When you’re ready to retire, follow this checklist.
Attend a Pre-Retirement Seminar
This seminar covers a wealth of information about ACERA membership, retirement allowance benefit formulas, purchasing service, retirement allowance options, retiree health, dental and vision coverage and much more. We recommend you attend this seminar within five years prior to retirement. Visit our Retirement Planning Seminars page to sign up.
Consider Purchasing Service Credit
You may have eligible time that you can purchase as service credit. Please review the section on Purchasing Service Credit on our Service Credit page.
Address Any Community Property Settlements
ACERA cannot pay your full retirement allowance if community property was earned and you are now divorced or you’ve dissolved your state-registered domestic partnership without a court order instructing how to pay an ex-spouse or ex-domestic partner, or an agreed upon waiver of interest. Please review our page on Divorce or Domestic Partnership Dissolution Before Retirement for more information on how your account will be impacted by a divorce and how to resolve any outstanding items.
Contact Any Agencies You Have Reciprocity With
Be sure to also contact the reciprocal agency as you will need to apply for those benefits separately, but for the same concurrent retirement date. For more information on reciprocal retirement, see our Reciprocity page.
Schedule a One-on-One Counseling Session
ACERA conducts Ready-to-Retire One-On-One Counseling Sessions for members who are retiring within the next 4 months, and it’s a good idea to call us 3-4 months ahead of time to schedule one. Click here for more information on scheduling.
ACERA must have a COPY of these documents on file before you can retire, so please submit them on or before your retirement date. Failure to submit the needed documents may delay the processing of your retirement benefits. You can provide ACERA with many of these documents at any point during your career. Please also review the Forms to Complete For Retirement page.
At retirement, 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.
Unmodified Option: Provides the Maximum Monthly Lifetime Benefit
Benefit paid to retiree
Maximum allowance provided for retiree’s lifetime, based on age, service credit, and final average salary.
Benefit paid to beneficiary on retiree’s death
For spouse/state-registered domestic partner with whom retiree was married/registered at least one year before retirement, lifetime monthly allowance of 60% of retiree’s allowance at time of death.
If the retiree was on a service-connected disability retirement, the benefit is 100% of retiree’s retirement allowance at the time of death for a spouse or state-registered domestic partner that was married to the member at time of retirement for any amount of time.
For minor child(ren), collective monthly allowance of 60% (or 100% for member who retired on service-connected disability) of retiree’s allowance at time of death, payable to the minor child(ren) until the minor marries/registers or reaches age 18 (or age 22 if enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited school).
For a beneficiary other than a spouse/state-registered domestic partner or minor child, a one-time, lump-sum payment of retiree’s accumulated contributions and interest, minus monthly retirement payments already paid.
If named beneficiary dies before retiree
Upon retiree’s death, alternate or newly named beneficiary will only receive lump-sum payment of retiree’s accumulated contributions and interest, minus monthly payments already paid.
The temporary added annuity is a temporary increase in retirement benefit for members who retire younger than age 62. Members who see the most benefit retire significantly under age 62. Members retiring near 62 (like at 61) will probably not find much advantage in this benefit.
The amount of the temporary increase in retirement benefit is based on a the Social Security Administration estimates your social security benefit to be if you take the early retirement at age 62.