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Reciprocity allows you to preserve your retirement benefits when you change employment between public employers who offer a benefit through public pension systems.

Reciprocity exists between SDCERA and many public agencies in California. It is important that you establish reciprocity in a timely manner because it could affect your tier, contribution rate and retirement eligibility.

Some important points to remember about reciprocity are:

  • Complete the Request for Reciprocity form to request incoming or outgoing reciprocity from SDCERA.
  • At retirement, all reciprocal retirement systems will use your highest final average monthly compensation under any reciprocal system when calculating your retirement benefit.
  • Certain reciprocal systems use your entry age with your previous system when calculating your entry age. In some systems, this means your contribution rate could be less, depending on your tier. A delay in establishing reciprocity could affect your tier and contribution rate, which could delay your retirement. If you contributed too much, you could receive a refund, but if you did not contribute enough, you could be required to make additional contributions.
  • Reciprocal years are used to meet vesting and retirement eligibility criteria in all reciprocal retirement systems; however, the service credit you earn in each system does not transfer from one system to another and service credit years are not combined for purposes of calculating your benefit(s) in each system.
  • You must retire from all reciprocal retirement systems on the same date by submitting a retirement application to each system (with limited exception for systems with a higher minimum age requirement).
  • You are eligible for full reciprocity as long as you leave your accumulated contributions on deposit with your former system and enter your new employer's system within six months of your termination date from your previous system.
  • If you are not eligible for full reciprocity because you have more than six months between periods of active Membership, you may be eligible for limited reciprocity. With limited reciprocity, you may use your service credit earned in the reciprocal system to help you vest and become eligible for a retirement benefit. Contact the reciprocal agency to verify whether or not benefits may be available to you from that agency.

Reciprocal Systems

Below is a list of retirement systems that have reciprocity with SDCERA.

California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and all agencies whose employees are Members of CalPERS, including state agencies, county schools, various cities, counties and special districts - except the University of California Retirement System.

Approximately 2,000 agencies have employees who are Members of CalPERS. New agencies may have contracted with CalPERS since this information was published. Contact CalPERS at 1-888-CALPERS to find out if your retirement system offers this benefit.

California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS)

Judges' Retirement System (JRS)

Judges' Retirement System II (JRS II)

California counties that maintain retirement systems under the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937:

Contra Costa
Los Angeles
San Bernardino
San Diego
San Joaquin
San Mateo
Santa Barbara

The following independent agency retirement systems (shown with effective dates):

California Administrative Services Authority (7/1/2000)
City of Concord (11/27/1970)
City of Costa Mesa (safety employees only) (4/1/1978)
City of Fresno (miscellaneous and safety employees) (2/18/2002)
City of Oakland (non-safety employees only) (4/1/1971)
City of Pasadena (Fire and Police Retirement System) (5/4/2001)
City of Sacramento (11/4/1974)
City of San Clemente (non-safety employees only) (1/1/1985)
          Note: Reciprocity is available for City of San Clemente safety employees through CalPERS
City of San Diego (6/25/1992)
City and County of San Francisco (7/29/1988)
City of San Jose (miscellaneous employees 12/9/1994; safety employees 9/30/1994)
Contra Costa Water District (3/2/1988)
County of San Luis Obispo Pension Trust (4/19/1984)
East Bay Municipal Utility District (4/16/1984)
East Bay Regional Park District (safety employees only) (7/1/1996)
Long Beach Schools Business Management Authority (7/1/1998)
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Non-Contract Employees Retirement Income Plan) (5/12/1971)
Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System (7/14/1997)