Your VCERA Retirement Plan

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Defined Benefit Plan

The defined benefit plan administered by VCERA (“Plan”) is qualified under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Plan provides a lifetime retirement benefit when you meet certain eligibility requirements.

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Membership

Membership in the retirement system is effective upon appointment to an eligible position of service with the County of Ventura or eligible district.  It is mandatory for all regular employees of the County of Ventura, or contracting district, who are scheduled to work 64 or more hours biweekly.

NOTE: Employees of the Ventura County Courts are considered County employees for the purposes of this website.

There are two types of membership in VCERA: Safety and General. Safety membership is applicable to those employees involved in active law enforcement or fire suppression. 

Employees hired prior to January 1, 2013 are often referred to as “Legacy” members and those hired after January 1, 2013 are often referred to as “PEPRA” members. PEPRA refers to the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act, which changed certain plan provisions for employees hired after January 1, 2013.

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Employee & Employer Contributions

Your retirement plan is funded by both employee and employer contributions. Your employee contributions are a biweekly payroll deduction taken on base compensation as well as other cash payments that fall under the definition of “compensation earnable” (for Legacy tiers) or “pensionable compensation” (for PEPRA tiers 5, 6, 7 & 8).

Your contributions are credited to your individual account. Interest is credited to member accounts each June 30 and December 31. Member contributions may be paid in whole or part by the employer as a result of employee-employer negotiated retirement contribution “pick-ups”. Employer-paid employee contributions made in lieu of wages are credited to the member’s account.

Contributions are required as long as you are in service. If you are a Safety Tier 1 member, your contributions stop after you reach 30 years of continuous service. Retirement contributions may not be withdrawn prior to separation of service, even in cases of personal financial hardship, and there is no provision allowing members to take a loan on any portion of their account balance.

In addition, employer contributions are made each pay period and go toward general funding of the retirement program, not into a specific account for you.

The combination of employee contributions, employer contributions, and investment earnings are what fund VCERA and allow members to draw a lifetime monthly benefit at retirement.

You will receive a Retirement Benefits Statement annually as a member of VCERA. The statement includes a summary of your annual contributions, employer “pick-up” of employee contributions (if applicable), interest credited, accrued retirement service credit, and retirement benefit projections.

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Your Rights and Responsibilities

Confidentiality

The County Employees’ Retirement Law states that individual records of members shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed to anyone except as may be necessary for Plan administration, upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or upon written authorization by the member.

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Forfeiture of Benefits

Effective January 1, 2013, all public employees convicted of a job-related felony are subject to pension forfeiture, without exception. The law requires the forfeiture of all accrued rights and benefits in any public retirement system by any public employee convicted of any felony, as of the earliest date of the crime, for conduct arising out of or in the performance of his or her official duties, in pursuit of the office or appointment, or in connection with obtaining salary, disability retirement, service retirement, or other benefits.