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Plan 3


Plan 3 Members

Plan 3 is SamCERA’s “non-contributory” plan, which means that members do not pay contributions to SamCERA.

You are a Plan 3 member if you meet all of the following three conditions:

  1. You are a General member;
  2. You were hired before December 22, 2012; and
  3. You elected membership in Plan 3.

Plan 3 is closed to new and incoming reciprocal members and existing members cannot transfer into Plan 3.


More About Plan 3

Retirement Eligibility

Plan 3 members are eligible to retire at 55 with 10 years of SamCERA or reciprocal system service credit. 

Calculating Your Plan 3 Benefits

Plan 3 members should contact SamCERA to get a retirement estimate because your benefit is reduced after taking your Social Security benefit into account. It is based on a several-step calculation which includes your Final Average Compensation (FAC), your years of service, and additional information required by law.

Important: If you are a Plan 3 member, SamCERA needs a copy of your Social Security estimate before you can retire or get an estimate of your benefits.

Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA)

There is no COLA for Plan 3 members.


Plan 3 members are not eligible for Disability Retirement Benefits. However, Plan 3 members may be eligible for the County’s Long Term Disability Program.

Transferring Out of Plan 3

Active Plan 3 members can transfer out of Plan 3 into a contributory plan after 5 years of service. Depending upon your date of hire, you can transfer into Plan 2, Plan 4 or Plan 5. 

  • Members who transfer to Plans 2 or 4 may upgrade all or part of their Plan 3 service credit.
  • Members who transfer into Plan 5 cannot upgrade their Plan 3 service credit, and will only be eligible for future Plan 5 service credit.
  • Members who transfer into Plan 5 can transfer into Plan 4, but must upgrade all of their Plan 3 and Plan 5 service credit to Plan 4 service credit. 

Important: Contact SamCERA for confirmation regarding your plan transfer eligibility.

Inactive Plan 3 members returning to active County service should contact SamCERA regarding plan options.


If you are a Plan 3 member, even though you didn’t pay retirement contributions, your retirement benefits are subject to community property law if you are a vested Plan 3 member. Visit SamCERA’s Divorce page for more information. 

If you’ve gotten divorced either before or after retirement, make sure to notify SamCERA.