Calculating Your Pension

Overview

Calculating Your Pension

The amount of your monthly retirement benefit will depend on the following factors:

  1. Your age at retirement
  2. Your total years of retirement service credit
  3. Your final average monthly compensation
  4. Your retirement benefit tier
  5. The retirement option you elected

Your retirement contributions have no effect on the calculation of your pension because VCERA is a defined benefit plan.

Calculating Your Benefit Estimate

To estimate your own retirement benefit, log in to your VCERA Member Portal account and click on “Benefit Estimator.” The online system will use your current salary and service data to calculate a benefit estimate based on the Unmodified Option, which provides the highest monthly benefit. You may also use the tables in the appendices of the Member Handbook to estimate your retirement benefit.

If you plan to retire within five years, you may request an official benefit estimate from VCERA by completing and submitting an Estimate Request Form, available online or mailed upon request. Please obtain an official benefit estimate before making retirement decisions.

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Final Average Compensation

One of the factors used to calculate your retirement benefit is your final average compensation (FAC),* which is based on your benefit tier and/or hire date. The time period in which your FAC is earned is called your “measurement period”:

For Safety Tier 1 and General Tier 1 members: Highest 12 consecutive months (26 pay periods) of “compensation earnable,” as defined in Government Code section 31461.

For all other members:

  • Hired prior to January 1, 2013: Highest 36 consecutive months (78 pay periods) of “compensation earnable,” as defined in Government Code section 31461.
  • Hired on or after January 1, 2013: Highest 36 consecutive months (78 pay periods) of “pensionable compensation,” as defined in Government Code section 7522.34.