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More About Plan 3


Retirement Eligibility

Plan 3 members are eligible to retire at age 55 with 10 years of SamCERA or reciprocal system service credit. SamCERA will need a copy of your retirement estimate before you can retire.

Calculating Your Plan 3 Benefits

Plan 3 members should contact SamCERA to get a retirement estimate. Plan 3 benefits are based on  your Final Average Compensation (FAC), years of service, and age. By law, Plan 3 retirement benefits are reduced by your Social Security benefits. A copy of your Social Security estimate must be submitted to SamCERA before you can get an estimate of your pension benefits. 

  • If you retire before age 65, SamCERA must use the estimated Social Security amount based upon your age and salary as of your date of termination of employment with the County.

Important: If you leave County employment before age 65 and choose to not retire right away it is in your best interest to obtain a Social Security estimate right away, and submit it to us immediately.

  • If you retire at age 65 or above, we will use your actual Social Security benefit amount calculated at the time of your retirement.

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, if they are current active County employees.

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. The terms of the transfer and upgrade of Plan 3 service credit differ depending upon eligibility of your plan transfer. Contact SamCERA for your plan transfer eligibility and cost estimates.

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


If you’ve gotten divorced either before or after retirement, make sure to notify SamCERA. Your Plan 3 retirement benefits are subject to community property law. Visit SamCERA’s Divorce page for more information.

Death During Active Membership

If a Plan 3 member dies after they are eligible to retire (age 55 with 10 years of service credit), then there is a lifetime survivor benefit provided through the County for the surviving spouse or minor. Otherwise there are no survivor benefits. For more information, contact the County’s Human Resources Department.