Active and Deferred Members

Retirement Planning Checklist PDFIt's never too early to start planning for retirement. Learning how your plan works early in your career can help you maximize your future benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is vesting?

Vesting entitles you to receive a pension from MCERA once you have met all eligibility requirements.

Read more about vesting.

When can I retire?

Your minimum retirement eligibility requirements are determined by your employer and your tier.

Read more about retirement eligibility.

What is reciprocity?

Reciprocity allows MCERA members to move from one retirement system in California to another and maintain earned retirement benefits.

Read more about reciprocity.

How is my retirement benefit calculated?

Your retirement benefit is calculated by multiplying three factors:

  • A percentage, which is determined by your tier and age at retirement
  • Your highest average compensation
  • Your service credit

Read more about calculating your benefit.

Can I add service credit to my account?

You may be eligible to purchase additional service credit that counts toward vesting, service retirement eligibility, and post-retirement medical benefit eligibility if you worked in an extra hire or temporary capacity, if you worked less than 75% of full time, had medical leave without pay, or previously withdrew your retirement contributions from MCERA.

Read more about purchasing service credit.

What if I become disabled?

If you have an illness or injury that permanently incapacitates you from performing the essential functions of your job, you may be eligible to apply for disability retirement.

Read more about disability retirement.

What if I leave employment before retiring?

Leaving employment prior to retirement does not mean that your rights to earned retirement benefits are lost, and you don't have to withdraw your MCERA account just because you're leaving your job. In fact, there are good reasons to leave your contributions on deposit.

Read more about terminating employment.

After retirement, will I receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA)?

If you are retired on or before March 31 you may receive an annual COLA with your retirement benefit paid at the end of April. MCERA retirement tiers have maximum COLAs of 2%, 3% or 4%.

Read more about cost of living adjustments.