Other Retirement Options & Considerations

Other Retirement Options & Considerations


Your Retirement Benefit Payment

Your SBCERA retirement benefit will be paid once a month on the last business day of the month. You may not receive your first benefit payment for one to two months after your retirement. However, your first benefit payment will be prorated based on your effective date of retirement.

At retirement, you will be required to sign up for direct deposit and designate where your benefit payment should be deposited. This information can be updated at any time during retirement.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

Inflation can erode your retirement benefits over time. SBCERA provides retirees and beneficiaries with up to a 2% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) each year to help keep pace with the increasing cost to live. The COLA is determined annually based on the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and, if approved, takes effect April 1st. To be eligible for the COLA in any particular year, you must retire on or before April 1st of that year.


If you have had a divorce while you were a member of SBCERA, you must notify SBCERA as soon as possible. If not, it may delay your retirement or cause the suspension of your current and/or future retirement benefit.


Your benefit is considered taxable income. At retirement, you will be given the option to elect whether to have federal or state taxes (California only) withheld from your SBCERA benefit and at whatever rate you choose. During retirement, you can revoke or change your tax election at any time.

Documents Required

You must provide an original or certified copy of a birth certificate, passport or naturalization paperwork for you and your beneficiary, and a marriage certificate or your domestic partnership registration information, if applicable. You can provide these documents to SBCERA at any time during your career.

Social Security

SBCERA members do not participate in Social Security. To qualify for Social Security you must have 40 credits.  Contact Social Security to verify your eligibility and the projected amount of your Social Security benefit, if any, at SSA.gov or by calling (800) 772-1213.

Retiree Insurance Benefits

SBCERA only administers your retirement benefit. We do not manage retiree medical or insurance benefits. Therefore, be sure to notify your employer about your retirement to learn about and apply for benefits and options they may offer you, such as retiree healthcare, dental, vision, cash-outs and/or life insurance. SBCERA will provide you with referral information and contacts for additional information and options. You may contact the County of San Bernardino Employee Benefits & Services Division at (909) 387-5787.


You may select to have deductions taken from your retirement benefit for services as approved by SBCERA. These may include tax withholdings, medical or dental premiums, or long-term care insurance.

IRS Limits

Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code sets limits on the dollar amounts paid as retirement benefits. You may or may not be affected by these Section 415 limits. Your SBCERA Retirement Specialist will notify you if your retirement benefit will exceed the 415 limits and what this may mean for your benefit.


Optional Benefit Deductions

SBCERA only administers your retirement benefit. We do not manage retiree medical or insurance benefits. However, there are a few deduction options that exist for SBCERA retirees and beneficiaries. Below is a list of options that can be deducted from your benefit including the organizations you should contact for additional information:


Social Security

SBCERA Members* do not participate in Social Security. In other words, your earnings from your SBCERA-covered employment are not covered under Social Security. 

Most SBCERA Members do participate in Medicare.  Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. SBCERA will generally notify you to apply for Medicare before you reach age 65. You should apply even if you do not intend to retire yet.


Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

Determining the COLA

Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA), up to a 2 percent increase, are given on April 1st of each year based on the increase or decrease in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) as of January 1st of each year (Government Code section 31870). The COLA is always rounded to the nearest one-half percent and will never exceed 2 percent. For example, if the CPI goes up by 1.34 percent, SBCERA’s retirees and eligible beneficiaries receive a 1.5 percent COLA.

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