A Few Things to Know About Your Upcoming Retirement Allowance
1-60 Days Before Retirement
Here are a few final things to know about your upcoming retirement and lifetime retirement allowance.
Your First Retirement Check
Once your retirement date passes (the date you chose and wrote on your retirement application), you’re retired! Your first retirement check will be issued 4-6 weeks after your last employer paycheck. It will be a paper check you receive in the mail.
In most cases, if you followed our retirement preparation recommendations and scheduled a Ready-to-Retire Counseling session 3-4 months in advance of your retirement date, your first payment will be your full 100% retirement allowance amount. However, if there are any major issues with your file, such as missing documentation, divorce orders pending, late service credit purchase, etc., you may be paid 80% payments until all issues are resolved. Once resolved, your allowance will be adjusted and a retro amount will be paid for any payments you received under your final 100% payment amount.
You Will Receive Your Retirement Allowance Payments From ACERA Every Month for the Rest of Your Life
Retirement allowances are paid on a monthly basis, on the last business day of each month.
You Must Sign Up for Direct Deposit to Receive Your Monthly Retirement Allowance
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. Submit a direct deposit form at the time of retirement to set up direct deposit into your account.
You Can Expect an Annual Increase to Your Retirement Allowance Called a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
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 for all retirees and payees. 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. This is a vested benefit.
See the COLA page in the Retirees section for current COLA information.
ACERA also currently provides a non-guaranteed Supplemental COLA that maintains retirees’ purchasing power at no less than 85% of their original retirement allowance.
Expect to Pay Taxes (Unless You Move Outside the U.S.)
Your ACERA retirement benefit allowance may be subject to federal and state income tax. As a part of the retirement application process, you will complete IRS form W-4P (Withholding Certificate for Pension Annuity Payments). Be sure to read the instructions carefully, and consult your tax advisor if you have questions. You can update your withholding after retirement at any time by completing a new IRS Form W-4P.
Your ACERA income will be reported to you each year in January via a 1099-R form.
See our Tax Considerations page for more information.