New to ACERA?



Your pension plan is working for you while you’re working for the residents of Alameda County.

Your eligible position with Alameda County or one of our other participating employers grants you automatic membership in ACERA. As a member, you’re part of a program designed to help you achieve a secure future, earning retirement benefits you can count on.


Your pension is unique and highly valuable.

When you retire from ACERA, you receive monthly payments for the rest of your life. Because ACERA’s pension plan is well managed and financially strong, your benefits will be there as long as you need them. We also offer survivor protection and access to retiree health care coverage.


A pension plan has some key advantages.

Your pension will last for your lifetime, no matter how long you live. This means you don’t have to worry about running out of money in retirement.

And because your pension is professionally invested, you don’t have to make complex investment decisions.


How does it work?

Your pension benefit is funded by your contributions, your employer’s contributions, and investment earnings.

The amount of your monthly payments depends on your years of service under ACERA employers, your average salary, and your age at retirement. Generally speaking, as long as you work for a participating employer, your years of service keep adding up and your pension benefits keep growing.

Combined with Social Security and your personal savings, there’s a great chance you will be ready for retirement on your terms…. when you want to retire.


How much will your pension be in retirement?

For a general idea of what percentage of your working salary your pension will replace in retirement, first find your tier, and then click the button below for your tier. (Almost all new employees will be in Tier 4.) Find where your years of service credit and age at retirement will intersect on the income replacement table to learn what percentage of your working salary you can look forward to in retirement.

General Members
(Everyone except sheriff’s deputies & probation officers)
Tier 1 Tier 2A Tier 3 Tier 4

Safety Members
(Sheriff’s deputies and probation officers)
Tiers 1 & 2B Tier 2C Tier 2D Tier 4


How much does it cost?

You will pay a percentage of each paycheck into the retirement fund. Contributions are mandatory, and you can’t pay more or less than your required contribution. Click for your employee contribution rate.  
Contribution Rates


What happens if you leave before retirement?

If you stop working for a participating employer and are vested (you’ve earned 5 full time years of service credit), you still get pension benefits at your eligible retirement age if you leave your account balance with ACERA.

If you terminate employment with your ACERA participating employer, you are eligible to withdraw your employee pension contributions, including interest. However, you will forfeit any future pension benefits, and you may owe taxes and penalties. More options here.


Checklist: What do you have to do to start benefitting from your pension?

Here are a few very simple steps for you to take to enhance the value of your pension benefit.

To Do In Your First Few Weeks of ACERA Membership

  • Nothing. If you’ve watching the orientation video above and read through this page, you don’t really need to do anything further until you receive your Welcome Letter from ACERA about 7 weeks after your start date. But if you’re still curious…
  • (Optional) Learn more about your pension. Explore our Understanding Your ACERA Benefits section.
  • (Optional) Plan your future retirement. Use our step by step process to plan additional savings in our Planning Your Future Retirement Income section. You might be able to retire earlier than you think!

To Do After You Receive Your Welcome Letter From ACERA

(About 7 weeks after your start date)

  • Complete your ACERA Welcome Form (Mandatory). Every ACERA member must fill out the ACERA Welcome Form. This quick, 5-minute form not only helps us tailor our services to you but also allows you to nominate beneficiaries for ACERA death benefits and helps you understand the crucial concept of reciprocity.
  • Establish your online pension account. Your account will allow you to keep track of the service credit that you’re earning, your contributions to the retirement system, and the beneficiaries you’ve named, plus you can get estimates on your future retirement payments. While you’re in there, make sure all your information is correct. Establish your account here.
  • Designate your beneficiary, the person who will receive your ACERA death benefits. You can do this on your ACERA Welcome Form while you’re completing it. Update your beneficiary any time when your life changes with our Beneficiary Form.
  • Consider purchasing service credit. If you have time eligible for purchase, consider purchasing service credit.

Don’t have your beneficiary’s Social Security Number? Don’t worry! If you don’t have all of your beneficiary’s information like their date of birth and social security number at the time you fill out the ACERA Welcome Form or the Beneficiary Form, don’t worry; fill out as much information as you can. The minimum we need is their name and relationship to you, and we can collect the rest later. It’s much more important for you to designate your beneficiary so that we can pay the correct person efficiently in the event of your death.

To Do Any Time

Handouts / Flyers