While you cannot transfer (“roll over”) contributions earned in a
public retirement system to and/or from another retirement
system, you may be eligible to
establish reciprocity with the new system. Reciprocity allows you
to link public retirement systems to preserve and enhance your
total retirement benefits. Essentially, it gives you
portability by allowing you to leave your retirement
contributions on deposit, regardless of your length of service,
and to take a deferred retirement.
Advantages of Reciprocity
The service credit earned in one system may be used to meet
the service credit requirements for vesting and/or retirement
eligibility in another system. However, when calculating your
benefit amount, each system will only use the years of service
credit earned with their system.
Your highest final average compensation from either system
may be used by both (or all) systems to determine your retirement
If you were a member of an eligible reciprocal public
retirement system prior to January 1, 2013 and establish
reciprocity, you may be eligible for the tier and benefit levels
in place prior to January 1, 2013. Therefore, those entering
SBCERA as Tier 2 members who establish reciprocity with another
public retirement system, where they were a member prior to
January 1, 2013, may be eligible for Tier 1 SBCERA membership.
Upon doing so, your SBCERA contribution rate will likely change
based on the tier you are placed in. Be aware that you may owe
additional contributions or receive a refund for overpayment of
contributions due to the change in your contribution rate.
Requirements to Establish Reciprocity
To establish reciprocity between SBCERA and another eligible
public retirement system, you must meet the following
You must elect to establish reciprocity with an eligible
public retirement system. It is not automatic.
The time between leaving one public retirement system and
entering another cannot exceed six months, or 180 days.
There cannot be any overlapping service credit. You must have
a clean break in service from the previous system before entering
the new one. For example, you cannot be on vacation time with the
previous system while working at the new system. SBCERA may be
able to delay your membership date to the extent permitted by
Your contributions from the previous system must be “on
deposit” with that system, meaning you did not withdraw them when
you terminated your employment.
You cannot be retired from the other system earning your
Electing to Establish Reciprocity
To elect to establish reciprocity, you must complete one of the
New SBCERA members or returning SBCERA
members: Complete the appropriate section
regarding reciprocity (prior public agency employment) on the
SBCERA Membership Enrollment Affidavit provided to you by your
employer when you begin your employment.
Current SBCERA members: Submit a written
request to SBCERA including the name of the system with which
you wish to establish reciprocity.
Members leaving SBCERA-covered
employment: Complete a Request to Defer Retirement form and indicate
the reciprocal retirement system you want to establish
Upon submitting your request, SBCERA will work closely with the
other public retirement system to complete all necessary
processes. SBCERA will inform you if, and when, reciprocity has
been established. This process can take up to 8 to
10 months to complete.
Eligible Public Retirement Systems
SBCERA has reciprocal agreements with the following systems for
those entering into membership with SBCERA:
California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS)
California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)
Judge’s Retirement System (JRS) and the Judge’s Retirement
System II (JRS II)
Any pension plan that has reciprocity with CalPERS
Retirement systems in the other 19 counties operated under
the County Employee’s Retirement Law of 1937 (1937 Act), which
IMPORTANT: Tier 2
members leaving employment with an SBCERA participating
employer may or may not be able to establish reciprocity with the
systems listed above. Please check with the other public
retirement system regarding whether they will allow reciprocity
Retiring with Reciprocity
You must retire concurrently from both (or all) systems on the
same date. You should provide proper notification to both (or
all) agencies of your intended effective retirement date in order
to start the retirement process with all systems at the same