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Which Tier Are You In?

ACERA has several benefit levels, or “tiers.”  Which tier you’re in depends on what employer you work for and your date of entry when you entered ACERA membership. Your tier determines your set of age factors and your final compensation period in the retirement formula, and affects your employee contribution rate.

Below are the tiers and effective dates of each participating employer plan. Safety Members are sworn officers like sheriff’s deputies and probation officers. General Members are all other members.

ACERA Tiers

Participating Employers Who is in Each Tier
Alameda County

Tier 1: general and safety members with an entry date prior to July 1,1983

 

Tier 2

  • Tier 2A:  general members with an entry date on or after July 1, 1983 through December 31, 2012
  • Tier 2B: safety members with an entry date on or after July 1, 1983 through October 16, 2010
  • Tier 2C and 2D: safety members with an entry date on or after October 17, 2010 through December 31, 2012 (Tier 2D members made a selection for that tier.)

Tier 4: general and safety members with entry dates on or after January 1, 2013

Alameda Health System

 

Superior Court

 

First Five

Tier 1: general members with an entry date prior to July 1, 1983

 

Tier 2A: general members with an entry date on or after July 1, 1983 through December 31, 2012

 

Tier 4: general members with an entry date on or after January 1, 2013

Housing Authority

Tier 1:  general members with entry dates prior to September 30, 2011

 

Tier 2A:  general members with an entry date on or after September 30, 2011 through December 31, 2012

 

Tier 4:  general members with an entry date on or after January 1, 2013

Livermore Area Recreation and Park District

Tier 1: general members with an entry date prior to October 1, 2008

 

Tier 3: general members with entry date October 1, 2008 through December 31, 2012 or who transitioned from tier 1 to tier 3.

 

Tier 4: general members with entry date on or after January 1, 2013

 

Below is a table showing the age factor percentage ranges for each of ACERA’s tiers. For more on how the age factor percentages affect your retirement, visit our page on Age Factors.

Tiers and Age Factor Percentage Ranges

Tier Min. Age
Factor % at Age
Max. Age
Factor % at Age

Final Comp. Period
for Salary Calc.

General tier 1* 1.33% at 50 2.61% at 62 1 year
General tier 2A 1.18% at 50 2.43% at 65 3 years
General tier 3 (LARPD)* 2.00% at 50 2.50% at 55 1 year
General tier 4 1.00% at 52 2.50% at 67 3 years
Safety tier 1* 1.87% at 41 3.00% at 50 1 year
Safety tier 2B* 1.87% at 41 3.00% at 50 3 years
Safety tier 2C* 1.25% at 41 2.62% at 55 3 years
Safety tier 2D* 1.43% at 41 3.00% at 55 3 years
Safety tier 4 2.00% at 50 2.70% at 57 3 years
 *closed 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.
  • 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 hired 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.

Dual Membership Service (Split Tier Membership)

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:

  1. Complete a redeposit of the withdrawn tier 1 funds;
  2. Apply for tier 1 restoration with ACERA; and
  3. Pay the cost to convert all tier 2 contributions to tier 1.

On 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.

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