Reciprocity allows KCERA members to move from one retirement agency in California to another without jeopardizing their earned retirement benefits. In fact, by establishing reciprocity between retirement agencies, your total retirement benefits can actually increase. But to reap the benefits of reciprocity, you must comply with certain rules.
KCERA has reciprocal agreements with 19 other California counties operating under the County Employees’ Retirement Law of 1937 (CERL); the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS); the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS); and any other public retirement agency that has a reciprocal agreement with CalPERS.
Rules of Reciprocity
To establish and maintain reciprocity, you must comply with the following rules. Violating any of them will break reciprocity, resulting in the loss of all reciprocal benefits.
- You must leave active membership in the first agency and enter active membership in the new agency within six months.
- You must complete a form requesting the establishment of reciprocity between the agencies.
- You cannot withdraw your contributions from any reciprocal agency.
- You must retire from all reciprocal agencies on the same date.
Benefits of Reciprocity
If you establish reciprocity between KCERA and an eligible retirement agency in California, you will be entitled to the following benefits:
- The age for determining your retirement contribution rate in the new agency will be the same as your entry age in the first agency. This could lower your contribution rate.
- The service credit earned in the first agency will contribute to meeting your vesting and retirement eligibilities in the new agency. This means you do not need to “start over” when transferring between agencies.
- The highest salary earned in any agency will be used by all agencies to determine your “final average compensation” when calculating your retirement benefits. This could significantly increase your benefit from the first agency.
- If you were a member of the first agency prior to 2013, you may be eligible for a non-PEPRA benefit tier in the new agency.