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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Overview

Frequently Asked Questions

General information

Retirement Benefits

What retirement benefits does SamCERA offer?

SamCERA is a “defined benefit” retirement plan. Under a defined benefit plan, qualified members are eligible for a monthly benefit, also called a “pension.” 

SamCERA also offers monthly disability retirement benefits for eligible members who can no longer substantially perform their job duties. 

How much money will I get when I retire?

For a regular service retirement, your benefit amount will be based upon:

  • your plan formula (i.e. Plan 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,or 7);
  • your length of service;
  • your pensionable earnings (roughly equal to your salary);
  • your age at retirement.  

In general, the longer you work and the more money you make, the higher your monthly benefit will be. 

To get an retirement benefits estimate, go to Web Member Services

Disability retirements are calculated differently than regular service retirements. Please refer to the “Disability Retirement” guide for more information.

What about a deferred compensation plan?

SamCERA does not offer or administer deferred compensation plans.  You need to contact your employer’s benefits division for information regarding deferred compensation plans. 

Will participating in Voluntary Time Off (VTO) affect my SamCERA benefits?

For those members who participate in VTO, your service credit will not be affected by VTO. However, because VTO will reduce your salary, it would reduce your Final Average Compensation (FAC) if you participate in VTO during the time period used to calculate your FAC — In which case your benefit will be affected.

General information

Retirement Planning

What  should I do before I retire?

Preparing for retirement doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that should start well in advance of your anticipated retirement date. 

To jump-start the retirement planning process and help you understand your SamCERA retirement benefits, read the Guide to Your SamCERA Benefits.

It will help you understand the retirement process. It includes step-by-step instructions on the forms you will need to complete and when you need to get them submitted to SamCERA. It also provides an overview of what you need to do to get ready for retirement.

You should also visit our Retirement Planning page for additional ideas. 

What should I do about health insurance, life insurance, and deferred compensation?

SamCERA has no role in health benefits, life insurance, or deferred compensation programs. 

It is important for you to understand your health care, life insurance and deferred compensation options before you retire.

Please contact your employer’s benefit division for information about your health benefits, life insurance and deferred compensation programs. 

General information

After Retirement

Can I work after I retire, and what effect will it have on my retirement?

There are certain restrictions for post-retirement employment with a SamCERA employer.  If you are considering returning to work in any capacity (permanent position, extra help, or as a contractor), please read the Guide to Your SamCERA Benefits

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