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News & Media Board of Retirement Investments Finance About SDCERA

SDCERA is a defined benefit plan, qualified under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is important to understand these key facts about a defined benefit plan:

  • Your retirement benefit is calculated based on a formula using your age at retirement, years of service credit, and monthly final average compensation.
  • SDCERA is a contributory plan, meaning both the member and the employer pay contributions into the system; membership and contributions are mandatory. Remember, however, that your retirement benefit is not determined by how much money you contribute into the system, but rather by the formula described above.
  • Contributions for Tier I, Tier A and Tier B members are based upon membership classification, representation unit, and entry age into the system. Tier C member contributions are based upon membership classification (General or Safety).
  • The amount of compensation used to calculate retirement benefits for Tier C Members is limited under the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA). The 2018 limit on compensation for General, Tier C Members is $121,388 and for Safety, Tier C Members is $145,666. These limits may be adjusted annually based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. Each year, Tier C Members pay contributions on earnings up to the annual PEPRA compensation limit. Member contributions will discontinue once earnings reach annual compensation limits and will resume with the first paycheck issued in the next calendar year.
  • Your representation unit is determined by your job class. You may find your representation unit by contacting your payroll representative, reviewing the information given to you at new hire orientation or through the San Diego County Human Resources website.
  • Membership begins on the first day of the first payroll period in the month following the month in which you began your job—not on your first day of work.
  • Your entry age is the age you are when you enter SDCERA membership. If you were more than 6 months past your birthday when you entered membership, SDCERA rounds your actual age up to the next age. For example if you entered SDCERA membership at age 30 and 7 months, your official entry age would be 31.