Reciprocal Retirement Benefits

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Reciprocal retirements are available to you if you: 1) terminate employment with the County or District and accept a position with a California public agency covered under a reciprocal retirement system, or 2) become a member of VCERA after having membership in a reciprocal system. These benefits are contingent upon the following:

1. Membership in the new reciprocal system must occur within 180 days after leaving service with the previous reciprocal agency; and

2. Service between both systems cannot overlap; and

3. Your accumulated contributions may not be withdrawn from the reciprocal system.

The advantages of establishing reciprocity between retirement systems include the following:

1. If the new reciprocal system bases employee contribution rates on age, the new reciprocal system will use the age at entry under the first retirement system to determine your employee contribution rates. Note that VCERA has a fixed contribution rate regardless of age, so this provision does not apply to VCERA contribution rates unless you entered the first retirement system on or before August 1, 1974.

2. Your retirement service credit accrued under all reciprocal systems will be combined to determine when you are vested and when the minimum eligibility requirements are met for receiving a service retirement, unless the reciprocity is with Judicial Retirement System (JRS) II, which has some specific restrictions. (Contact VCERA for more information.)

3. Your highest final average qualifying compensation under any of the reciprocal systems will be used by VCERA for the calculation of your monthly retirement benefit, unless you are a current or former Safety member who establishes limited reciprocity by redepositing previously withdrawn contributions under GC 31831.3.

When you establish reciprocity between retirement systems, it is mandatory that you retire from all of the systems at the same time. You are required to submit a retirement application to each reciprocal system prior to the date of retirement. Contributions left on deposit with VCERA may not be withdrawn unless your employment is terminated with all reciprocal agencies and you withdraw contributions from all reciprocal systems. If this occurs, you must refund from the most current system first, and then refund from the other systems in reverse order of membership.