance may be changed at any time.

To change your beneficiary, complete and return an ACERA Retired Member Beneficiary Designation Form. Also, you will be required to provide ACERA with a copy of your marriage certificate and your spouse/partner’s birth verification. If you die, it may be needed for benefit payment to your spouse/partner.

Birth, Adoption, Guardianship

If you have a baby or adopt a child as a retired member, you may wish to designate your child as a plan beneficiary. To do so, complete and return an ACERA Retired Member Beneficiary Designation Form. In addition, while not required, you may wish to provide ACERA with a copy of your child’s birth verification.

Conservatorship

A conservatorship is a legal status, which arises when a person (or organization) requests a judge to appoint him/ her to protect and manage another’s care or finances. The person or organization appointed is called the “conservator.” The person who will be cared for or otherwise provided for is called the “conservatee.” In many cases, elderly individuals, or individuals regardless of age who have mental or physical incapacities are conservatees. Some conservatees need help because they cannot provide for their own hygiene, nutritional needs, or home care.Some need help with their finances, bill payment, and/or investments.  

Conservators may be family members, friends, or professional organizations that specialize in assisting others. For example, local non-profit organizations with departments that service the elderly may serve as conservators. The Judicial Council of California and many California courts publish brochures, which explain the role of conservators and provide information on initiating the conservatorship process. For more information, contact:  

  • Alameda County Bar Association, 70 Washington Street, Suite 200, Oakland, CA 94607, 510-302-ACBA (2222)  
  • Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-865-7745

Eldercare

Eldercare is a term used to describe a host of programs and services designed to address the needs of seniors. There are a wide array of programs and services available. A summary of just some of the services offered under the umbrella of “Eldercare” is included below:  

  • Adult Day Care. Centers are designed to provide care and companionship for seniors who need assistance or supervision during the day.
  • Assisted Living. Housing alternatives for older adults who may need help with dressing, bathing, eating, and toileting, but do not require the intensive medical and nursing care provided in nursing homes.  
  • Home Health Care. Assistance for seniors, which enables them to live independently for as long as possible, given the limits of their medical condition. It covers a wide range of services and can often delay the need for long-term nursing home care. More specifically, home health care may include occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy, and even skilled nursing.  
  • Hospice Programs. Designed to help terminally ill individuals live their remaining days with dignity. These programs can assist the family (or other designated caregiver) in making the patient as comfortable as possible, and assistance is available around the clock, seven days a week.  
  • Government Transportation Programs. Programs sponsored by local governments, such as Alameda County or East Bay Paratransit Transportation Services. Contact 1-800-555-8085 for more information.

Power of Attorney (POA)

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that provides another person (often a relative or a friend) the authority to make decisions and act on your behalf. The person you identify is called an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.” In the POA you are called the “principal.”  

The POA does not strip you of your own power or authority to act on your on behalf. Instead, it just means that another person can also act for you. For example, you may want to create a POA to handle just your health care matters, or real estate and financial matters as well. Alternatively, you can create a general POA to handle all your matters. Although you can revoke, change, or terminate the POA, you should be careful to identify an agent you trust whenever you sign a POA. You may want to consult an attorney before creating a POA.

Overview

Report a Death

We are deeply sorry for your loss.

To report the death of an ACERA member or a beneficiary receiving a monthly retirement or continuance payment, you may call ACERA during our office hours, or use the form below; we will need answers to a few questions in order to complete our death benefits process. If you use the form below, you will automatically receive an email copy of your submission.

Once we complete our process, we will notify beneficiaries of death benefits by mail.

Deceased Member/Person's Information