All LACERA retirement plans are defined benefit plans that pay you a specified monthly benefit for the rest of your life. Whether you’re just starting your career or getting ready to close it out, our Active Service section provides vital information about contributions, service credit, compensation, reciprocity, terminating service, disability, and other factors affecting your retirement eligibility and allowance.
Even if your retirement date is years away, it’s important to read through this section so that you can make decisions while you are still working that will benefit you over the long term. Additionally, aspects of your plan live on after you are gone, through benefits paid to your survivors and beneficiaries. You should refer to our Retirement Planning and Retiree Healthcare sections to familiarize yourself with the retirement process, retirement options, healthcare subsidy, and additional considerations to help you make best choices for yourself and your family.
More About Your Defined Benefit Plan
Features of your LACERA retirement plan are outlined below and contrasted with those of defined contribution plans.
|LACERA Defined Benefits Plan||Defined Contribution Plan|
|Your retirement allowance is a lifetime allowance; it will be paid to you every month for the rest of your life.||Benefit payments run out when money is exhausted.|
|Employer promises to pay you a specified benefit when you retire.||Employer promises to periodically contribute specified amount to member account.|
|LACERA invests the funds; your employer bears the risk of adverse investment performance.||Employee decides how to invest the funds and bears the risk of adverse investment performance.|
|Benefit amount is determined by:
||Benefit amount is determined by:
Inflation protection provided through cost-of-living (COLA) programs.
When the Consumer Price Index increases over the prior year, the Board of Retirement approves an annual COLA benefit for retirees and survivors.
|No COLA program.|
|Allows for reciprocal pension benefits with specified public employers.||Possible transfer of member funds to tax-qualified plans as permitted by law.|
|Offers selection of retirement benefit options.||Not applicable.|
|Includes $5,000 lump-sum death benefit for retirees.||Not included.|
|Funds not available during active service.||Permits hardship withdrawals, sometimes permits loans during active service.|