Active Member

An Active Member is someone who is currently working for a participating active SBCERA employer and contributing toward their SBCERA membership.

Membership Requirements

Any employee who is appointed to a regular position whose service is greater than fifty percent (50%) of the full standard of hours required by a participating SBCERA employer (e.g. 20 hours per week or more) must become a member of SBCERA.

If you are age 60 or older prior to employment, you may waive membership in SBCERA within 90 days of your initial appointment to the position requiring your membership in SBCERA.

All Active Members and their employers contribute to SBCERA. These contributions are held in trust by SBCERA and invested for the long-term.

Membership Classifications & Tiers

SBCERA administers benefits for two membership classifications, Safety and General, and two tiers, Tier 1 and Tier 2.

Safety Members are those employed in active law enforcement or active fire suppression. All other members are classified as General Members.

Tier 1 Members are those with an SBCERA membership date prior to January 1, 2013.

Tier 2 Members are those with an SBCERA membership date on or after January 1, 2013.

Below is a breakdown of the benefit formulas administered by SBCERA for each membership classification and tier:

Membership Tier


Benefit Formula

Tier 1 


2% @ 55


3% @ 50

Tier 2


2.5% @ 67


2.7% @ 57

SBCERA Membership Date

 Your SBCERA membership date is determined based on the following:

  • Your date of hire as a permanent employee, or
  • Your date of transfer from a non-qualifying position to one that requires membership, or
  • Your date of entry into membership with another public retirement system with which you have established reciprocity. Therefore, if you enter SBCERA membership under Tier 2, but establish reciprocity with another public retirement system where you were a member prior to January 1, 2013, you may be reclassified as a Tier 1 member.

Types of Retirement

  • Service Retirement Retirement directly from active service with a participating employer is called a Service Retirement. This is a lifetime monthly benefit with the option to leave a lifetime continuance to a designated beneficiary. To qualify, you must be vested and eligible to retire.
  • Disability Retirement If you become “disabled” and you are permanently incapable of performing your essential job duties, you may be eligible for a Disability Retirement. There are two types of Disability Retirements: Service-Connected and Nonservice-Connected.
  • Deferred Retirement If you are vested and terminate your employment prior to retirement you may choose to take a Deferred Retirement. To do so, you must leave your retirement contributions, if any, on deposit with SBCERA. You can retire at a later date when you are eligible and ready to receive your lifetime retirement benefit.

My Future SBCERA Retirement Benefit

SBCERA is a defined benefit plan, which means you are promised a lifetime retirement benefit based on a formula and not how much money you have contributed to the plan. Instead, it will be based on the following four factors:

  1. Age at Retirement
  2. Years of Service Credit
  3. Final Average Compensation
  4. Benefit Formula (Tier 1 or 2, General or Safety) – see above.

Find out more about calculating your benefit.

Planning My Retirement

Throughout your career, SBCERA encourages you to stay informed about your benefits. SBCERA offers a variety of resources to assist you with planning your retirement and learning about your benefits. In addition, you can contact SBCERA for more personal assistance. 

Please note: SBCERA only administers your retirement benefit. We do not manage retiree health or other insurance benefits. Questions regarding other retirement related topics should be directed to your employer’s Human Resources or Employee Benefits Department.

Other Benefit Options or Considerations for Active Members

  • Purchasing Service Credit: Looking for ways to enhance your lifetime retirement benefit? Consider purchasing additional years of service credit, if eligible.
  • Applying for Retirement: Once you have chosen your effective date of retirement, follow these easy steps to apply for and begin receiving your lifetime retirement benefit from SBCERA.
  • Divorce & Your Benefits: Have you had a divorce as an active member of SBCERA? If so, find out how a divorce may impact your benefit and the steps you must take with SBCERA.
  • Social Security & Your SBCERA Benefit: SBCERA members* do not contribute to Social Security. When preparing for retirement, you should determine if you will receive a benefit from Social Security and how much it will be.
  • Termination Before Retirement: If you leave your job before you retire, you have several options available including reciprocity. Reciprocity allows you to link eligible public retirement systems together. Your eligibility for these options depends on your years of service credit and/or what type of contributions you have in your SBCERA account.
  • Death Benefits for Active Members: Is your beneficiary up-to-date? It is essential that you update your beneficiary if there is a change. If you die prior to retirement, your beneficiary would choose from different death benefits available to them. These benefits depend on the type of beneficiary and your accumulated years of service credit.

*Law Library employees do participate in Social Security.