Other Circumstances of Service
Reciprocity is a special relationship that exists between LACERA and certain public retirement systems in California. It is designed to protect retirement benefits when public service employees transfer to other public service jobs within a specified time. Under reciprocity there is no transfer of funds or service credit between reciprocal systems.
Reciprocal systems include, but are not limited to the other 19 county retirement systems in California governed by CERL, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), systems with reciprocal agreements with CalPERS, the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), and the Judges Retirement System I and II (JRS).
Requirements for establishing reciprocity:
- You must become a member of a reciprocal agency within six months after terminating from LACERA, or vice versa.
- Your employment at one public agency must terminate before employment at the next public agency begins. Overlapping service, including vacation or sick time, may disqualify you for reciprocity.
- You must apply, in writing, for retirement from each system separately and retire from each system concurrently (on the same day).
Establishing reciprocity provides the following advantages:*
- If you elect a contributory plan, your contribution rate in the new system may be based on your entry age into the first system.
- Your years of service earned under each system may be combined and applied to retirement requirements for vesting and years of service credit.
- When calculating your retirement allowance, each system may use your highest final compensation, regardless of under which system it was earned.
Under reciprocity, each system will provide you with a separate benefit payment, based on your age and years of service credit in that system.
*Specifications of reciprocity may vary according to the requirements of each system.
If you leave County service for any reason prior to retirement, your future eligibility for retirement benefits depends on your vesting status.
If you are vested:
- You automatically become a deferred member.
- Once you meet the minimum requirements, you become eligible for retirement.
- No action is required on your part until you decide to apply for retirement.
If you are not vested:
- You are not eligible for future retirement benefits from LACERA.
Restoring to a Prior Plan
In most situations, Plan E members are not eligible to restore membership in a prior contributory plan. However, certain Plan E members who were not properly informed about restorations and who meet the following specific criteria are permitted to restore:
- Terminated from a contributory plan
- Withdrew their contributions
- Subsequently returned to County service prior to July 1, 1991 and fulfilled either of the following conditions:
- Elected Plan E, or
- Returned to a different contributory plan and later transferred to Plan E
To be eligible, your LACERA record must contain no evidence you were notified of the opportunity to restore membership in your prior contributory plan by redepositing your contributions and interest. Each claim will be considered on a case-by-case basis.