If you leave County service for any reason prior to retirement, your future eligibility for retirement benefits depends on the amount of service credit you have accrued at the time you terminate service.
Be sure to keep your contact information updated with LACERA when you leave County service, so we can inform you about important retirement matters and your available benefits. You can contact us or log in to My LACERA to make updates.
If you have earned the minimum amount of service credit to qualify for a retirement benefit, you can apply for retirement once you reach the minimum age requirement.
The minimum service credit and age requirements for retirement vary by plan; check your plan's basic provisions.
Unless you choose otherwise, your contributions remain on deposit with LACERA until you are ready to retire (all plans except Plan E). See more under Contributions: Your Options below.
Age Considerations for Retirement
If you reach age 72 and are no longer working, you must begin receiving required minimum distributions from your plan, even if you haven’t filed for retirement.
Also keep in mind that your plan has a maximum benefit age, and postponing your retirement after that age will not increase your benefit.
See the Maximum Benefit Returns page for more details.
Returning to Service
If you terminate and return to service, you may be able to restore to a previous retirement plan by meeting certain conditions. Refer to Other Circumstances of Service in your plan book for more details.
Other Circumstances of Service
Refer to your plan's Other Circumstances of Service section for important plan-specific information regarding reciprocity, terminating service, returning to service, and restoring to a prior plan.
Contributions: Your Options
Applies to all plans except Plan E
Leave on Deposit
If you terminate service and leave your retirement contributions on deposit with LACERA, your contributions will continue to earn interest. No action is required on your part until you wish to begin taking your monthly retirement benefit, if eligible.
If you are no longer working and reach age 72, you must either begin taking the monthly retirement benefit (no minimum service requirement) or elect to withdraw your contributions (minus any applicable taxes).
For more information about retiring or contribution payments, contact us to speak with a Retirement Benefits Specialist.
Reciprocity and Your Contributions
Contributory members who have established reciprocity with another agency leave their contributions on deposit with LACERA while contributing to their new plan. Visit the Reciprocity section for more about details about reciprocity eligibility and benefits, or refer to Other Circumstances of Service in your plan book (linked under Returning to Service above).
Pre-Retirement Withdrawal of Contributions
If you are part of a contributory plan, you may withdraw your accumulated contributions from LACERA at any time (unless you return to County service or become employed in a reciprocal retirement system within six months). However, you should consider the consequences: withdrawing your contributions terminates your LACERA membership and you will forfeit any and all rights to future retirement benefits from LACERA, including disability benefits. In addition, if you are under age 55, federal and state penalties for early withdrawal may apply.
If you decide to withdraw your contributions, you may elect to either:
- Have LACERA issue a check directly to you minus 20 percent mandatory federal withholding tax and any applicable California state tax, or
- Defer taxes on the funds by rolling them over to an IRA or other employer's qualified plan. Certain restrictions apply if you are age 72 or older. Read more about contribution rollovers and tax rules.