Benefit Payment Options

At the time you retire, you will make an irrevocable election of one of the following benefit payment options. The various options determine the amount of your benefit during your lifetime and whether any benefits will be payable to your beneficiary upon your death. You may not change your option choice after retirement, even if your life situation changes. These descriptions summarize the options established in the County Employees Law of 1937 (CERL). These options are reviewed in the Planning to Retire seminar.

Unmodified - Highest benefit available

Eligible BeneficiarySurvivor Benefit1Beneficiary Changes Allowed?
Eligible spouse or state registered domestic partner2 60% continuance of member’s benefit for life No

Minor child(ren)3

60% continuance of member’s benefit until child reaches majority

No

Any named beneficiary(ies) Lump-sum payout of remaining contributions and interest, if any contributions remain Yes

Option 1 – Reduced benefit

Eligible BeneficiarySurvivor Benefit1Beneficiary Changes Allowed?
Any named beneficiary(ies) Lump-sum payout of remaining contributions and interest, if any contributions remain Yes

Option 2 – Most reduced benefit

Eligible BeneficiarySurvivor Benefit1Beneficiary Changes Allowed?
Any named beneficiary4 100% continuance of the member’s reduced benefit for lifetime of beneficiary No

Option 3 – Reduced benefit

Eligible BeneficiarySurvivor Benefit1Beneficiary Changes Allowed?
Any named beneficiary 50% continuance of the member’s reduced benefit for lifetime of beneficiary No

Option 4 – Reduced benefit

Eligible BeneficiarySurvivor Benefit1Beneficiary Changes Allowed?
Any named beneficiary(ies) May designate a specific percentage of lifetime continuance to be paid to each of your beneficiary(ies).  Costs associated with calculating the benefit will be borne by the member. No

  1.   A continuance terminates upon the death of the eligible surviving spouse, state registered domestic partner, or named beneficiary. Surviving minor children are eligible for a continuance only when there is no surviving spouse or state registered domestic partner, and continue until the child is no longer eligible.  Lump sum payments are only in the amount of the member’s remaining contributions and interest at the time of the member’s death.
  2.  Married or state registered domestic partners for at least one year prior to your retirement date.
  3.  Under the age of 18, or under the age of 22 if unmarried and in school full time.
  4.  The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) limits the percent of continuance that can be paid to a non-spouse beneficiary under Option 2. The percent allowed depends on your age at retirement, and the adjusted age difference between you and your beneficiary. The difference between the IRC limit and 100% is converted to a present value lump sum at the time of your death and is paid in a lump sum to your sole beneficiary.

Benefit Payment Option Information

For a printable version of the Benefit Payment Options click here to download a copy.