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FAQS - GENERAL INFORMATION

SECTION 1: The Basics

  1. Where is LACERA located?

    We are located at 300 N. Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. The Contact Us page on lacera.com provides directions to LACERA and also provides information on the Metro Rail Gold Line.

  2. How can I get LACERA brochures or forms?

    LACERA brochures and forms can be accessed for viewing, printing, and/or ordering at your convenience on our Brochures & Forms page.

  3. What are the Call Center hours?

    The Retirement Benefit Specialists in our Call Center are available to assist you and answer your questions from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 800-786-6464.

  4. I am currently working. What section of lacera.com should I look at for information?

    Go to Benefits and visit our Active Member section for information about your contribution rate, service credit purchase, and other subjects. You can also read about the process of applying for retirement and see the Pre-Retirement Workshop schedule.

  5. I am looking for something I read in a recent newsletter. Where can I find it?

    You can find past issues of our LACERA newsletters — PostScript and Spotlight — under the Newsletters tab on the homepage (or the Communications tab elsewhere). A list of the topics addressed in each newsletter will help you find the article you want.

SECTION 2: Getting Your Questions Answered

  1. Why is there a wait to talk to someone in the Call Center?

    LACERA is committed to providing you with the best customer service possible. However, there are times when our Call Center staff is inundated with members’ questions on new retirement legislation or policies that are periodically enacted, which can result in longer hold times.

    At your convenience, you can also e-mail your questions to us at welcome@lacera.com or, using the Appointment and Workshop Reservation System, schedule a one-on-one consultation with a Retirement Benefits Specialist at our Member Service Center.

  2. How can I speak in person with a LACERA Retirement Benefits Specialist?

    One-on-one consultations with a Retirement Benefits Specialist are available at our Member Service Center on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Appointments may also be scheduled by calling 800-786-6464 or visiting our online Appointment and Workshop Reservation System, which can be accessed from lacera.com.

  3. How close to the time I intend to come to the Member Service Center can I schedule an appointment?

    Assuming availability, you can schedule an appointment online 24 hours in advance of the appointment time. Same-day appointments are unavailable.

  4. Why am I next in line at my scheduled appointment instead of being given a specific appointment time?

    Our Retirement Benefits Specialists provide thorough counseling to each member. As our objective is to ensure that we’ve answered your questions and addressed your concerns, counseling sessions are not constrained by time limits; each session will run shorter or longer, depending on each member’s needs.

  5. What if I’m late to the scheduled appointment?

    If you arrive to the Member Service Center more than 30 minutes late for your scheduled appointment, you will be asked to sign in as though no appointment had been scheduled and served on a first-come, first-served basis. If you need to cancel a scheduled appointment, please e-mail us at welcome@lacera.com or call us at: 800-786-6464.

SECTION 3: My LACERA

  1. What is “My LACERA”?

    My LACERA is a web feature that connects you with your personal retirement network. It provides you secure 24-hour online access to your LACERA retirement account information.

    As an active member, you can generate a personalized Retirement Benefit Estimate, update or add a mailing address, update or add up to three phone numbers, review your retirement plan information, see your contribution rate, track your recent LACERA contributions and interactions, and view your Annual Benefit Statement and beneficiary information.

    As a retired member, you can adjust your federal or state tax withholdings and submit them online, view your recent direct deposits and 1099-Rs, see your current total retirement contributions and interest (which accrues at the end of June and December) if you’re a contributory member, track your interactions with LACERA by date and event, and check your beneficiary designation(s).

  2. Who can register for My LACERA?

    Active members, retired members, deferred members, and survivors all can register and access their personal retirement information on My LACERA. An e-mail account is required for each My LACERA account; spouses and domestic partners who share an e-mail address cannot share a My LACERA account.

  3. I tried to register a My LACERA account a while ago, but the process was too complicated. What’s changed?
  4. We removed one of the previous security programs from My LACERA and replaced it with an equally secure, far more streamlined application. You’ll find the process much easier now. If you tried to register an account on My LACERA a while ago and gave up before completing the process, try again now.

  5. How do I register for My LACERA?

    If you haven’t registered on My LACERA, follow these steps:

    1. Enter your name, birth date, last four digits of your Social Security number, and your e-mail address.
    2. Answer two personalized security questions based on:
      • active members — employment data
      • deferred — County employment history or beneficiary data
      • or create your own security questions.
    3. My LACERA will e-mail you an account activation link.
    4. Click the activation link to complete registration and create your password.
    5. Success! Registration completed.
  6. How can I trust that My LACERA is secure?
  7. We’re committed to protecting your privacy and constructed My LACERA with the security of your personal information in mind. To verify that you have reached the authentic My LACERA section of lacera.com, look for the Extended Validation certificate each time you arrive. If you see green in your browser’s web address bar, you’ll know you’ve reached My LACERA and your transmissions are securely encrypted. If red appears in the address bar, this is a warning that you are on a fraudulent lookalike site. If this happens, close your browser immediately.

    My LACERA also uses Entrust Secure Server systems and undergoes regular security audits by professional third-party security firms.

  8. On My LACERA, what’s the Retirement Benefit Estimate?
  9. The Retirement Benefit Estimate automatically retrieves your personal data on file to calculate an estimate of your monthly retirement allowance. It also allows you to adjust your amount of service credit, pensionable earnings, and other information to see how your monthly retirement allowance and your survivor’s continuing benefit would be affected under each of the Retirement Options available to you. It will also describe each of the six Retirement Options, which offer flexibility in addressing the diverse needs of our members and their families.

  10. I’m having trouble accessing the My LACERA page. How can I get assistance?

    For help with registering for My LACERA or accessing your information on My LACERA, contact a Retirement Benefits Specialist at 800-786-6464.

SECTION 4: Updating Your Information Securely

  1. How long will LACERA keep my employment and retirement information on file?

    We will keep records of your County employment and retirement plan information stored securely on file forever. It is important to notify LACERA if your contact information changes so that we can contact you, if necessary, regarding your retirement benefits.

  2. How do I advise LACERA of my new address?

    Active County employees should report a change of address to their department personnel office. Your personnel office will forward the information to LACERA.

    Retired and deferred members may report the change by calling LACERA at 800-786-6464, through My LACERA, or by completing a Change of Address form and returning it to LACERA. You can download a copy from our Brochures & Forms page. To confirm that the address change was made, check the history of your interactions with us on your My LACERA account.

  3. I need to report the death of a relative who worked for L.A. County. What information does LACERA need?

    If your deceased relative was an L.A. County employee or LACERA retiree, contact LACERA at 800-786-6464 as soon as possible. Our staff will provide the information you need to know about required documents and any available death/burial benefits.

    A Survivor & Death Benefits Q&A brochure is available on the Brochures & Forms page to assist you, as a survivor or beneficiary, in initiating the benefits process.

  4. Which member services can be done over the phone?

    The Retirement Benefits Specialists in LACERA’s Call Center will assist you in completing many retirement-related procedures over the phone, including the following. Give them a call at 800-786-6464.

    • Retired Members, Survivors: Enroll in direct deposit
    • Retired and Deferred Members, Survivors: Change of address
    • Active, Retired, Deferred Members, and Survivors: Name change
  5. When I email questions or send correspondence to LACERA, should I provide my Social Security Number?

    For safety purposes, you should not include your Social Security Number on any emails or correspondence you send to LACERA. We only need your first and last name to access your retirement information and respond to your questions.

  6. Can I do any retirement transactions online?

    You can securely perform many transactions and account changes related to your retirement benefits by registering an account on My LACERA. Access your account and:

    If you’re an active member:

    • Generate a personalized Retirement Benefit Estimate;
    • Update or add a mailing address;
    • Update or add up to three phone numbers — home, cell, and work.

    If you’re retired:

    • Change beneficiary information;
    • Adjust your federal and California state tax withholding elections and submit them online;
    • Register and update your direct deposit information;
    • Update your mailing address, home address, and payment address;
    • Update your cellular, work, and home phone numbers;
    • Update your e-mail address, password, and security questions;
    • Print 1099-Rs and ADRs.

SECTION 5: Eligibility and Benefits

  1. How does a defined benefit plan differ from a defined contribution plan?

    In a defined benefit plan, the employer promises to pay a specified benefit upon the plan holder’s retirement. That benefit is a lifetime benefit, paid to the recipient for the rest of his or her life. The employer invests the funds in a defined benefit plan and bears the risk of adverse investment performance.

    Defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) and 457 plans, are savings accounts. Benefit payments (withdrawals) under these plans stop when your money runs out. In these types of plans, the employee decides how to invest the funds and bears the risk of adverse investment performance. Benefit amounts in defined contribution plans are determined by investment performance and amount of contributions.

    LACERA’s retirement plans are defined benefit plans and, at retirement, provide a guaranteed monthly allowance paid for the rest of the member’s life. LACERA benefits are based on your final average salary, retirement age, and years of service.

  2. I worked for L.A. County many years ago. Am I eligible for a retirement benefit?

    If you are wondering about your eligibility to receive benefits upon retirement, call us at 800-786-6464. Our Retirement Benefits Specialists can access your records with your Social Security Number or employee number.

  3. I have been away from the County for a while. How do I find out my retirement benefits with the County?

    If you have questions about what retirement plan you are in or your retirement benefits with LACERA, call us at 800-786-6464. If you terminated County service and deferred your retirement or established reciprocity with another agency, please keep LACERA informed of any address changes. Deferred members receive Annual Benefits Statements that include amount of service credit and, upon eligibility to retire, an estimate of the allowance.

SECTION 6: Taxes and Financial Matters

  1. I’m retired. When will I get the information I need from LACERA to file my taxes?

    LACERA mails a Form 1099-R to all retirees, survivors, and beneficiaries each year by the end of January. The Form 1099-R reports all the income you received from LACERA during the previous year.

  2. Where can I find information about the 457 and 401(k) plans?

    The Los Angeles County 401(k) Savings Plan and Horizons 457 Plan are defined contribution savings plans sponsored by Los Angeles County and administered by Great-West Retirement Services. For enrollment and account information, visit https://countyla.gwrs.com/login.do or call 800-947-0845.

  3. How can I stay updated on LACERA’s financial situation?

    The Investments section includes our annual reports, which provide information about LACERA’s investments as of the fiscal year end, June 30th. Read the Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) for a quick overview or, for a complete report with all the pertinent statistics and actuarial information, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The Investments section also includes actuarial and corporate governance reports, plus detailed information about LACERA’s real estate investments.

SECTION 7: LACERA Boards and Governance

  1. Who serves on LACERA’s Boards?

    LACERA’s Board of Retirement (BOR) is composed of nine members, an alternate member, and an alternate retired member. Four seats on each Board are appointed by the Board of Supervisors, two seats are elected by LACERA general members, one seat is elected by active safety members, and another is elected by retired members. The alternate member is elected by safety members; retirees elect the alternate retired member. The County Treasurer and Tax Collector, an ex-officio member, is required by California law to serve on both Boards.

    Each Board member has a profile page on lacera.com, under their respective Board tab. Each member’s profile includes biographical information, which includes credentials and history of service to LACERA.

  2. When are the Board meetings held?

    If you want to see the Boards in action, you are welcome to attend their meetings at LACERA. The Board of Retirement holds meetings at 9:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday and the Thursday following the second Wednesday in each month. The Board of Investments meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. Each Board’s meeting schedule is available on lacera.com, at the bottom of their respective Board page. You’ll also find agendas there, posted prior to each meeting.

    Minutes for both Boards and each Board committee, archived since 2010, are available at lacera.com, at the bottom of each Board page.

  3. I want to discuss an agenda item with the Board. What do I do?

    On the morning of the meeting, you will find "Request to Address the Board" forms on the table outside of the boardroom. Complete the form and hand it to the Board's staff secretary.

9/5/18