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Retiring as a Deferred Member
(Rather than as an active member)

If you become eligible to retire while a deferred member, you may do so.
The retirement allowance benefits available to you through deferred membership vary, based on tier and vesting status, as follows:

Vested members

Vested members who elect deferred membership become eligible to receive a retirement benefit allowance when they would have become eligible to retire had they remained in county service. Eligibility for retirement varies by tier as follows:

  • Tiers 1, 2, and 3: Deferred, vested general members can apply for retirement benefits upon reaching age 50 with 10 years of ACERA membership, or upon attaining age 70 without regard to years of service. Deferred, vested safety members may apply retirement benefits after 20 years in ACERA membership or at age 50 with 10 years in membership.
  • Tier 4: Deferred, vested general members can apply for retirement benefits upon reaching age 52 with 5 years of service credit. Deferred, vested safety members can apply for retirement benefits upon reaching age 50 and 5 years of service credit.

For both general and safety members, your benefit is effective on the day or after you apply to retire. Your service credit will be calculated as of your deferred membership date and you will not earn service credit during deferred membership; however, your age/service percentage factor will increase up to a certain age determined by your tier and membership status. Once you establish this age factor cap you will not benefit by remaining a deferred member unless you continue to work for a reciprocal agency and are receiving salary increases.

You must apply to retire by filing a service retirement application. Retirement applications must be received no earlier than 60 days before the effective date of retirement and no later than the effective date of retirement.

Non-vested members

Non-vested members who elect to defer membership are usually only eligible to receive a lump sum payment of employee contributions and interest on deposit with ACERA. However, there are certain circumstances that could allow you to become eligible for a retirement benefit allowance, as follows:

  • Attaining age 70. Non-vested, deferred general and safety members age 70 or over are eligible for a retirement benefit.
  • Your re-entry into membership with ACERA. Non-vested, deferred members who become re-employed with a participating employer, re-enter the ACERA system, and become vested by attaining five (5) years of credited service, may apply for a retirement benefit upon meeting eligibility requirements.
  • Your employment with a reciprocal agency. Non-vested, deferred members who establish a reciprocal agreement and become vested earning five (5) years of credited service between both retirement systems may apply for a retirement benefit upon meeting eligibility requirements

Your purchase of eligible service credit. Non-vested, deferred members whose eligible service credit purchase results in more than five years of service (combined with current membership) become vested and may apply for a retirement benefit upon meeting eligibility requirements.

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