Retirement Terminology 

A| B| C| D| E| F| G| H| I| J| K| L| M| N| O| P| Q| R| S| T| U| V| W| X| Y| Z

Accrued Interest

Interest accrued on member contributions. Interest is accrued on June 30 and December 31 on all member contributions that have been in the retirement fund for at least six months prior to the date of the credit.

Active Member 

A member of SCERA who is currently employed by a participating SCERA employer.

Age Factor         

A percent, based on the member’s Plan membership and age at retirement. This is one of the factors used to calculate a member’s retirement benefit.

Beneficiary        

Any person or legal entity entitled to receive a benefit or lump sum payment provided by the Plan.

Benefit

Monies provided monthly to a retired member or beneficiary pursuant to Plan provisions.

CERL     

Abbreviation for the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937, the law governing SCERA and 19 other county retirement systems in California.

Continuance     

A monthly benefit paid to an eligible beneficiary after the member’s death. 

Deferred Non-Vested Member

A member with fewer than five years of service who is no longer employed in a SCERA-eligible position and has left contributions on deposit in the fund.

Deferred Vested Member          

A member with five or more years of service who is no longer employed in a SCERA-eligible position and has left contributions on deposit in the fund.

Disability Retirement     

Retirement granted when the Board of Retirement determines a member is permanently incapacitated due to a physical and/or mental condition that prevents the member from performing his or her regular job duties. 

Disability Retirement: Non-Service Connected  

When the disability is not related to the member’s employment. Only vested members are eligible for a Non-Service Connected disability.

Disability Retirement: Service Connected

When the disability is related to the member’s employment.

Domestic Partnership   

A domestic partnership registered with the State of California

Domestic Relations Order (DRO)              

A court order that assigns the right to receive all or a portion of the benefits payable to a participant under a retirement plan to an alternate payee.

Back to top

Entry Age          

A member’s age, rounded to the nearest full year, at the time of membership (the first day of service in an eligible positonposition) in SCERA or a reciprocal system. This age is used to determine the contribution rate for Plan A members.

General Member            

A permanent employee for a SCERA employer, who is not a public safety employee, working at least half time in an eligible position.

Highest Average Salary                

For Plan A members, the monthly average of the member’s highest one-year pensionable compensation. For Plan B members, the monthly average of the member’s highest three-year pensionable compensation. This is one of the factors used to determine the member’s monthly retirement benefit.

Provisional position       

An employee may be appointed with a provisional appointment to fill a vacant position, pending the normal recruitment and hiring of a permanent employee. An employee in a provisional position is not eligible for SCERA membership.

Reciprocity         

A relationship between SCERA and certain other California public retirement systems that protects retirement benefits earned under more than one retirement system.

Retirement Compensation       

The income used as a basis for calculating a member’s contributions and Highest Average Compensation. For Plan A members, pensionable compensation is limited by Internal Revenue Code Sections 401(a)(17) and 415(b).

Retirement Options       

Various payment options offered at retirement that determine how retirement and survivor benefits are paid.

Safety Member               

A permanent employee for a SCERA employer working at least half time in an eligible position who is a public safety employee.

SCERA  

Sonoma County Employees’ Retirement Association

Service Credit   

One of the components used to calculate a member’s retirement allowance. Members earn service credit for time in paid status for which contributions are taken. Eligible service credit may also be purchased.

Service Retirement        

Non-disability retirement granted by the Retirement Board to a member who has met the minimum age and service qualifications.

Vested

Completion of five or more years of service for a SCERA employer, or the combination of at least five years of service for a SCERA employer and a reciprocal system.  

Back to top