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Benefit Limits


Benefit Limits

IRS Limits

Each year the IRS sets forth the total amount of individual benefits that SamCERA can pay for that calendar year.  These limits, known as IRS Section 415 limits, affect only a small number of members who were highly paid and had a long service period.  Additionally, a small category of beneficiaries receiving survivor benefits may be affected by the limits. SamCERA will notify you if you are affected by the Section 415 limit.  The IRS also caps certain member’s compensation earnable limit.

  • For those members who were hired by the County BEFORE July 1, 1996. For these members, contributions were made on the full compensation earnable (salary), and your full salary was or will be used to calculate your final compensation. This may cause your pension to be reduced by the Section 415 limit. In this case, SamCERA will pay you up to the limit, the rest of your pension will be paid through a Replacement Benefit Plan established by the County.  Members hired by other SamCERA employers do not participate in the Replacement Benefit Plan.
  • For those members hired on or AFTER July 1, 1996.  For these members who earned a salary over the IRS compensation limit, contributions were not or will not be made on your full salary, so the full amount was not or will not be used to calculate your pension and most probably will be under the Section 415 limit. For those that are still over limit, they will be placed in the Replacement Benefit Plan. County employees who are not in Plan 7 can contact the County’s Human Resources Department for more information regarding this matter. Plan 7 members cannot participate in the Replacement Benefit Plan.

Other Benefit Limits

No greater than 100% of Final Average Compensation. In any circumstance, the maximum monthly benefit any member can receive cannot exceed 100% of Final Average Compensation.   Plan 7 members should note that their benefits are independently capped due to the provisions of the PEPRA plan.