Marking the Trail

The autumn equinox is frequently associated with harvest and gratitude. In San Bernardino County and the rest of California, the season offers much to be thankful for, including spectacular mountain landscapes and plentiful hiking trails.

At SBCERA, we often equate the journey to retirement with hiking. At times, retirement can feel far off in the distance and you may find yourself tired along the way. Yet, with persistence, planning and taking time to rest and recharge, you can appreciate the journey as well as the views at the top.

As you make your way through your career, stay tuned for important information from SBCERA as we help mark the trail and provide you with the gear and resources needed for a successful hike.

Mile 1 – Your First Member-Versary

Upon reaching one year of service credit, we will send you a postcard with some helpful reminders such as signing up for MemberDirect and reviewing your beneficiary designations. As an Active Member, you can update your beneficiaries (both primary and alternate) at any time by sending SBCERA a completed and signed Beneficiary Designation/Change form. The form is available both in MemberDirect and at

Mile 5 – Vesting

You become vested in the SBCERA Plan when you reach five years of service credit or reach age 70. Vesting qualifies you to collect a lifetime monthly benefit upon retirement. SBCERA will send you a Vested-in-Plan (VIP) postcard when you reach this important milestone.

Water Break – Member Statements and Benefit Estimates

Each year, SBCERA sends you an annual member statement. We encourage you to take time to review the statement, evaluate your status and prepare for the rest of your hike. The statement shows member and demographic information, contributions on deposit and future benefit estimates based on various retirement dates. Separately, you can generate your own estimate in MemberDirect, or contact our office for a more precise estimate based on a specific, hypothetical retirement date.

The Summit – Retirement Eligibility

You may already have this milestone circled on your calendar, but we will send you a postcard notification nonetheless. Depending on past work with an SBCERA-covered employer or membership in another California-based public retirement system, you may be able to purchase service credit or establish reciprocity to become eligible for retirement sooner.

Enjoy the Views! 1099-Rs

As a retiree or payee, you will receive monthly pay statements and annual Tax Form 1099-Rs from SBCERA. Similar to W-2 forms you received while working, the Form 1099-R will report the total income you received from SBCERA and the amount of federal and/or state taxes withheld, if any. You can also view, download and print 1099-Rs in MemberDirect for each benefit type received since 2005.

These are simply some of the helpful ways we will provide guidance to and through retirement. You can expect additional communication from us, including seminar invitations and of course, this newsletter. Wherever you are in your hike to retirement, SBCERA is here to help you stay on the trail and reach the peak. We are grateful to serve you and hope you will appreciate the very best of SBCERA membership and retirement.