The Unmodified Retirement Option provides you with the highest monthly retirement allowance you can receive, based on your age at retirement, amount of service credit, and final average compensation. Other options reduce the amount of the monthly benefit to which you are entitled in order to increase the benefit provided to your survivor in the event of your death.
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|Eligible Beneficiaries||Contributory Plans (A, B, C, D or G) Survivor Benefit||Non-Contributory Plan (E) Survivor Benefit||Change Beneficiary After Retirement|
|Eligible spouse or California state registered domestic partner; if none, unmarried, minor child||65% of member's allowance||55% of member's allowance||None to the survivor allowance. For contributory plan members only; if the eligible beneficiary dies before the member, the member can name a new beneficiary to receive any remaining accumulated contributions.|
To estimate your monthly allowance amount under the different options, log in My LACERA to use the retirement benefit estimate calculator.
If you are a member of Plan A, B, C, D, or G, the survivor benefit is 65 percent of your allowance. For Plan E members, the survivor benefit is 55 percent.
Your spouse or California state-registered domestic partner is eligible for a survivor allowance. For your spouse or domestic partner to be eligible, you must be married or registered as domestic partners with the state of California for at least one year prior to your retirement.
If there is no eligible spouse or domestic partner, your minor child is eligible for the allowance. Children are eligible for the allowance up to the age of 18 as long as they are not married. Eligibility may be extended through age 21 if the child remains unmarried and is a full-time student in an accredited educational institution.
Changing Your Beneficiary After Retirement
- Beneficiary of the Survivor Allowance
- With the Unmodified Retirement Option, you may not change your eligible spouse, domestic partner, or minor child as the beneficiary of the survivor allowance. If you divorce your eligible spouse or dissolve your domestic partnership, or if your spouse, domestic partner, or minor child dies before you, you may choose a new beneficiary. However, upon your death, your new beneficiary would only receive the remaining balance of the retirement contributions and related interest, if any, that you paid into the fund when you were employed, not a monthly continuing benefit. There are no accumulated contributions in Plan E, so changing the beneficiary after retirement does not apply.
- Note that in the event of a divorce or termination of partnership, a court order could supersede your new beneficiary designation and direct the benefit back to your ex-spouse or partner.
- Beneficiary of the Lump-Sum Death/Burial Benefit
- All LACERA retirees are entitled to designate someone to receive a one-time, $5,000 lump-sum death/burial benefit. This benefit is flexible, and you may change the named beneficiary after retirement.
Unmodified Pension Advance Option
The Pension Advance Option is designed to provide you with additional retirement income from LACERA prior to age 62 and a reduced amount after 62. You become eligible for early retirement benefits from Social Security at age 62, which may or may not equal the reduction in your LACERA retirement allowance. This means LACERA might pay a higher benefit until the member reaches age 62, after which LACERA will reduce the benefit amount paid depending on the amount of the Social Security benefit.
Under this option, you must submit a statement that shows your Social Security benefit, and a percentage of that estimate is added to the member’s LACERA retirement allowance until you reach age 62. At 62, the full Social Security benefit is subtracted from the allowance.
- Service retirement prior to age 62
- Member of contributory plan
- Submit a Social Security statement of benefits
- Elect of one of the following:
- Unmodified Option
- Option 1
If your eligible survivor dies before you, you are not able to name a new beneficiary to receive a continuing benefit. However, you can name a new beneficiary to receive the remaining balance of your retirement contributions and interest related to the balance that you paid into the fund.
This option is not available to Plan E members.
Retiree and Survivor Healthcare
All LACERA retirees are eligible to enroll in a LACERA-administered retiree healthcare plan. Upon the death of a retired member, any survivor or beneficiary who is receiving a continuing monthly benefit from LACERA and who qualifies as a surviving eligible dependent, as defined by LACERA’s Retiree Healthcare Administrative Guidelines, is eligible to enroll in LACERA-administered healthcare coverage.
At retirement, if you do not designate your eligible spouse, domestic partner, or minor child to receive a continuing benefit upon your death, he or she will not be eligible for LACERA-administered survivor healthcare.
If you are ready to start the retirement process, call LACERA at 800-786-6464 or schedule an appointment to speak with a Retirement Benefits Specialist.