Your Membership

Which tier am I in?Your MCERA membership is a valuable component of the benefit package provided by your employer. Each employer that participates in MCERA has its own retirement plan, and each employer decides the level of benefit it provides. Your plan is funded by contributions from you and your employer, and earnings from investments.

Defined Benefit Plan

As a defined benefit plan, MCERA provides vested members with a lifetime retirement benefit based on total years of retirement service credit, age at retirement and highest average compensation.

Some of the key features of MCERA's defined benefit plan include:

  • Financial security. Retired members receive a pension payment every month for the rest of their lives, and this amount may increase over time.
  • Professional asset management. MCERA's pension funds are managed by professional investment managers, not individual plan participants.
  • Survivor benefits. When an MCERA member dies, survivor benefits are available to beneficiaries, including lump-sum payments and lifetime continuances to eligible survivors.
  • Disability benefits. Members who have been permanently incapacitated from performing their regular job duties can apply for a disability retirement. If granted, the benefit is payable for life.

Eligibility for Membership

All permanent employees working at least 75% of full-time in a permanent position for one of MCERA's participating employers are eligible for membership and automatically enrolled in the retirement plan. All other employees working under contract or in temporary, seasonal, part time (less than 75% of full time) or provisional positions are not eligible for membership.

Elected officials and new employees who are age 60 or older as of their date of MCERA membership may waive participation in the plan.

Membership Entry Date

Your membership entry date is the date you start making contributions to MCERA. This date is used to determine your retirement tier and is the starting point for accruing retirement service credit.

Membership Classifications and Types

Members are classified as either Safety or General. Safety members are employed in active law enforcement, active fire suppression, or probation. All other eligible employees are considered General members.

There are three types of MCERA members. Active members currently work for one of MCERA’s participating employers. Deferred members have terminated employment and left their retirement contributions on deposit. Retired members have retired for service or disability and are receiving a monthly benefit.

Pension Tiers

The calculation of your retirement benefit depends on your pension tier, which is based on your employer and your date of entry into MCERA membership. Your pension tier determines your calculation formula, minimum retirement age, highest average compensation period, and maximum annual cost of living adjustment.

Classic tiers are applicable to people who became MCERA members on or before December 31, 2012 (and who are still members), and those who enter MCERA membership on or after January 1, 2013, with Classic tier reciprocity. PEPRA tiers were established as a result of the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013. Members who enter MCERA on or after January 1, 2013, and do not have reciprocity are in a PEPRA tier.

Click the link for your employer below to see the details of your tier.

City of San Rafael
City of San Rafael
Tier Membership
Dates
Benefit
Formula
Min
Age
Max
COLA
HAC
Period
Safety Classic Tier 1 prior to 7/1/11 3% at 55 50 3% 1 year
Safety Classic Tier 2 7/1/11-12/31/12 3% at 55 50 2% 3 years
Safety PEPRA Tier 3 1/1/13-present 2.7% at 57 50 2% 3 years
General Classic Tier 1 prior to 7/1/11 2.7% at 55 50 3% 1 year
General Classic Tier 2 7/1/11-12/31/12 2% at 55 55 2% 3 years
General PEPRA Tier 3 1/1/13-present 2% at 62 52 2% 3 years
County of Marin
County of Marin
Tier Membership
Dates
Benefit
Formula
Min
Age
Max
COLA
HAC
Period
Safety Classic Tier 1A prior to 7/1/80 3% at 55 50 4% 1 year
Safety Classic Tier 1B prior to 7/1/80 3% at 50 50 4% 1 year
Safety Classic Tier 2A 7/1/80-12/31/12 3% at 55 50 2% 3 years
Safety Classic Tier 2B* 7/1/80-12/31/12 3% at 50 50 2% 3 years
Safety PEPRA Tier 3 1/1/13-present 2.7% at 57 50 2% 3 years
General Classic Tier 1 1/1/57-6/30/80 2% at 55.5 50 4% 1 year
General Classic Tier 2** 7/1/80-7/6/02 2% at 61.25 50 2% 3 years
General Classic Tier 3** 7/1/80-6/30/08 2% at 55 50 2% 3 years
General Classic Tier 3A 7/1/08-12/31/11 2% at 55 55 2% 3 years
General Classic Tier 4 1/1/12-12/31/12 2% at 61.25 55 2% 3 years
General PEPRA Tier 5 1/1/13-present 2% at 62 52 2% 3 years
* The benefit formula for deferred County of Marin safety Tier 2B members with termination dates on or before July 6, 2002 is 2% at 50. The 3% at 55 benefit formula applies to deferred members with termination dates from July 7, 2002 through December 31, 2004. All other safety Tier 2B provisions are the same.
** When the County created general Tier 3, general members were given an option to "opt out" of Tier 3 and remain in Tier 2. If you did not complete and return the election form in 2002, all of your service credit was automatically transferred to Tier 3.
LAFCO
LAFCO
Tier Membership
Dates
Benefit
Formula
Min
Age
Max
COLA
HAC
Period
General Classic Tier 2 prior to 7/1/03 2% at 58.5 50 4% 1 year
General Classic Tier 3 7/1/03-12/31/12 2% at 55 50 2% 3 years
General PEPRA Tier 4 1/1/13-present 2% at 62 52 2% 3 years
Marin City Community Services District
Marin City Community Services District
Tier Membership
Dates
Benefit
Formula
Min
Age
Max
COLA
HAC
Period
General Classic Tier 1 prior to 1/1/13 2% at 58.5 50 4% 1 year
General PEPRA Tier 2 1/1/13-present 2% at 62 52 4% 3 years
Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District
Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District
Tier Membership
Dates
Benefit
Formula
Min
Age
Max
COLA
HAC
Period
General Classic Tier 1 prior to 1/1/13 2% at 55.5 50 4% 1 year
General PEPRA Tier 2 1/1/13-present 2% at 62 52 4% 3 years
Marin Superior Court
Marin Superior Court
Tier Membership
Dates
Benefit
Formula
Min
Age
Max
COLA
HAC
Period
General Classic Tier 1 prior to 7/1/80 2% at 55.5 50 4% 1 year
General Classic Tier 2* 7/1/80-7/6/02 2% at 61.25 50 2% 3 years
General Classic Tier 3* 7/1/80-12/31/08 2% at 55 50 2% 3 years
General Classic Tier 4 1/1/09-12/31/12 2% at 55 55 2% 3 years
General PEPRA Tier 5 1/1/13-present 2% at 62 52 2% 3 years
* When the Courts created general Tier 3, general members were given an option to "opt out" of Tier 3 and remain in Tier 2. If you did not complete and return the election form in 2002, all of your service credit was automatically transferred to Tier 3.
Novato Fire Protection District
Novato Fire Protection District
Tier Membership
Dates
Benefit
Formula
Min
Age
Max
COLA
HAC
Period
Safety Classic Tier 1* prior to 1/1/08 3% at 50 50 4% 1 year
Safety Classic Tier 2 1/1/08-12/31/12 3% at 55 50 4% 1 year
Safety PEPRA Tier 3 1/1/13-6/30/17 2.7% at 57 50 4% 3 years
Safety PEPRA Tier 3A 7/1/17-present 2.7% at 57 50 2% 3 years
General Classic Tier 1* prior to 1/1/13 2% at 55 50 4% 1 year
General PEPRA Tier 2 1/1/13-5/31/15 2% at 62 52 4% 3 years
General PEPRA Tier 2A 6/1/16-present 2% at 62 52 2% 3 years
* Deferred Novato Fire Tier 1 members who terminated employment on or before December 31, 2001 have a different benefit formula. For these members in safety Tier 1, the 2% at 50 formula applies. For these members in general Tier 1, the 2% at 58.5 formula applies. All other provisions for safety and general Tier 1 remain the same.
Southern Marin Fire Protection District
Southern Marin Fire Protection District
Tier Membership
Dates
Benefit
Formula
Min
Age
Max
COLA
HAC
Period
Safety Classic Tier 1* prior to 7/1/05 3% at 50 50 4% 1 year
Safety Classic Tier 2 7/1/05-6/30/14 3% at 55 50 4% 1 year
Safety Classic Tier 2A 7/1/14-present 3% at 55 50 3% 3 years
Safety PEPRA Tier 3 1/1/13-6/30/14 2.7% at 57 50 4% 3 years
Safety PEPRA Tier 3A 7/1/14-present 2.7% at 57 50 3% 3 years
General Classic Tier 1 prior to 1/1/13 2.7% at 55 50 4% 1 year
General PEPRA Tier 2 1/1/13-present 2% at 62 52 4% 3 years
* The benefit formula for deferred Southern Marin Fire safety Tier 1 members who terminated employment with the district on or before June 30, 2001 is 2% at 50. All other safety Tier 1 provisions are the same.
Tamalpais Community Services District
Tamalpais Community Services District
Tier Membership
Dates
Benefit
Formula
Min
Age
Max
COLA
HAC
Period
General Classic Tier 1 prior to 1/1/13 2% at 58.5 50 4% 1 year
General PEPRA Tier 2 1/1/13-present 2% at 62 52 4% 3 years