If you leave your job before retirement, you have several options available to you. Your eligibility for the different options depends on your years of service credit and/or what type of employee contributions you have. Each option below specifies whether the option is available to vested and/or non-vested members (i.e. members who have a minimum of five years of service credit or not). Upon your termination, you may only select one option.
- Refund or Rollover of Refundable Contributions: A refund is a lump sum made payable to you, while a rollover is withdrawing your refundable contributions with SBCERA and depositing them into another qualified retirement plan, such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or new employer’s retirement plan. Vested or non-vested members may choose one or the other, or they can do a combination of a refund and a rollover. Any non-refundable contributions in your retirement account cannot be refunded or rolled over. Selecting a refund or rollover of your contributions will end your membership with SBCERA and terminate any future claims for a monthly lifetime retirement benefit including disability benefits. In addition, refunds are subject to taxes as personal income and may be subject to an additional early withdrawal tax, whereas rollovers are not. Therefore, 20% will be withheld in federal income taxes on any refunds. You may also request to withhold an additional 2% for state taxes. (VESTED OR NON-VESTED)
- Deferred Retirement with Reciprocity: If you leave your job for and/or are reemployed by another public agency in California within 180 days of your termination, whether you are vested or not, you may be eligible to establish reciprocity. To establish reciprocity, you must leave your contributions and interest on deposit with SBCERA. Upon establishing reciprocity, you can no longer refund or rollover your contributions from SBCERA while you are still a member of the reciprocal agency and you will be required to retire concurrently from both (or all) systems on the same date. (VESTED OR NON-VESTED)
- Leave Funds On Deposit: If you are non-vested, you can choose to leave your refundable contributions and interest “on deposit” with SBCERA and continue to earn interest. Currently, the interest rate is based on the six-month Treasury bill (T-bill) rate. Note: You may still request to refund or rollover your accumulated refundable contributions and interest at any time. (NON-VESTED ONLY)
- Deferred Retirement: If you are vested, you can choose to leave your refundable contributions and interest “on deposit” with SBCERA until such time that you are eligible and/or ready to service retire. While on deferred retirement, your refundable contributions continue to earn interest. You may still take a refund of your refundable contributions at a later date. However, if you do so, you will end your membership with SBCERA and forfeit any future SBCERA retirement benefits. (VESTED ONLY)
- Service Retirement: If you are vested and eligible, you may decide to apply for retirement and begin receiving your monthly lifetime retirement benefit. (VESTED ONLY)
Selecting Your Option
Upon termination of your employment, it is essential that you review your options carefully. Please contact SBCERA to learn more about your options and the steps to complete your selection. To request a refund/rollover of your contributions, you must complete a Request for Refund of Contributions form.
To defer your retirement with or without reciprocity, you must complete a Request to Defer Retirement form.