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Things to Consider Before Deciding When to Retire (or Enter DROP)

Date: Mar 11, 2022 Categories: Retirement Resources

A common question we get from our members is, “when should I retire/enter DROP?” Unfortunately, this is a question we cannot answer for you. What we can do is point out certain factors you should take into account when making this decision for yourself, but ultimately, it is a decision you must make on your own. Here are a few important considerations that may affect your decision:COLA – the annual cost of living adjustment (“COLA”) applies to all retirees’ monthly pension benefit every July 1st and may increase your benefit up to 2%. Some members choose to retire on or before June 30th so that their benefit receives the COLA immediately after their retirement.Annual Interest – on the flip side, some members wait to retire until after June 30th of a given year so that their contribution account receives the annual interest (currently 6.5%), which only applies to members who are not retired on July 1st. The additional interest added to a member’s COL Annuity and Surviving Spouse Annuity contributions may increase their initial benefit calculation even more than the COLA would have, had they retired before July 1st.Salary Increases – did you recently receive a significant salary increase? If so, you may want to continue working and receiving that higher salary for a longer time period before retiring, so that the higher salary is factored into your benefit calculation. Remember, depending on your plan tier, the “Final Compensation” used to calculate your benefit is your highest pensionable salary averaged over either three years or 12 consecutive months. Therefore, if you retire shortly after receiving a raise, it won’t significantly increase your pension benefit.Birthday – your retirement factor, another element of your pension benefit formula, is determined based on your plan tier and age at retirement, prorated in quarterly increments. When deciding on your retirement date, consider your exact age – for example, if your plan tier’s retirement factor increases between 60 and 61, and you retire when you are 60 years and 6 months old, the factor used in your benefit calculation will be slightly higher than what would be used if you retired at 60 years and 5 months old. (Note: Your quarter age is rounded down for the purposes of this calculation.) Of course, all of these considerations must be balanced by your personal circumstances and desires – such as the minimum post-retirement income you can comfortably live with and how much longer you want to continue working. Learn More...

Active Member Beneficiaries & the Importance of Keeping Your Beneficiaries Updated

Date: Feb 24, 2022 Categories: Member Portal, Pension, Retirement Resources

When was the last time you thought about your SDCERS beneficiary designations? Over a year ago? Five years? The day you enrolled in SDCERS? Maybe never? Beneficiary designations may seem like a chore you can put off or do once and forget about, but the truth is you should review your beneficiary designations at least once a year to make sure they reflect your current circumstances. For example, beneficiary designations probably aren’t the first thing on your mind when you get married or divorced, have a child, or lose a loved one, but these are all defining life events that may affect who you want to receive your pension benefits when you die. Active Members (meaning those who are actively employed by the City, Port,* or Airport and contributing to SDCERS, but are not in DROP) are eligible to leave one of three types of death benefits if they die before retiring or entering DROP, and the eligibility requirements are very specific for two of the three types. Importantly, if you die without having designated your surviving spouse as your sole primary beneficiary, then your surviving spouse will not be eligible to receive the lifetime Death While Eligible or Industrial Death Benefit, even if all other eligibility requirements are satisfied. Below is a summary of the death benefits provided to Active Members, but please review the Death Benefits Fact Sheet for more in-depth information.   *General Port employees hired or rehired on or after January 1, 2009 must complete five consecutive years of Port employment after each hire or rehire date before they become Members of SDCERS and are eligible to leave a death benefit.Active Death Benefit – Paid upon the death of a Member who is not yet eligible to retire and whose death is not related to work (or in the event all pre-requisites for the Death While Eligible or Industrial Death Benefit are not satisfied).Death While Eligible Benefit – Paid upon the death of a Member who is already eligible to retire when they die and whose death is not related to work.Industrial Death Benefit – Paid upon the death of a Member whose death is due to work-related causes, as determined by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.(Please review the full article and/or the Death Benefits Fact Sheet for more information about these death benefits.) As you can imagine, it may take a while to sort out who gets what if you die without updating your beneficiary designations. Luckily, designating a beneficiary is quick, easy, and you can do it from home by logging in to your SDCERS Member Portal account and clicking “Beneficiary Information” from the left menu. You will be able to name beneficiaries to receive different types of death benefits depending on if you are active, in DROP, or retired. You can designate both a primary and an alternate beneficiary. When you die, your primary beneficiary is first in line to collect the death benefit, while your alternate receives the benefit only if the primary is already deceased. For most death benefits, you can name multiple beneficiaries and designate a specific percentage of the benefit to each person. If you choose to do this, make sure your percentages add up to 100%. Lastly, you may also designate a trust to receive any death benefit that is not a continuance or an annuity. However, you will be required to provide SDCERS with a copy of the trust or certificate of trust.   Learn More...

Information for City of San Diego Members Who Are Considering Terminating Employment (Due to Vaccine Mandates or Otherwise)

Date: Oct 27, 2021 Categories: News Articles, Pension, Press Release, Retirement Resources

If you are considering ending your employment with the City, due to the pending vaccine mandates or for any other reason, please review our Termination & Deferred Membership fact sheet as well as your plan tier’s Retirement Plan Summary, according to your plan sponsor, membership classification, and initial hire date.   Whether you are terminated for cause or voluntarily end your employment, the circumstances surrounding your departure do not affect your eligibility to receive any SDCERS pension benefits to which you are entitled. As long as you accrue enough service credit (including purchased and reciprocal service credit) to meet your plan tier’s minimum eligibility requirements, you can begin receiving your monthly pension benefit as soon as you become age-eligible. Again, please refer to your Retirement Plan Summary for information about eligibility requirements, as they differ according to plan sponsor and plan tier. You can also log in to your Member Portal account to see if you are currently service-eligible and also to use the benefit estimate calculator, which you can use to run different retirement scenarios and see an estimate of what your monthly pension benefit might be according to each scenario.   If you are (or will be) service and age-eligible to retire when you separate employment, and you are not currently participating in DROP, please submit your electronic service retirement application via your Member Portal account ASAP. You must have a counseling appointment and submit your completed, signed retirement application (not the electronic version – the final application you will discuss with your counselor at your appointment) prior to your retirement date. Ideally, your retirement date should be the day after your termination date. However, if your final application is dated and submitted later, the delayed submission will result in missed days of pension payments.   If you are currently participating in DROP, your retirement date will automatically be the day after your termination date – this is true regardless of if you quit your job or if you are fired. You do need to submit an electronic DROP retirement application and meet with a counselor as soon as possible after termination, but this does not necessarily need to happen prior to your termination date. In this case, a DROP retirement application submitted after your termination date will not result in missed days of pension payments, but it could delay your payments altogether until we have received the requisite paperwork from you.   If you are service-eligible, but not age-eligible to retire upon termination, you do not need an appointment just yet – you will become a “deferred vested” member once you separate employment. No matter where you are in the world, you will be eligible to retire and begin receiving your monthly pension benefit when you become age-eligible. Please log in to your Member Portal account a few months before you become age-eligible and submit your service retirement application. Submitting the electronic application will trigger a staff member to contact you and schedule your retirement counseling appointment.   If you are not service-eligible to retire when you terminate employment and you have no intention of establishing reciprocity elsewhere, you should consider your options regarding your member contributions on deposit with SDCERS. You can leave the funds with SDCERS, where they will earn annual interest at the current discount rate every July (the current rate at the time this article was written is 6.5%), or you can withdraw or rollover the funds (including interest) to an eligible account. If possible, it would be best to schedule a retirement counseling appointment prior to your termination, where your counselor will explain your options in more detail. However, please note that our counseling schedule is typically very busy in November and December, so be sure to plan in advance and review the relevant information on our website ASAP. To schedule an appointment due to terminating employment, you can contact our Call Center, open on regular business days from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., at (619) 525-3600. Learn More...

Fiscal Year 2022 City Retiree Health Open Enrollment

Date: May 24, 2021 Categories: Events, Health, News Articles, Press Release, Retirement Resources

Health open enrollment for City of San Diego retirees will run from June 1st through June 30th. As of May 24th, the fiscal year 2022 City retiree health booklets were mailed out to all eligible City retirees and beneficiaries. An electronic version of the booklet is available here, and the health plan comparison chart here. You can also download and complete enrollment forms by visiting the City Retiree Health page. After you’ve completed an enrollment (or disenrollment) form, you must send it to SDCERS by June 30th – we prefer you scan your forms and email them as a PDF attachment to health@sdcers.org, but you may also fax them to (858) 581-5314 or mail them to our offices at:   SDCERS – Health Division 401 West A Street, Suite 400 San Diego, CA 92101   As always, if you do not wish to make any changes to your current healthcare coverage, you do not need to take any action during open enrollment and your coverage will remain the same. There are no new plans this year and no significant changes to existing plans in terms of coverage.   Due to the continuing ban on public gatherings, this year’s open enrollment will similar to last year’s: SDCERS will not be holding in-person open enrollment events, such as the annual Open Enrollment Kickoff or Help Day. Instead, SDCERS participated in a virtual health fair hosted by SDPEBA (San Diego Public Employee Benefit Association), which was held on June 2nd.   Additionally, plan providers once again recorded the presentations they would have given at SDCERS’ live open enrollment events. You can access their videos via this page on our website.   If you are comparing different plans and trying to decide which is best for you, don’t forget about CareCounsel! CareCounsel Member Care Specialists are available for your healthcare inquiries and concerns. You can call them at (888) 227-3334 or e-mail staff@carecounsel.com Monday – Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST. CareCounsel also provides helpful videos on their website that may answer your questions about Medicare, here: https://carecounsel.com/medicare.html.   SDCERS’ Call Center is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at (619) 525-3600 and (800) 774-4977. Please be patient with our hard-working staff; we are working with limited resources and call wait times may be longer than usual due to an expected increase in health-related calls. Learn More...

Call Center is Open, But Office Remains Closed

Date: Jul 20, 2020 Categories: News Articles, Press Release, Retirement Resources

SDCERS staff is here to assist you – we just can’t see you in person. The Call Center's "new" hours are from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. You can also submit non-urgent questions or concerns via our Contact Us page, and we will respond within one business day.   We appreciate your patience. The majority of SDCERS staff are still required to telecommute and our offices remain closed to members and the public.   Retirement counseling appointments are being held via phone and document signing takes place via email exchange. If you already have a retirement counseling appointment scheduled, you will be contacted in advance with details. If you have recently submitted your online application, you will be contacted soon to schedule your appointment.   If you are thinking about retiring soon, please review the fact sheets, FAQs, and videos on our website, which will help answer many of your questions in advance. Keep an eye out for retirement educational webinars, which are announced periodically via your work email. You can also estimate your future retirement benefit by using the Benefit Calculator on the Member Portal. If you have not already registered on our secure Member Portal, click on “Register” on the Member Portal page and follow the registration instructions.   Once you have reviewed all of the pertinent information, if you want to schedule a retirement counseling appointment, you must submit an online retirement application through your Member Portal account by clicking “Online Applications” on the left panel. Keep in mind this electronic application is not final – your submission simply prompts us to contact you to schedule a counseling appointment.  CITY RETIREE HEALTH REIMBURSEMENTS: City Retiree Health Reimbursement requests are being processed as usual. For fastest processing, submit your documents via email (attached as a PDF) to health@sdcers.org. Do NOT use health@sandiego.gov, as this email no longer forwards to health@sdcers.org. Please ensure you have submitted complete documents – we continue to receive incomplete submissions, which cannot be processed and result in delayed reimbursements.  Note: If you are using an Apple product to send the email, in Mail, please select "Format" and click on "Make Plain Text" - we've received reports of emails not getting through our firewalls if this extra step isn't taken when using an Apple product. Alternatively, you may fax your documents to (858) 581-5314, or mail them to our office at 401 West A Street, Ste. 400, San Diego, CA 92101.   Learn More...

Call Center is Open, But Office Remains Closed

Date: Jul 13, 2020 Categories: News Articles, Press Release, Retirement Resources

SDCERS staff is here to assist you – we just can’t see you in person. Our Call Center hours will be adjusted this week for training, as we seek the best ways to serve our members during this challenging time.  Tuesday, July 14             10 a.m. to noon, and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.Wednesday, July 15        10 a.m. to noon, and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.   Beginning Thursday, July 16th, the Call Center will be open on the regular schedule, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. You can also submit non-urgent questions or concerns via our Contact Us page, and we will respond within one business day.   We appreciate your patience. The majority of SDCERS staff are still required to telecommute and our offices remain closed to members and the public.   Retirement counseling appointments are being held via phone and document signing takes place via email exchange. If you already have a retirement counseling appointment scheduled, you will be contacted in advance with details. If you have recently submitted your online application, you will be contacted soon to schedule your appointment.   If you are thinking about retiring soon, please review the fact sheets, FAQs, and videos on our website, which will help answer many of your questions in advance. Keep an eye out for retirement educational webinars, which are announced periodically via your work email. You can also estimate your future retirement benefit by using the Benefit Calculator on the Member Portal. If you have not already registered on our secure Member Portal, click on “Register” on the Member Portal page and follow the registration instructions.   Once you have reviewed all of the pertinent information, if you want to schedule a retirement counseling appointment, you must submit an online retirement application through your Member Portal account by clicking “Online Applications” on the left panel. Keep in mind this electronic application is not final – your submission simply prompts us to contact you to schedule a counseling appointment.  CITY RETIREE HEALTH REIMBURSEMENTS: City Retiree Health Reimbursement requests are being processed as usual. For fastest processing, submit your documents via email (attached as a PDF) to health@sdcers.org. Do NOT use health@sandiego.gov, as this email no longer forwards to health@sdcers.org. Please ensure you have submitted complete documents – we continue to receive incomplete submissions, which cannot be processed and result in delayed reimbursements.  Note: If you are using an Apple product to send the email, in Mail, please select "Format" and click on "Make Plain Text" - we've received reports of emails not getting through our firewalls if this extra step isn't taken when using an Apple product. Alternatively, you may fax your documents to (858) 581-5314, or mail them to our office at 401 West A Street, Ste. 400, San Diego, CA 92101. Learn More...

"I want to retire/enter DROP now please!"

Date: Mar 26, 2020 Categories: News Articles, Press Release, Retirement Resources

If this is you, we are glad that you’re ready to retire or enter DROP. However, there are a few things we want you to know right now:Before the coronavirus outbreak, our retirement counselors were booked two months in advance and our Call Center received more than 100 requests each day.Retirement appointments are now conducted via phone, and documentation is shared via email.Most of our staff is telecommuting and SDCERS' downtown office is closed to members and the public. If you want to retire now, you must submit your application online via the secure Member Portal.If you need assistance with your Member Portal account, send a message through our Contact Us page.This electronic application is not final – you will be able to make changes during your phone appointment before you sign and submit. If you want to enter DROP immediately and already had an appointment scheduled, you will be contacted.If you are just thinking about entering DROP or retiring soon and have questions, please utilize the resources on our website.We have several fact sheets as well as FAQs that will answer all of your general questions.City employees may register to attend one of our upcoming webinars. We hold at least three webinars or seminars per month. The April and May webinars are currently full, but we will be announcing additional webinars in the coming weeks.   For specific questions about your retirement account, please send us a message through our Contact Us page SDCERS cannot provide personalized benefit estimates on request – please use the Benefit Estimate Calculator tool in your Member Portal account for this.   Learn More...

Active City Members: Register for Upcoming Pre-Retirement Seminar!

Date: Jul 31, 2019 Categories: Events, Press Release, Retirement Resources

UPDATE: THE SEPTEMBER SEMINAR IS NOW FULL. WE WILL ANNOUNCE THE DATES OF FUTURE SEMINARS AS THEY ARE SCHEDULED. Attention All Active City Members:   Registration is now open for SDCERS’ upcoming pre-retirement seminar, which will be held on September 11th at 2:30 p.m. in SDCERS’ Board room (401 West A Street, Third Floor, San Diego, CA 92101). At this educational seminar, SDCERS staff will walk you through your retirement benefits and help you plan for the future.No matter how old you are, it’s never too early or too late to start thinking about your retirement goals and making plans so that you can meet those goals. Space is limited, so please call SDCERS as soon as possible to register, at (619) 525-3600.  Additional pre-retirement seminars and DROP entry seminars will be held in the future, so if you miss this one, you can plan to attend next time.   NOTE: You must attend a pre-retirement seminar before attending a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (“DROP”) entry seminar. Learn More...

Fact Check Your Future

Date: Apr 02, 2019 Categories: Retirement Resources

SDCERS administers benefits for more than 20 plan tiers, and you can learn more about YOUR plan by reading the Retirement Plan Summary that corresponds to your employer and hire date. Understand how your retirement contributions are calculated, when you are eligible for a lifetime retirement benefit, and your retirement benefit formula. Invest a few minutes in learning about your retirement future.  Learn More...

Annual Membership Meeting Presentation

Date: Oct 15, 2016 Categories: Events, News Articles, Press Release, Retirement Resources

Nearly 125 active and retired members attended the 2016 Annual Membership Meeting on October 14 to get an update on pension news, investments and benefits from executive staff. If you were unable to attend, you're encouraged to watch the video by clicking here.   View the slide presentation here.  Learn More...

Annual Member Statements Coming Soon: Watch this Video!

Date: Sep 04, 2015 Categories: Member Portal, News Articles, Retirement Resources

As part of SDCERS Retirement Readiness campaign and our ongoing commitment to customer service, all members who have not yet retired will soon receive an Annual Member Statement. The purpose of the statement is to ensure that you are informed of the details of your SDCERS retirement account. Once you receive your Annual Member Statement, we encourage you to watch this video to learn all about them.   Learn More...

An SDCERS Retirement Ready Resolution for the New Year

Date: Dec 31, 2014 Categories: Retirement Resources

A new year is upon us. Have you considered your resolutions? Here are several quick ideas to jump start your Retirement Ready resolution.   Learn More...

Annual Member Statements Coming Soon: Watch this Video!

Date: Nov 17, 2014 Categories: Retirement Resources

As part of SDCERS Retirement Readiness campaign and our ongoing commitment to customer service, all members who have not yet retired will soon receive an Annual Member Statement. Learn More...

SDCERS PUSHES FOR GREATER TRANSPARENCY THROUGH REAL TIME BOARD STREAMING

Date: Nov 10, 2014 Categories: News Articles, Retirement Resources

The San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System (SDCERS) today announced its Board of Administration and Business and Governance Committee meetings will be streamed live on its website beginning November 2014. Learn More...

SDCERS Annual Meeting Video Now Available

Date: Oct 30, 2014 Categories: Events, Retirement Resources

If you were unable to attend the SDCERS Annual Membership Meeting, you're encouraged to watch the video. Learn More...

Pre-Retirement Readiness Seminars for City of San Diego Employees

Date: Oct 28, 2014 Categories: Events, Retirement Resources

SDCERS is offering members that head start opportunity with two Pre-Retirement seminars for City of San Diego employees in November and December. Learn More...

SDCERS' Annual Membership Meeting - Details and Directions

Date: Oct 24, 2014 Categories: Events, Retirement Resources

SDCERS encourages you to attend the 2014 Annual Membership Meeting being held at 11 a.m. on Monday, October 27 in Balboa Park. The Annual Membership Meeting is a great opportunity for Active, Retired and Deferred Vested members (and spouses) to learn about the financial health of the pension system. Learn More...

SDCERS Receives Award for Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting

SDCERS has been given the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting by the Government Financial Officers Association for its FY 2013 Popular Annual Financial Report. Learn More...

SDCERS Launches Dynamic, New Website

Date: Jul 28, 2014 Categories: Press Release, Retirement Resources

The San Diego City Employees' Retirement System (SDCERS) today launched its new website, www.sdcers.org, incorporating a new look, improved navigation and interactive tools to help members plan for and enjoy retirement. Learn More...

SDCERS' New Member Portal Now Available! Sign Up Today!

Date: Jun 06, 2014 Categories: Member Portal, Retirement Resources

SDCERS' new, enhanced Member Portal is now available! Register today to take advantage of the new tools and features available to help you prepare for and enjoy retirement. Beginning June 9th, you will simply need to re-register on the new Portal to take advantage of the latest interactive and easy-to-use online tools to manage your benefits – at the highest level of security. Learn More...

Information for SDCERS Members Receiving a Pension

Date: Apr 16, 2014 Categories: 1099R, Pension, Retirement Resources

This information explains the reasons that, for some SDCERS members, the annual Form 1099-R you receive is issued as “Taxable Amount Not Determined” and the amount in Box 2a of the form is reported as $0.00 (zero). Learn More...

Pension System Actuarial and Investment Strategies Trending Favorably

Date: Mar 20, 2014 Categories: Board, Investments, Pension, Retirement Resources

There is no shortage of news media coverage focused on how public pension funds, in California and across the country, are yielding significant investment returns while simultaneously growing liabilities even faster. Learn More...

14 SDCERS Retirement Basics for (20)14

Date: Jan 07, 2014 Categories: Retirement Resources

The start of a new year is a great time to make sure you’re on track for a secure retirement. Below are 14 important terms and resources to help City of San Diego, Unified Port District and Airport Authority active, deferred members and retirees better understand their SDCERS benefits and get ready for retirement in 2014. Learn More...

Detroit's Bankruptcy Ruling and its Relevance to SDCERS

Date: Dec 05, 2013 Categories: Litigation, Retirement Resources

The recent bankruptcy ruling in Detroit has generated considerable speculation about its potential impact on pension benefits for California public employees. SDCERS expects no immediate threat to member pension benefits as a result of the Detroit ruling, nor is there any indication of such a threat in the foreseeable future. Learn More...

How the Affordable Care Act Impacts SDCERS Retirees

Date: Sep 27, 2013 Categories: Health, Retirement Resources

The AffordableCareAct (ACA) was signed into lawin March 2010 to provide access to health care for those who are uninsured, to createamoreefficient wayto administerhealthcareand to contain the growth of futurehealth care costs.Thereareanumberof ways that this isbeingdone,but one in particularthat directly impacts SDCERS retirees at this time. SDCERS’ retirees are required to have access toinformationabout thenewHealthInsuranceMarketplacein preparation fortheIndividual Mandate requirement ofthelaw. Learn More...

SDCERS Urges You to Protect Yourself Against Pension Income Schemes

Date: May 13, 2013 Categories: Retirement Resources

In recent weeks, you may have seen news articles about schemes that have preyed on retiree pension checks. This practice involves selling your future stream of monthly pension checks in exchange for a lump-sum payment now. Learn More...

SDCERS Answers Member Questions

Date: May 08, 2013 Categories: Retirement Resources

Do you have a question or comment about your SDCERS retirement benefits? SDCERS' Retirement Counselors answer questions submitted through the 'Contact Us' page here daily. Learn More...

Be Retirement Ready, Know Your Tier

Date: Feb 24, 2013 Categories: Retirement Resources

SDCERS administers more than a dozen benefit tiers between its three participating plan sponsors – the City, Port and Airport. Within those tiers, members are eligible for different benefit options which affect member contribution rates, retirement eligibility and future retirement benefits. Learn More...

Five Resources to Learn More About Your SDCERS Retirement Benefits

Date: Jan 13, 2013 Categories: Member Portal, Retirement Resources

Use the following five resources to learn more about your SDCERS retirement benefits. Learn More...

13 SDCERS Retirement Basics for 2013

Date: Jan 10, 2013 Categories: Retirement Resources

The start of a new year is a great time to make sure you’re on track for a secure retirement. Below are 13 important terms and resources to help City of San Diego, Unified Port District and Airport Authority Active members and retirees better understand their SDCERS benefits and get ready for retirement in 2013. Learn More...

10% IRS Penalty for Retirees Who Return to Work

Date: Dec 20, 2012 Categories: Provisional Employment, Retirement Resources

Starting January 1, 2013, SDCERS will implement an IRS policy that impacts a retiree's ability to return to employment for the same plan sponsor after retirement. This will impact Members and retirees who perform work after January 1, 2013 from all three plan sponsors - the City of San Diego, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (Airport) and the Unified Port of San Diego (Port). Learn More...