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.
Cost of Living
Adjustments are made to retirement allowances every April 1 in
accordance with County Employees Retirement Law of
year, the San Francisco Bay Area’s Consumer Price Index (CPI),
the most common measure of inflation, is used to calculate the
December 2017 and December 2018, the CPI for the Bay Area
increased by a rounded 4.50%.
The goal of the Supplemental Cost of Living Adjustment
(Supplemental COLA) is to maintain retirees’ purchasing power at
no less than 85% of their original retirement allowance. What
this means: if it takes more than $1.15 today to purchase what
$1.00 would purchase at the time of your retirement, you’ve lost
at least 15% of your buying power. When this occurs, you may
qualify for a Supplemental COLA to make up the difference and
bring you back to 85% of your buying power.
ACERA retired members, dependents, and survivors have the
opportunity to enroll in medical, dental, and vision plan
coverage. Additionally, members may be eligible for subsidies to
offset the costs of these plans.
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.
How Actively Working Employees Change Their Phone Numbers With
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
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.
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.
Life brings many changes. To name a few: changes in sleeping
patterns; changes in eating patterns; and changes in finances.
One change that some of us may face, is divorce or
state-registered domestic partnership dissolution. When that
happens, your ACERA benefits may be impacted.
Retired member associations sponsor newsletters and social events
for ACERA retirees and surviving beneficiaries. Members of these
associations normally attend ACERA Board and Committee meetings
and provide a report to the associations’ respective boards. The
associations also lobby on behalf of retirees. Membership is
optional. To request a membership application, contact the
association or ACERA Member Services.
ACERA partners with 1st United Services Credit Union to allow a
portion of your retirement allowance to be redirected to your
account with this financial institution. If you would like to
enroll or change your credit union deduction amount, please
contact 1st United Services Credit Union at 1‑800‑649‑0193 to
request an enrollment or change form.
CalPERS Long-Term Care Program is the nation’s only
voluntary, self-funded, not-for-profit program, which offers
extended care for you or a loved one who may need assistance with
basic activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, or
eating. Although this is a voluntary, non-ACERA-sponsored
program, you can elect to have the program’s premium paid
directly to CalPERS from your retirement allowance.
Retirees can name beneficiaries for the following benefits
payable upon the retiree’s death:
A continuance payment. The value is based on
the retirement option
you nominated at retirement.
A one-time lump-sum death benefit. This
benefit is vested. Currently, the maximum benefit provided is
Any retirement allowance earned but not yet paid to the
retiree at the time of the retiree’s death. This
benefit is pro-rated to cover the amount payable for the
portion of the month prior to the retiree’s death.
A refund of excess contributions. This benefit
is provided if the total payments made to the beneficiary are
less than the retiree’s
contributions and interest on deposit with ACERA. This is
not paid out if the beneficiary receives a continuance.
A refund of prepaid health payments that will not be
used. If a member’s check is not large enough to cover
health care premiums, in some instances he/she may be paying
ACERA two months in advance for the cost of those premiums. The
beneficiary will receive a refund of any payment not used.
These benefits are taxable. Beneficiaries will receive Form
1099® for income reporting purposes.
When you’re ready to retiree, during your Ready-to-Retire Counseling Session 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.
ACERA asks its members to name a beneficiary or beneficiaries, to whom benefits are payable in the event of death. It is important to keep your beneficiary designations current (addresses and phone numbers) to ensure timely payments are made to the appropriate individuals.
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.