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All LACERA retirement plans are defined benefit plans that pay you a specified monthly allowance for the rest of your life. (Eligibility requirements apply.)

Your Allowance is Based on Three Factors:

  • Age at Retirement
  • Years of Service (Service Credit)
  • Final Compensation

Age at Retirement

Contributory plans compute age in years and quarter-year increments. Plan E marks age in full years; the member’s age is calculated each year on the member’s birthday.

Years of Service

The total amount of your service credit, including any purchases of prior service and/or Additional Retirement Credit (ARC), is one component of the calculation used to determine your LACERA retirement allowance. (ARC purchases were discontinued as of January 1, 2013.)

Members of contributory Plans A, B, C, D, and G for general members and Safety Plans A, B, and C earn one month of retirement service credit for each month of County employment in which a retirement contribution is made. No service credit is earned if you are without pay for an entire month.

Non-contributory Plan E members earn credit for each month of uninterrupted employment, and while waiting for or receiving long-term disability benefits.

Credit for part-time service you performed will be converted to full-time service credit. For example: two years of part-time work at 50 percent time will be converted to one year of service credit.

Purchase Service Credit

Members of Plans A, B, C, D, and G and Safety A and B may purchase service credit for unpaid sick leave. All contributory members may purchase certain types of County and non-County government service performed prior to the date you became eligible for LACERA membership. (Various eligibility requirements apply.)

Sick Leave Buy-Back

You may be able to enhance your average monthly salary by selling back your sick and other unused leave. Under County rules, certain “excess” leave balances such as sick, holiday, and vacation leave not used during the calendar year or other specified period may be paid to the employee while working. (In other words, the County may “buy back” your unused vacation days and compensate you for that unused leave.) Certain “buy-back” income is pensionable, and thus may be included in final compensation when calculating an employee’s retirement allowance.

Pensionable Leave Items May Include:

  • Vacation
  • Holiday
  • MegaFlex Non-Elective Leave
  • Sick Leave

Utilizing this buy-back provision can boost your retirement dollar; however, specifics on buy-back vary. Check with your Department for information pertaining to your individual situation.

Sick leave buy-back is not available for Plan G or Safety Plan C.

NOTE: Overtime and termination pay are not included in your final compensation.

Final Compensation

In Plans A, B, C, D and Safety A and B, final compensation is based on the highest monthly average of compensation earnable during any 12-consecutive-month period of service. In Plan E, it is based on the last three years of service, or any three higher 12-month periods, whether consecutive or not. Final compensation in General Plan G and Safety Plan C is based on the highest monthly average of pensionable compensation during any 36-consecutive-month period of service.

Create Your Own Retirement Benefit Estimate (RBE) on My LACERA. To get an idea of the amount of the monthly allowance you’ll be eligible to receive when you retire, visit My LACERA. Features of the RBE calculator include:

  • Automatically displays your personal data currently on file with LACERA
  • Uses that data as the basis of its calculations
  • Allows you to create your own personalized, preliminary calculation of the benefits you will be entitled to upon retirement
  • Also allows you to enter different data to create additional estimates based on different scenarios, such as different retirement dates, final compensation, etc.