ACERA has several benefit levels known as tiers. Your tier depends on your employer and your entry date into ACERA membership, which is the first day of your second pay period in your full-time, retirement-eligible position. Your tier determines your set of age factors, your final compensation period for the retirement formula, and your maximum COLA amount, and affects your employee contribution rate. Find your tier below. Safety Members are sworn officers like sheriff’s deputies and probation officers. General Members are all other members.
Your Entry Date Determines Your Tier
Your ACERA entry date determines your tier. Log in to your account to verify your entry date.
Alameda County, AHS, First 5, Courts
Final Comp. Period
General tier 1ǂ
1.33% at 50
2.61% at 62
General tier 2A*
1.18% at 50
2.43% at 65
General tier 3 (LARPD)*
2.00% at 50
2.50% at 55
General tier 4
1.00% at 52
2.50% at 67
Safety tier 1*
1.87% at 41
3.00% at 50
Safety tier 2Bǂ
1.87% at 41
3.00% at 50
Safety tier 2C*
1.25% at 41
2.62% at 55
Safety tier 2D*
1.43% at 41
3.00% at 55
Safety tier 4
2.00% at 50
2.70% at 57
ǂ Closed tiers
* Closed tiers to non-reciprocal new members entering membership after 12/31/2012
More on Tiers
Reciprocity May Put You in an Earlier Tier
With the exception of Tier 1 and Tier 2B, the entry date for members with reciprocity is the day that you first entered membership with the first reciprocal system; this entry date is what is used to determine your tier per the ACERA Tiers chart above. However, because Tier 1 and Tier 2B are closed, reciprocal members will enter ACERA as follows:
All general members with an entry date into a reciprocal system on or before December 31, 2012 (including members with entry dates prior to July 1, 1983) will enter ACERA in Tier 2A. (Livermore Area Recreation and Park District employees will enter Tier 3.)
All safety members with an entry date into a reciprocal system on or before December 31, 2012 (including members with entry dates prior to July 1, 1983), will have 45 days from the first date of their safety membership with ACERA to make a permanent selection between Tier 2C and Tier 2D.
All general and safety members with a entry date into the first reciprocal system on or after January 1, 2013, will enter ACERA in Tier 4.
Previous Work May Put You in an Earlier Tier
For current members who were hired on or after January 1, 2013 and who had a former ACERA membership, regardless of whether membership contributions were refunded, ACERA will use your original entry date from your first ACERA membership to determine your tier if you return to work for any ACERA Participating Employer within 6 months of terminating employment or if you return to work for your original Participating Employer at any time.
Members who leave one ACERA Participating Employer, defer their membership (by leaving their retirement contributions on deposit with ACERA), and are hired by a different ACERA Participating Employer 6 or more months after terminating their employment will have a split tier; their original service credit earned will remain under their previous tier, but any new service credit they earn will be in Tier 4.
Members who leave one ACERA Participating Employer, terminate their membership (by taking a refund of their employee retirement contributions), and are hired by a different ACERA Participating Employer 6 or more months after terminating their employment will enter ACERA in Tier 4.
Safety Members and Split Tiers
If you have service as both a General and Safety member and/or service among different tiers, ACERA will do a retirement calculation for each category. For example, if you have service credit under both General and Safety, ACERA will do two retirement calculations, each using your service credit and age factor percentage from each membership; we’ll then combine the dollar amounts from each calculation into your single retirement allowance amount.
Members with Tier 1 and Tier 2 split tier membership may be able to convert Tier 2 service time to Tier 1; see below.
Former Tier 1 Members Can Buy Back Into Tier 1, Also Known as Aquilino Conversion
If you are a tier 2 member who previously withdrew tier 1 contributions, you have the opportunity to redeposit and restore your tier 1 benefits under a Marin County lawsuit known as the Aquilino decision. This decision only affects ACERA tier 2 members who were in tier 1, terminated their membership, withdrew all tier 1 contributions, and later re-entered ACERA on or after July 1, 1983, as tier 2 members.
To have tier 1 benefits reinstated, eligible members must:
Complete a redeposit of the withdrawn tier 1 funds;
Apply for tier 1 restoration with ACERA; and
Pay the cost to convert all tier 2 contributions to tier 1.
Upon application for tier 1 restoration, ACERA will compute a conversion adjustment based on the difference between the contributions the member would have paid under tier 1 and those paid under tier 2. The additional interest that would have been earned under tier 1 will also be included in the calculation. This will be the cost to convert the contributions. If you do not choose to convert your current membership, your retirement allowance will be based on tier 1 for redeposited membership, and tier 2 for current membership.
For more information on the Aquilino tier 1 restoration process and an application form, contact us.