14 SDCERS Retirement Basics for (20)14

Date: Jan 07, 2014


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.
1. Members, Active v Deferred – Active Members are those currently employed by the City of San Diego, Unified Port District or Airport Authority and making contributions to SDCERS. A Deferred Member is any Member who leaves his or her employee contributions on deposit with SDCERS after terminating employment with the City of San Diego, Unified Port District or Airport Authority. A Deferred Member is eligible for the retirement benefits in effect on the day he or she terminated employment when reaching age and service eligibility for retirement.
2. Member Portal – SDCERS’ Member Portal allows Members to view account information and make important changes, such as updating beneficiaries. Visit SDCERS’ website here to register.
3. Updating Beneficiaries – Keeping your beneficiary information current is important. It will ensure your retirement benefits are distributed according to your wishes upon your death. You should always update your beneficiary designation upon any life-changing event such as marriage or divorce.  Update your beneficiaries today by logging onto the Member Portal here.
4. Vesting Requirements – Becoming vested is the first step in becoming eligible for a lifetime benefit from SDCERS. For City employees, vesting requires 10 years of qualified service credit. For Port and Airport employees, vesting is established after 5 years of qualified service. Once you are vested and age eligible to retire, you are entitled to a lifetime benefit. See the Member Publications page here for additional information on vesting requirements.
5. Eligibility to Retire – You are eligible to retire as an SDCERS member once you meet certain criteria. See the Service Retirement Eligibility information on the Member Benefits page here.
6. Estimate Your Retirement Benefit – SDCERS provides an online benefits calculator to help you estimate your retirement benefits. Visit the SDCERS’ website here and click on the Benefits Calculator.
7. Estimate the Cost to Purchase Service Credit – SDCERS’ online calculator helps eligible Active members estimate the cost to purchase service credit for the 5-year general purchase or for those periods of time when a member did not contribute to SDCERS. The calculator is available at the top of the SDCERS’ homepage here.
8. Change of Address – If you have an address change as an Active member, contact your payroll specialist. If you are deferred or retired, you can also update your information on the Member Portal or complete the Change of Address form, available here or by calling the SDCERS’ Call Center at (619) 525-3600.
9. Reciprocity – Reciprocity allows you to preserve your retirement benefits when you change employment through on agreement between certain public retirement systems within California. You must establish reciprocity within 180 days of termination from previous employment. You must terminate employment under the first system prior to beginning employment under the second system. If you have overlapping periods of service between the two systems, which usually occurs when using annual leave accrued in the first system, you cannot establish reciprocity. To establish reciprocity, call your previous retirement system. Get more about Reciprocity by reading the Reciprocity booklet on the Forms and Publications page here.
10. Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) – The CAFR provides an overview and analysis of the financial activities of SDCERS. Included in this report are financial statements, investment return analysis, actuarial assumptions and analysis, statistical information and more. The PAFR, a condensed version of the CAFR, is sent to SDCERS members in February of each year. Read the CAFR and PAFR here.
11. Working After Retirement – Employees who are older than 59 ½ are eligible to return to work for no more than 90-days following retirement. If a retired employee, younger than 59 1/2, returns to work without a 6 month separation, that retiree is subject to a 10% penalty against retirement benefits. If a retiree decides to work for an employer, other than the City, Airport or Port, there is no effect on your SDCERS retirement benefit. More information about this policy is available here. The Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (“PEPRA”) placed limitations on a Port or Airport retirees’ ability to return to work after retirement. For more information on those limitations, see the PEPRA FAQs on the SDCERS’ website here.
12. SDCERS’ Call Center - If you have specific questions about your retirement benefits, Members can call 619.525.3600 and speak with an SDCERS’ representative. Additional contact information and resources are available here.
13. SDCERS Board of Administration – SDCERS is governed by a 13-member Board of Administration. Seven independent, non-employee members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council, one City management-level employee member is appointed by the Mayor, one is elected by Active Fire Safety Members, one is elected by Active Police Safety Members, two are elected by Active General Members and one is elected by Retired members. Board meetings are held nine times a year at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays; the schedule is reset each January. Meetings are open to the public. Learn more about the Board of Administration here. Learn more about the Board of Administration members here
14. The SDCERS Scoop – The Scoop is SDCERS’ all-member newsletter covering general retirement information, announcements, legal issues and educational pieces to assist members with planning for and enjoying their retirement. The Scoop is mailed to members four times a year. Read the fall edition of the Scoop here

Document Under Categories: Retirement Resources