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Reciprocity is a special relationship that exists between LACERA and certain public retirement systems located in California. Reciprocal benefits are designed to “encourage career public service” by protecting retirement benefits when public service employees transfer to other public service jobs.


You are eligible for reciprocal benefits if you terminate your County service and leave your retirement contributions, if any, on deposit with LACERA. Your employment at one public agency must terminate before employment at the next public agency begins. Overlapping service, even service due to vacation or sick time, may cause disqualification for reciprocity. Within six months, you must become employed by another public agency covered by a reciprocal retirement system within California. Call LACERA for more information and to request a Reciprocity Package.


Your contribution rate in the new system will be based on your age when you joined the first system. This could be advantageous to you because the younger you are when you join a contributory retirement plan, the lower your monthly contribution rate is. Your years of service earned under each system will be added together to meet vesting requirements and the minimum years of service credit needed for retirement. When calculating your retirement allowance, each system will use your highest final compensation, whether you earned that compensation while a member of LACERA or a reciprocal system.


You must leave your contributions and interest on deposit with LACERA while your employment is covered by a reciprocal retirement system. Under reciprocity, you must apply for retirement from each system separately and retire from each system concurrently (on the same day). Each system will provide you with a separate benefit payment, based on your age and years of service credit in that system.

Reciprocity and Disability Retirement

If you are a reciprocal member, it might not be advantageous for you to apply for disability retirement. This is because sometimes the amount you would receive with a service retirement benefit exceeds the amount you would receive with a disability retirement benefit.

Specifically, if you are a reciprocal member who is granted a disability retirement by LACERA or by your reciprocal retirement system, you cannot receive a larger disability retirement benefit than what you would have received if all of your service had been with just one system. Your disability retirement benefit may be subject to an offset in order to ensure that this does not occur.

If you are a reciprocal member who is granted a disability retirement, please contact LACERA at 800-786-6464 and ask to speak to a Retirement Benefit Specialist regarding your specific circumstances.

See Reciprocal Systems.