Membership

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Benefit Tiers

VCERA provides the following retirement benefit tiers to its members. The corresponding benefit formulas refer to how a member’s monthly benefit is estimated. For example, the Safety Tier 1 benefit formula (“2% at age 50”) could be described as follows: “If a member retired at age 50, he would receive 2% of his final compensation for every year of service credit accrued.” Each benefit formula below could be described in the same way.

  • Safety Tier 1 – The “2% at age 50” formula applies to “legacy” safety members hired by a VCERA employer or reciprocal public agency prior to January 1, 2013.
    • All retirees in this tier are eligible for an annual COLA, up to 3%.
  • Safety Tier 7 (PEPRA) – The “2.7% at age 57 ” formula applies to safety members hired on or after January 1, 2013 who are not eligible for reciprocity by virtue of employment with a reciprocal employer prior to 2013. (This tier is subject to the provisions of PEPRA.)

    • All retirees in this tier are eligible for an annual COLA, up to 3%.

  • General Tier 1 – The “2.35% at age 62” formula applies to “legacy” general members hired prior to June 30, 1979. Also applicable to designated County executives pursuant to the Management Resolution.

    • All retirees in this tier are eligible for an annual COLA, up to 3%.

  • General Tier 2 – The “2.1% at age 62” formula applies to “legacy” general members hired by a VCERA employer or reciprocal public agency between June 30, 1979 and December 31, 2012.

    • SEIU-represented retirees in this tier are eligible for an annual 2% COLA.

  • General Tiers 6 & 8 (PEPRA) – The “2% at age 62” formula applies to general members hired on or after January 1, 2013 who are not eligible for reciprocity by virtue of employment with a reciprocal employer prior to 2013. (This tier is subject to the provisions of PEPRA.)

Click here to learn more about the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

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Membership

Membership in VCERA is effective upon appointment to an eligible position with the County of Ventura or a participating special district. An eligible position includes all regular County or district employment in which an employee is scheduled to work 64 or more hours per biweekly pay period.

The Bylaws & Regulations of the Board of Retirement exclude extra-help and part-time employees from membership in VCERA. A schedule of less than 64 hours per biweekly constitutes part-time employment. However, eligible “excluded” employees became covered under the County of Ventura’s Safe Harbor Retirement Plan in 1992. Questions regarding the Safe Harbor Plan should be directed to Ventura County Human Resources at (805) 654-2921.

Safety and General Members

There are two types of members in VCERA: safety and general. Safety members refer to employees involved in active law enforcement or fire suppression. All other employees are considered general members. 

Legacy and PEPRA Members

Employees hired prior to January 1, 2013 are known as “legacy” members, and those hired on or after January 1, 2013 are known as “PEPRA” members.

PEPRA refers to the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013, which primarily affected “new members” hired on or after January 1, 2013, not legacy members. PEPRA’s areas of greatest impact concerned benefit tiers, final average compensation period, “pensionable compensation,” salary cap and retirement contributions.