The retirement benefits paid to KCERA members are funded from three sources: member contributions, employer contributions and investment earnings. Although member contributions have no impact on the calculation of your pension, they are an essential component of KCERA’s defined benefit plan. They are also critical to your membership: As long as your retirement contributions are on deposit, you remain a KCERA member.
Contributions are deducted from your biweekly pay on a pre-tax basis and are credited to your account each pay period. Depending on KCERA’s investment earnings, interest may be credited to your account semiannually. Your biweekly deductions will continue throughout your employment (unless you work for a special district that pays a portion of member contributions on behalf of its employees).
The amount of your retirement contributions is based on a percentage rate of your base pay plus any pensionable “special pays” permitted by law. Contribution rates* are assigned by membership classification, benefit tier, KCERA entry age and/or law, as follows:
- General members hired prior to 2013. Rates are determined by benefit tier and KCERA entry age.
- Safety members hired prior to 2013. Rates are determined by benefit tier and safety bargaining unit. Some safety rates are flat; others are based on KCERA entry age.
- “New members” who joined KCERA on or after January 1, 2013. Rates are 50% of the “normal cost rate,” which is calculated by KCERA’s actuary pursuant to PEPRA.
If you terminate active or reciprocal employment, you may elect to withdraw your funds. If you do so, your KCERA membership and your right to future benefits end. In addition, you may not borrow from or withdraw your contributions as an active or reciprocal member.
Making Additional Contributions
You are not allowed to contribute additional funds to KCERA to increase your retirement benefit, except for service purchases. Remember, your retirement contribution balance has no impact on the calculation of your pension. If you would like to save more money for retirement, please contact the Kern County Deferred Compensation Plan at (661) 868-3467.
(* If your employer is integrated with Social Security, your contribution rate is reduced by one-third on the first $161.00 of biweekly salary.)