Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

Active Employees

The Layoff Process and Retirement Benefits

Concerned about potentially being laid-off? Depending on your years of City Service and Tier Membership, there are different options available regarding your retirement benefits.

Note: Please contact LACERS immediately if you receive a layoff notice to review your options.

1. What happens to my retirement contributions when I am no longer employed by the City?

 LESS THAN FIVE YEARS OF CONTINUOUS CITY SERVICE

If you are full-time and have less than five years of Continuous City Service, you may:

  • Leave your contributions on deposit with LACERS;
  • Take a refund of your contributions plus accrued interest; or
  • If you take a refund of your contributions, LACERS is required to withhold taxes and you may also be subject to additional tax penalties.
  • Roll your funds over to another qualified retirement plan.

If you withdraw or roll over your contributions, and also participate in the LACERS Larger Annuity Program, you will also be required to withdraw or roll over those funds.

MORE THAN FIVE YEARS OF CONTINUOUS CITY SERVICE, PART TIME AND RECIPROCAL MEMBERS

If you are full-time and have more than five years of Continuous City Service, were a part-time contributing member of LACERS, or have vested status through Reciprocity, you may:

  • Apply for retirement, if you are eligible (See Eligibility under Understanding Your Retirement at LACERS.org) ;
  • Leave your contributions on deposit with LACERS until you are eligible for a Deferred- Service Retirement;
  • Take a refund of your contributions plus accrued interest; or
  • Roll your funds over to another qualified retirement plan.

If you withdraw your contributions and also participate in the LACERS Larger Annuity Program, you will also be required to withdraw or roll over those funds.

2. How long may I leave my funds on deposit with LACERS?

Your funds can remain on deposit with LACERS until you reach age 72, at which time the Internal Revenue Code requires you begin withdrawing funds from your account (required minimum distribution) or incur tax penalties.

3. If I am a full-time employee, and have less than five years of Continuous City Service, is there anything I can do to meet the five-year Continuous City Service requirement to qualify for a retirement benefit?

If you worked for another California governmental agency, you may qualify for reciprocity which may allow you to use your combined years of service from both agencies toward vesting and/or becoming eligible for a retirement allowance. If you have received a layoff notice, but your actual termination date has not passed, you may be able to purchase City Service to help you reach the five years of Continuous Service requirement. (See LACERS.org for information on Reciprocity rules and Service Buybacks)

4. Can I continue to pay my Family Death Benefit Plan (FDBP) premiums after I separate from City service?

No, you must be an active City employee to participate in the FDBP program. However, should you return to City service in the future, you may resume your participation in the FDBP program.

5. If I’m officially notified that I will be laid-off, but not yet terminated, can I still retire?

If you are eligible for a service retirement, you may be able to apply after you receive your layoff notice, but before the actual termination date.

Please refer to eligibility requirements based upon your Tier Membership located here.  

6. When I’m officially terminated, can I still retire?

If you are off the active payroll and you are eligible to retire, you may immediately apply for a Deferred-Service Retirement.

Please refer to eligibility requirements based upon your Tier Membership located here.  

7. I think I may qualify for a disability retirement benefit, what are the eligibility requirements?

If you became physically or mentally disabled while an active LACERS member and believe you may qualify for a disability retirement, please contact us so we can review your options.

8. Will purchasing service credit change my layoff status?

No. Purchasing service credit will only enhance your retirement benefits or help you to meet eligibility requirements for a retirement.  

9. If I withdraw my retirement contributions, plus interest, will I be eligible for any type of retirement benefit from LACERS?

No. Once you withdraw your retirement contributions, you forfeit your rights to any previously earned or potential future retirement benefits. However, if you later return to City service, you may be allowed to redeposit your contributions, plus interest, and may be able to qualify for a benefit later.

10. What other resources are available to me during this time?

Please visit the City of Los Angeles’ Personnel website at https://per.lacity.org/LayoffProcess.htm to access a variety of resources and more information about the layoff process.

City Separation Incentive Program (CSIP)

Who do I contact if I have questions about my CSIP retirement application?

Please email LACERS.CSIP@LACERS.ORG. 

What is the email address that will be sending our electronic notifications?

Emails during this CSIP process will be sent to you via LACERS.CSIP@LACERS and Hightail.com.

I used my work email address on my application. Do I need to change it to my personal email?

Yes. Please send an email to LACERS.csip@LACERS.org and provide your personal email address. You will also need to fill out a Change of Email Address Form.

Will information be sent to both my City email and personal email?

Information regarding CSIP will be sent to the email you have provided. If you need to change your email address or want to verify that we have the correct email address, please email LACERS.CSIP@LACERS.org.

Can I change my MyLACERS account to my personal email address on my own?

Yes. The option to change your email address in your MyLACERS account is in the profile section. LACERS recommends you have a personal email address on file so that you can access MyLACERS once you retire.

How long will it take to hear from LACERS regarding a retirement effective date? How will the retirement dates be chosen?

Approved CSIP participants will be scheduled for retirement based on the number of applications LACERS is required to process and when the participant meets the criteria for normal retirement eligibility. All applicants received notification of their retirement effective date on October 31. 

Will I be able to complete this process on an iPad or iPhone as I do not have a computer?

Yes. You may also want to ask your Department for any assistance they may provide.

How soon can I expect communication from LACERS regarding the CSIP retirement process?

You will receive two communications by the end of October 2020, confirming your CSIP application and your retirement effective date.  You will then receive your retirement packet electronically via the email you provided four (4) to six (6) weeks before your retirement date unless you specifically requested that LACERS mail it to you.

Will all 1,300 CSIP participants be notified on 10/31/2020 of their retirement effective date or just those who are retiring in November and December?

Yes. All members will be notified by 10/31/2020 via email (if we have your email on file) and by USPS mail.

When will the last batch for CSIP members retire? 

Retirements are expected to go until approximately May 2021.

How is the $80,000 going to be distributed?

LACERS is not involved in the CSIP compensation process.  Please contact the CAO for assistance.

If I use sick time at 75%, does that affect my retirement compensation rate?

No, it does not have an effect on your compensation rate.

I am at home and am almost out of sick and vacation time.  Can I get an earlier retirement date for medical reasons?

Please contact the City Administrative Office as they determine the priority in which employees retire under the CSIP.

If they are going to retire us in May 2021, will we get 96 hours sick leave at the beginning of 2021?

Sick time is paid by the Controller’s office please contact them.

If my retirement date is scheduled for next year, will pay raises be considered for my payout and retirement allowance?

Yes. Your highest consecutive 12 months of salary will determine your retirement allowance. Please check with your Department regarding any payouts for which you may be eligible.

How is my retirement allowance taxed?

Your retirement allowance is subject to both Federal and State taxes. Please consult a tax professional for additional information.

When will I receive my first retirement check?

You should receive your first retirement check at the end of the month following the month of your retirement provided you returned your complete retirement packet on time. You can check the payment schedule here

Is my LACERS monthly retirement allowance deposited into the same account that I have now?

Your active employee direct deposit authorization does not carry over to LACERS. You will need to complete a new Direct Deposit Authorization form when you retire.

When do I get my first LACERS’ COLA?

COLA adjustments are applied in July of each year and are reflected on the benefit payment for that month. COLAs will be pro-rated for anyone who was not retired for the entire year prior to the COLA being applied. For more information on the COLA, click here

Will my new sick time accrual, vacation and/or overtime be paid upon retirement or later?

Any sick, vacation or overtime accrual is paid by your employing department. Please contact your employing department for information on these payouts.

I recently withdrew my application in order to apply for CSIP. Can I still use my previously submitted paperwork?

No, you will need to submit a CSIP retirement package.

Can I change my mind about participating in the CSIP after I am approved for the program?

LACERS will receive the roster of approved CSIP participants after the close of the rescission period. Everyone on the approved roster will be locked in and required to retire on the date determined by LACERS.

Will I receive my retirement package in US Postal Mail?

You will receive your packet electronically unless you arrange for a packet to be mailed to you approximately four (4) to six (6) weeks before your assigned retirement effective date.

Who can I contact if I have general retirement questions?

You can contact LACERS Member Service Center at (800) 779-8328 or send your question via email to Lacers.Services@Lacers.org.

How will my retirement application be processed? Will I receive individual counseling?

Due to the expected large volume of applications, individual counseling will not be possible. A Retirement Package, including the CSIP retirement application, an estimate letter with monthly retirement allowance options, the list of required documents, and all ancillary retirement paperwork will be sent via email or US mail to the CSIP participant. The retirement package will also include a link to a video on how to complete the retirement documents and an invitation to an optional question and answer webinar. 

Will there be a one-on-one session with LACERS’ staff to answer questions?

There will be a group Zoom Q and A Session made available to you where you can ask questions related to your retirement packet. You must first view the YouTube video on completing your retirement forms, then register for the Zoom Q & A session where you will receive the access link.

Do I have an assigned Counselor to follow up with once I submit my retirement application packet to LACERS?

Yes. Once your retirement application packet is received a counselor will be assigned to your case.

I already received my CSIP packet and I have questions about completing it. Where can I find more information?

Please visit our YouTube channel and watch the video listed in your retirement packet.  Additionally, a Zoom Counseling Q and A session will also be scheduled where you can ask additional questions approximately in (X) weeks after you have received your packet.

Will my retirement counselor inform me of any missing documents?

Yes. If there is anything missing or incomplete, your counselor will contact you.

How long will I be given to complete the retirement application packet?

You will have two (2) to three (3) weeks to complete your retirement application packet.

If I turn in my packet late and my payroll set-up is delayed, will I receive compensation from my retirement effective date?

Yes. Failing to return your packet in the time prescribed only delays when you will receive your first retirement check. You will still be retired on the date you were assigned. Your first check will be inclusive of any allowance due to you based on your retirement effective date.

I submitted documents to LACERS before and LACERS acknowledged receipts of those documents. Do I need to resubmit?

Yes. Please resubmit all required documents with your retirement packet.

Where do you get the LACERS Special Durable Power of Attorney form?

Please access the LACERS Special Durable Power of Attorney form.

Am I responsible for informing my Department that my CSIP application was approved?

The CAO informed all department of approved CSIP participants. LACERS will inform your employing Department of your assigned retirement effective date.. You do not need to notify them yourself. All Departments will be notified by October 31, 2020.

Can I still purchase Service Credit to increase my retirement allowance?

All CSIP applicants with identified service credit to purchase should submit a buyback application as soon as possible after receiving notification they have service time eligible for purchase. However, be advised, there is no guarantee the service credit purchase request will be processed prior to your CSIP retirement date. Only service credit purchases for City time will be considered for processing due to non-City service credit purchases requiring 8-10 months to complete.

When do I have to pay off my service credit purchase to have it count toward my retirement allowance?

The purchase must be made prior to your CSIP retirement date and must be paid via lump sum payment or a rollover from an eligible retirement plan.

If you choose to do a rollover, you are responsible for ensuring the timely transfer of funds to LACERS prior to your CSIP retirement date.

I have reciprocity with another governmental agency.  Will that reciprocal time be used for CSIP eligibility?

Reciprocal time will be used to meet CSIP eligibility requirements, however, only City Service will used in the calculation of the CSIP payment.

I have questions about my Buyback, who do I contact?

Please call LACERS at (800) 779-8328 and ask to speak to a Buyback Counselor.

Can I expedite my service purchase buyback?

You can expedite your service buyback by thoroughly reading the information sheets, providing complete and thorough answers on the forms, responding immediately to questions, and consolidating your questions (preferably by email) to minimize the number of communications back and forth to your buyback counselors. We will have a record number of service purchase applications due to CSIP and we will do our best to complete the service purchases, but we cannot guarantee that the service purchase request will be processed prior to your CSIP retirement date.

I have questions about my Health Plan in Retirement, where can I find out more information?

Please visit our YouTube channel and view the Health Videos.   If you have additional questions they will be answered in the Health Zoom Meeting you will have approximately one month before your retirement date.  After your retirement application has been processed, a health benefits counselor will contact you and assist you with your questions.

When will I need to enroll in Health Benefits for retirement?

You will enroll in Health Coverage during the CSIP Retirement Process. Your retiree health coverage becomes effective the first day of the month following your retirement effective date.  If you are on the list to retire in 2021 then you will want to select your LA Well benefits so that you are covered until then.

When and how do I enroll in the retiree medical and/or dental (health) plans?

Your LACERS health plan coverage is separate from your Active Employee benefits coverage and you will need to transition to LACERS’ medical and/or dental coverage during the retirement process. Once your retirement paperwork has been approved, LACERS will send you health-specific enrollment material via email or US mail, a link to a video on how to complete your health enrollment documents, and an invitation to an optional health-enrollment question and answer webinar. In the meantime, information regarding retiree health benefits, subsidies, and premiums are found in our 2020 Health Benefits Guide found online at lacers.org, under Retirees/Health Benefits. Note that LACERS’ health plan premiums, plan design, and subsidies are subject to change each year, and the updated Health Benefits Guide is usually available on our website in early October. Retirees must enroll in LACERS’ plans within 60 days of their retirement date. Other health questions may be referred to lacers.health@lacers.org

Will CSIP affect my medical or dental benefits in any way?

CSIP does not impact retiree medical or dental benefits in any way.  Enrollment, eligibility, subsidies, and plan options remain the same.

How much will the retiree medical and dental plans cost, who can enroll, and what are my subsidies?

Medical and dental plan premiums (costs) are based on the plan(s) you choose and the number of people you enroll. Eligible dependents (spouse/domestic partner, children under 26, etc.) may be enrolled in retiree plans.  In order to receive a subsidy, you must be age 55 with 10 years of Service. The subsidies you receive are based on Medicare status and years of City Service/Service Credit.  Retirees with 25 or more years of Service Credit are eligible for the maximum subsidies, but depending on your plan choices and who you enroll, the subsidies may not cover the costs and the difference will be deducted from your retirement allowance. Details regarding plan costs, subsidies, benefits, dependents, and charges for medical/dental coverage are available in the 2020 Health Benefits Guide and at lacers.org under Forms and Information Sheets, under Information Sheets, Your LACERS Health Plan Subsidy.

I have questions about Medicare where can I find out more information?

Please visit our YouTube channel and view the Medicare Videos.  If you have additional questions they will be answered in the Health Zoom Meeting you will have approximately one month before your retirement date.  After your retirement application has been processed, a health benefits counselor will contact you and assist you with your questions.

I’m 65 years old, do I need to enroll in Medicare in order to be eligible for a LACERS medical plan?

CSIP participants and/or their dependents enrolling in a medical plan who are 65 and over, or will be turning 65 during the retirement process, should enroll in Medicare three months before their retirement date once identified, or as soon as possible if their retirement date is already within three months. Enrollment in Medicare Part B (doctor visits) is required. Enrollment in Medicare Part A (hospitalization) is required only if it is at no cost to the Member/dependent (based on number of quarters that FICA taxes have been paid). Medicare Part D (prescriptions) is already incorporated into LACERS’ Medicare plans, so do not enroll in it separately. Medicare enrollment/maintenance is required in order to receive a medical subsidy. Enrolled Members/dependents who do not have their Medicare in place at the time of retirement may be temporarily carried on LACERS non-Medicare plans, but the Member will be charged for any premiums paid by LACERS for untimely and/or inadequate compliance with Medicare enrollment requirements.

How much of a difference is there in my retirement benefit between Cash Refund and Life Annuity allowance options?

This information will be reflected in the estimate that you will receive in your retirement packet. You can also create your own retirement estimates by accessing your MyLACERS account.

Can I transfer my sick and vacation time payouts in Deferred Compensation?

Please contact Deferred Comp at www.la457.com regarding your rollover options.

What is the maximum number of sick hours that is paid out when retiring?

Sick and vacation payouts are handled by your employing department.  Please contact your employing department and your MOU.

Can I make contributions to the Deferred Compensation Plan out of my separation incentive payment?

No. Retiring employees may not make deferrals out of their separation incentive payments because those payments are not eligible for post-severance contributions under Internal Revenue Code rules. However, contributions can be made our of normal wages and payouts of accrued vacation, sick, and overtime.

When will I receive my CSIP payment and my sick and vacation payouts? Will LACERS include information on my CSIP payment and sick and vacation payouts in my retirement application package?

LACERS is not responsible for CSIP payments nor sick and vacation payouts. Questions regarding CSIP payments should be directed to the Office of the CAO and sick and vacation inquiries to your employing department.

Can I have priority retirement?

No CSIP participant will have priority over another. Retirement effective dates will be determined by LACERS based on the participants first date of retirement eligibility and CAO priority guidelines.

According to my union, I can delay my retirement until January 2021 to take advantage of a COLA increase. Is this delay possible?

No, retirement effective dates shall be determined by LACERS and will be processed as expeditiously as possible without regard to a possible COLA increase.

EAA recently sent an email stating the following: “We have over 600 employees whose separation date of 1/19/2021 to increase your LACERS formula.”  If true, how is this request made?

This statement is incorrect. You cannot make requests to select or change your assigned retirement date for CSIP.

My Domestic Partnership is on file with Employee Benefits. Do I need to have one on file with LACERS?

Yes, your filing with Employee Benefits cover your active employee City benefits.. You need to register your Domestic Partnership with LACERS for your retirement related benefits.

Are copies of the original divorce or birth certificates accepted?

Yes. Please submit copies of the original documents and not originals as they will not be returned to you.

Do any of my documents need to be notarized?

No. Due to COVID-19 the notary requirements are temporarily suspended.

Will I need to attend any in-person meetings at the LACERS’ office?

No. Due to COVID-19 all in-person sessions have been suspended.

Who should I contact to discuss payroll deductions that I want to continue into retirement?

If you have any deductions that you want to continue in retirement, you will want to reach out to the individual agency, i.e. LAFCU, ACEBSA, City Employees Club, etc. 

How do I apply for life insurance for retirement?

LACERS does not offer life insurance. You should check with Employee Benefits, through the Personnel Department to see if your active life insurance policy is portable.

What happens with the Union’s insurance when I retire?

Please contact your Union for further information.

2020 Stock Market Volatility

How does the condition of the stock market affect my retirement benefit?

Although the benefits are paid based on Member contributions, the City contributions, and LACERS’ investments returns, your retirement benefit is calculated based on a set formula: Retirement Factor X Service Credit X Final Average Compensation.  Fluctuations in the stock market do not impact the amount of monthly benefits you receive.

Should I wait to retire?

The decision to retire depends on each Member’s situation and readiness.  Please contact us on our main line at (800) 779-8328 to inquire about retirement eligibility or assistance running a retirement estimate.

How does the condition of the stock market affect my Larger Annuity account?

If you elected the five-year Treasury Note option, your return is based on the performance of the five-year Treasury Note.  If you elected LACERS publicly-traded asset option, your return is based on LACERS publicly traded asset performance, which may be impacted by the market fluctuations.

What happens if LACERS runs out of money?

It would be nearly impossible for LACERS to run out of money since funding of the plan comes from 3 sources: required annual contributions from the City, required bi-weekly contributions from employees, and investment returns.  Funding levels of the plan on routinely monitored to ensure LACERS ability to provide retirement benefits over the long term.

Historically, what happened with LACERS investments when the stock market “crashed”?

The value of LACERS portfolio also declined, but less so than the stock market.  This is due to the portfolio diversification across different types of investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.  In other words, LACERS does not put all of its eggs in one basket.  Diversification helps ensure that sufficient assets are available to provide retirement benefits over the long term.

Address Changes

How do I update my mailing address with LACERS?

LACERS receives your mailing address through the City’s payroll system. If you’ve updated your address through your department’s Personnel Section, it will automatically be updated in LACERS’ system.

If you are no longer employed by the City of Los Angeles, but still have funds in your LACERS account, submit LACERS’ Change of Address request, available here.

Beneficiaries

How do I designate my Beneficiary?

Beneficiary information on file with Employee Benefits is not automatically shared with LACERS. To update your beneficiary, submit a designation of beneficiary form. Download the form and read additional important information about designating beneficiaries on the Designating Beneficiaries page.

How can I view my Beneficiaries on file?

Click here to log into your MyLACERS account to view your beneficiaries on file.

Buybacks/Service Credit Purchases

How can I purchase time to increase my retirement benefit?

If you are interesting in purchasing time with LACERS, your process will vary depending on the type of time you have available to purchase. 

Visit Supplementing Your Retirement for more information.

Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage

Do I need to submit my divorce decree to LACERS?

LACERS will require a copy of your final judgement. Please visit the page on divorce for more information.

Domestic Partnership

Employee Benefits has my Domestic Partnership information. Do I need to submit information to LACERS also?

Filing a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with Personnel Department, Employee Benefits section is not sufficient to cover the administration of benefits with LACERS. Please visit the Domestic Partnership page for more details.

Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP)

What is the total number of ERIP participants?

There are 2,400 ERIP participants.

What is the ERIP Cost Obligation?

The ERIP Cost Obligation is the full cost of ERIP as defined in the Los Angeles Administrative Code section 4.1033 (“ERIP Ordinance”).  The ERIP Ordinance states that the ERIP Cost Obligation is the obligation of LACERS Members, and that the City and Unions envisioned ERIP to be cost-neutral to the City.

How was the ERIP Cost Obligation determined?

The preliminary ERIP Cost Obligation was determined by an enrollment actuary engaged by the City, pursuant to requirements of the Los Angeles City Charter section 1168 (b), which specifies that the City Council must be advised in writing of the cost of benefit increases prior to adoption of an ordinance to change the LACERS benefit(s).

The City’s Consulting Actuary provided cost estimates of ERIP based on various scenarios projecting “take” rates of eligible employees.  Preliminary projected costs ranged from $250 million to retire 2,229 employees, up to $354 million to retire 2,763.  The ERIP Ordinance adopted a preliminary cost of $271M to retire 2,400 employees.

However, based on the LACERS actuarial valuation report of June 30, 2009 (revised April 22, 2010), the unfunded actuarial accrued liability increased by $355 million when factoring in nearly all ERIP retirees (2,393 of the 2,400 ERIP retirees were finalized at the time of the report).

What is the time period by which the ERIP Cost Obligation should be paid?

According to the ERIP Ordinance, the employee contributions toward the ERIP Cost Obligation begin on July 1, 2011 and end on June 30, 2026 (a 15-year period), or until the ERIP Cost Obligation is fully paid, whichever comes first.

How much money to date, has been paid by LACERS’ Active and Retired Members toward paying off the ERIP Cost Obligation?

As of March 31, 2020, over $202.6 million has been paid toward the $355 million ERIP Cost Obligation.  The pace of contributions toward ERIP are expected to decline slightly as the number of active Tier 1 Members retire.  New LACERS Members joining the City, currently enter under Tier 3 Membership and do not contribute to ERIP.

Furlough Information: Full-Time (72+ hour) Employees

Will mandatory furloughs affect my retirement benefits?
No. Taking furlough days will not impact your retirement benefits because your benefit is determined by your Compensation Earnable, which is the amount your classification earns for 80 hours in a pay period.

If I am earning less money because of the furlough days, why won’t my retirement benefits be impacted?
Your retirement allowance is based on the following formula: Service Credit x Final Compensation x 0.0216.

Service Credit – This is determined by the amount of time you have worked as a member of LACERS and made contributions to your retirement account per Los Angeles Administrative Code (LAAC) 4.1001. As long as you work enough hours to cover the costs of your full retirement contribution and any other payroll deductions (this very likely will not be an issue with two furlough days per month), you will continue to earn the same amount of Service Credit with or without furlough days.

Final Compensation – This is the average of the last 12 months (or any other 12 consecutive month period you designate) of Compensation Earnable in your classification and will not be affected by furlough days. “Compensation Earnable” is the amount your classification earns for full-time service (LAAC 4.1001). Taking furlough days will reduce the amount of money you earn, but it will not reduce your Compensation Earnable. Because furlough days will not impact your Service Credit or your Final Compensation, they will have no impact on your retirement allowance.

Do I still have to make my full retirement contribution if I am taking mandatory furlough days? 
Yes. Your retirement contribution is calculated based on your  compensation earnable for your specific classification (LAAC 4.1003).  Your compensation earnable is the full salary, wage or compensation established for any position or office in the City service (LAAC 4.1001).  Your retirement contribution and service credit will remain the same whether your work 72 hours or 80 hours in a pay period

While I understand mandatory furlough days will not affect my retirement benefits, it will reduce my salary. Can I borrow from my retirement account?
No. The Los Angeles Administrative Code does not provide LACERS the authority to allow members to borrow from their LACERS accounts.

Do I have to take furlough days?
Please check with your Department Personnel Director to determine if you are required to take any furlough days.

Does LACERS have any services that will help me cope with the salary reduction of mandatory furlough days?
If you are facing other specific problems and feel you need assistance, the City’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides help and counseling for a variety of issues. The EAP can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by their toll-free line at (800) 213-5813. Their website is also available for information at: www.liveandworkwell.com, company code: CityofLA

Medicare

I am already over age 65 but I am still working for the City. Do I need to apply for Medicare? 

If you are still working at age 65 and are covered by the City’s (“Active”) medical plan, you can defer enrollment in Medicare until you retire. During your retirement process, LACERS Staff will provide you with additional documentation to take to Social Security to waive any late enrollment penalties.

For additional information on Medicare after retirement, please visit the Retirees Medicare Information page.

Retirement – Managed Retirement Application (MRA) Process 

When does the Managed Retirement Application (MRA) go into effect?

The Managed Retirement Application is now in effect and applies to any retirement application received on or after May 1, 2020.

Managed Service Retirement Application

How does the MRA differ from the regular retirement application?

The MRA differs in that it has two advisory notifications. The first explains that your requested retirement effective date is not guaranteed.  While every effort will be made to honor your requested date, the changing nature of the ongoing public health emergency impacts LACERS’ operational/processing capacity.

The secondary advisory relates to the use of an estimated retirement allowance. LACERS, wherever possible, is implementing measures to aid in expediting the retirement process. The use of estimated retirement allowances will enable staff to set up members for retirement but will require an audit review later, which may result in a future adjustment to your retirement allowance.

How do I file the Managed Retirement Application?

You may submit your MRA by email to lacers.services@lacers.org, or fax your application to (213) 473-7218.

What documentation should I provide along with my MRA?

The required documents list can be found on here.

Does the normal 30 to 60 days filing period still apply?

Yes, however, your LACERS’ counselor will notify you as to your official retirement effective date; which may or may not be the date you requested. LACERS will notify you of your official date.

What will be my employment status after my requested retirement effective date passes?

If you are notified by LACERS that your requested retirement effective date has been confirmed, then your status will be retired. However, if LACERS has not confirmed your requested retirement date or provided you with an official alternative date, your employment status remains unchanged if you are an active employee.You should continue to follow your department’s reporting requirements and guidelines until you and your department are notified of your official retirement date.

What if I want to amend or withdraw my managed retirement application? Do the normal rules apply?

You will be able to request a new date by withdrawing your application and reapplying with a new application and new requested date.

What if I have questions about applying for retirement or the retirement application?

You can direct your questions to lacers.services@lacers.org. A counselor will respond via email or by phone. Please allow for a minimum of three days for a response.

Can I still request an estimate for my retirement benefit?

Yes, you have two options:

Log into your MyLACERS account and run an estimate from there. If you do not have a MyLACERS account you can contact lacers.services@lacers.org to request a PIN number. 

You can also request an estimate through lacers.services@lacers.org

Will I be assigned a counselor to assist me with the retirement process?

Yes, once your retirement effective date has been determined, your retirement counselor will contact you by email and/or phone.

Additional counseling aides will also be available on the LACERS website, LACERS.org.

What if I already have plans that I cannot change, or have extenuating circumstances and need to retire on my requested date?

LACERS must apply the Managed Retirement Policy to everyone. However, you may attach a brief statement explaining your situation. LACERS will review your circumstance but cannot guarantee accommodating your request.

When I retire, am I automatically enrolled into a retiree health plan?

Retiree health plans are separate from the City employee health plans and enrollment is administered exclusively by LACERS.  If you wish to receive health coverage through LACERS as a retiree, you will need to enroll in a LACERS medical and/or dental plan when you retire. A LACERS Health Advocate will contact you by phone or via email once your retirement effective date has been scheduled.

During the retirement process, when do I need to submit my LACERS health plan enrollment forms?

Enrollment in the retiree medical and dental plans is separate from the service retirement process and can be started only after your retirement documentation has been submitted.  Separate medical/dental enrollment forms and supporting documentation are required. 

NOTE:  Failure to provide LACERS with completed health enrollment forms or required supporting documentation can result in delays in the commencement of retiree medical/dental plans and in the retiree being charged for premiums LACERS pays on their behalf for requested coverage.

When does my retiree medical/dental plan go into effect?

Retiree medical and dental coverage goes into effect the first of the month following your retirement effective date.  Your active City employee medical/dental coverage extends to the end of the month of your retirement.

What happens to my medical/dental benefits if LACERS pushes back my proposed retirement date?

City employees whose requested retirement date is pushed back by LACERS due to workload limitations will remain on their active City employee medical/dental plans until the end of the month of their actual retirement effective date. 

NOTE:  Medical/dental enrollment forms are valid for a maximum of 60 days; extensions beyond 60 days of the signature date on the form will result in the need for the retiree to submit new enrollment forms.

If I do not enroll in a LACERS health plan at the time of retirement, will I be able to enroll later?

LACERS retirees have the opportunity to enroll in a LACERS medical and/or dental plan every year during Open Enrollment, which usually runs October 15 – November 15, with coverage taking effect January 1 of the following year. 

Also, if you experience a qualifying event outside of Open Enrollment, you will be able to enroll in a LACERS health plan.  See the LACERS Health Benefits Guide for more information.

Do I need to enroll in Medicare in order to participate in a LACERS medical plan?

Retirees and/or their dependents who are eligible for Medicare (soon-to-be turning 65, or 65 and over) are required to enroll in and maintain Medicare in order to participate in a retiree medical plan.  Medicare Part B (e.g., doctor visits) is required for all; Medicare Part A (hospitalization) is required only if it is free to the retiree.  LACERS requires proof of Medicare enrollment (copy of Medicare card). 

Failure to enroll in/maintain Medicare coverage may result in the termination of the medical plan and the medical subsidy and the retiree being held responsible for medical premiums LACERS has paid on their/their dependent’s behalf.

Seminars

How do I register for a Seminar?

Visit YouTube to watch our Tier 1 Retirement Seminars.

Time (Sick, Vacation, etc.)

What happens to my SK/VC when I retire? Does LACERS pay me out?

LACERS is not involved with the disbursement of these benefits.

Sick, Vacation, or Holiday time payouts after retirement are paid from the Controller’s Office. Questions regarding these benefits should be directed to your department personnel.

Retirees

2020 Stock Market Volatility

How does the condition of the stock market affect my retirement benefit?

Although the benefits are paid based on Member contributions, the City contributions, and LACERS’ investments returns, your retirement benefit is calculated based on a set formula: Retirement Factor X Service Credit X Final Average Compensation.  Fluctuations in the stock market do not impact the amount of monthly benefits you receive.

How does the condition of the stock market affect my Larger Annuity account?

Fluctuations in the public investment markets do not impact the payout amount of Larger Annuity monthly benefits you receive.

What happens if LACERS runs out of money?

It would be nearly impossible for LACERS to run out of money since funding of the plan comes from 3 sources: required annual contributions from the City, required bi-weekly contributions from employees, and investment returns.  Funding levels of the plan on routinely monitored to ensure LACERS ability to provide retirement benefits over the long term.

Historically, what happened with LACERS investments when the stock market “crashed”?

The value of LACERS portfolio also declined, but less so than the stock market.  This is due to the portfolio diversification across different types of investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.  In other words, LACERS does not put all of its eggs in one basket.  Diversification helps ensure that sufficient assets are available to provide retirement benefits over the long term.

Address Change

How do I change my address with LACERS? 
Visit Change of Residence for more information.

Award Letter/Pension Verification

I am applying for a loan/housing and the company is requesting verification of my pension or retirement account. What should I do?

Please visit the Benefit Verification Request page for more information about requesting an Award Letter of your benefit.

Direct Deposit

How do I update my Direct Deposit account information?

Please visit Your Benefit Payment page for the Direct Deposit Authorization form, and for more information.

Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP)

What is the total number of ERIP participants?

There are 2,400 ERIP participants.

What is the ERIP Cost Obligation?

The ERIP Cost Obligation is the full cost of ERIP as defined in the Los Angeles Administrative Code section 4.1033 (“ERIP Ordinance”).  The ERIP Ordinance states that the ERIP Cost Obligation is the obligation of LACERS Members, and that the City and Unions envisioned ERIP to be cost-neutral to the City.

How was the ERIP Cost Obligation determined?

The preliminary ERIP Cost Obligation was determined by an enrollment actuary engaged by the City, pursuant to requirements of the Los Angeles City Charter section 1168 (b), which specifies that the City Council must be advised in writing of the cost of benefit increases prior to adoption of an ordinance to change the LACERS benefit(s).

The City’s Consulting Actuary provided cost estimates of ERIP based on various scenarios projecting “take” rates of eligible employees.  Preliminary projected costs ranged from $250 million to retire 2,229 employees, up to $354 million to retire 2,763.  The ERIP Ordinance adopted a preliminary cost of $271M to retire 2,400 employees.

However, based on the LACERS actuarial valuation report of June 30, 2009 (revised April 22, 2010), the unfunded actuarial accrued liability increased by $355 million when factoring in nearly all ERIP retirees (2,393 of the 2,400 ERIP retirees were finalized at the time of the report).

What is the time period by which the ERIP Cost Obligation should be paid?

According to the ERIP Ordinance, the employee contributions toward the ERIP Cost Obligation begin on July 1, 2011 and end on June 30, 2026 (a 15-year period), or until the ERIP Cost Obligation is fully paid, whichever comes first.

How much money to date, has been paid by LACERS’ Active and Retired Members toward paying off the ERIP Cost Obligation?

As of March 31, 2020, over $202.6 million has been paid toward the $355 million ERIP Cost Obligation.  The pace of contributions toward ERIP are expected to decline slightly as the number of active Tier 1 Members retire.  New LACERS Members joining the City, currently enter under Tier 3 Membership and do not contribute to ERIP.

Health Plan Changes (Medical and Dental)

When can I make changes to my Medical or Dental plan?

Please visit Health Enrollment page for information about Open Enrollment, and other qualifying events where you may 

ID Cards (Medical and Dental)

I haven’t received my new Medical/Dental ID card. Who do I contact?

ID Cards are issued by the insurance carrier. Please refer to the last page/back cover of the Health Benefits Guide for each carrier’s contact phone number.

The Health Benefits Guide is located on this page.

Medicare

I will be turning 65. What do I need to do?

Members and dependents who turn 65 will need to contact the Social Security Administration to enroll in Medicare, then fill out and submit the appropriate Senior Plan Enrollment form and a copy of the Medicare card. Please visit the Retirees Medicare Information page for additional details.

Open Enrollment

Due to unusual circumstances, LACERS will have an extended Open Enrollment period. LACERS will accept applications for health plan changes, to add eligible dependents, and for new enrollments without a recognized Qualifying Event from October 15, 2020 to March 31, 2021.  If, during this period, Members apply to make changes to existing plans, add dependents, or enroll anew (for already-retired Members not previously enrolled), they need to be aware that:

  • LACERS will have up to three months to process new enrollments or changes.
  • The effective date of medical and/or dental coverage will be within 93 days (three full months) after the completed OE forms are received by LACERS.
  • The effective date for any Open Enrollment addition/change will range from January 1, 2021 to July 1, 2021.
  • The effective date will be dependent on when LACERS is able to process the enrollment in light of the heavy workload associated with SIP retirements.  LACERS staff should not guarantee when an addition/change will go into effect, only that there may be as much as a three month delay.
  • Members will not be able to make another health plan change for at least one year from when their new plan goes into effect, unless they experience a recognized qualifying event.
  • Members who start their retirement during the Open Enrollment period (10/15/20 through 3/31/21) may not make subsequent health plan changes during the extended Open Enrollment period unless they experience a qualifying event.

Why is LACERS extending the Open Enrollment period this year?

The Extended Open Enrollment period this year was implemented due to the COVID-19 impact on LACERS staffing and a City program to maximize employee retirements in light of the financial crisis.  The resulting significant increase in workload of City retirements coupled with staffing restrictions required that the Open Enrollment be extended to provide flexibility to staff to meet enrollment demands.

Will LACERS return to the usual October 15 through November 15 Open Enrollment period in 2021?

LACERS intends to return to the normal Open Enrollment period next year barring unforeseeable circumstances.

What are Qualifying Events?

A Qualifying Event allows you to make health plan changes outside of Open Enrollment.  The following Qualifying Events will allow you to make health plan changes or enroll in a plan within:

  • 60 days of the Retiree turning age 55
  • 90 days of the Retiree turning age 65 (based on Medicare eligibility)
  • 30 days of relocation out of or into a LACERS HMO plan zip code service area
  • 30 days of a LACERS HMO plan zip code service area becoming available or unavailable 30 days of being involuntarily terminated from a non-LACERS medical plan (LACERS requires proof of termination)

If my Retirement Effective Date is before 10/15/20, can I change plans in the Open Enrollment period?

Yes, because this retirement date is prior to the Open Enrollment period, this Member will be eligible to participate in the 10/15/20 through 3/31/21 Open Enrollment.  Anyone retiring between 10/15/20 and 3/31/21 would not be eligible to participate.

Can I request that my Open Enrollment addition/change be effective as of a specific date?

LACERS’ processing of Open Enrollment material will be based primarily on workload and not on Member requests, so no guarantee can or should be made as to plan effective dates, only that any effective date will be no more than three months after the completed enrollment material is received by LACERS.

What if I am losing or don’t currently have coverage?

LACERS will prioritize the processing of enrollments for those who are currently without LACERS medical or dental coverage, or those that can prove that their current coverage outside of LACERS will be involuntarily terminated by a certain date.

Does the three month delay in processing my enrollment mean that my request will go into effect three months after I submit my paperwork?

No, plan additions/changes may take as long as three months to go into effect but may be processed earlier if LACERS is able to do so.  LACERS will try to process requests as soon as possible, but our ability to do so will be based on workload at the time.

If I request a health plan change and LACERS has up to three months to process that request, does that mean I can go as long as three months without health coverage?

No, if you have existing coverage with LACERS, that coverage will continue until your newly-requested coverage goes into effect; there will not be a lapse in your coverage.

If my Open Enrollment request for medical coverage went into effect on February 1, 2021, can I participate in the next Open Enrollment period (October to November of 2021) to change my medical coverage for 2022?

No, unless the Member experiences a recognized Qualifying Event, they will not be eligible to participate in the next Open Enrollment period because of the requirement that any plan change be in effect for at least one year before a subsequent change is made.

If I make a change to only my medical plan during this Open Enrollment period and it goes into effect after January of 2021, can I make a dental plan change in the next Open Enrollment period?

Yes, so long as no dental plan change was made in the 2021 Open Enrollment period, changes to the dental plan (or vice versa) would be permitted because the one year plan enrollment restriction has not been violated.

Why do I need to wait at least a year to make another health plan change (outside of a qualifying event)?

The health plans base premiums on enrollment of at least one year to ensure that the projected cost of plan use will be adequately covered by premium payments.  This was part of the agreement with the health plan carriers to allow for an extended Open Enrollment period.

Because of the potential of a delay in processing my Open Enrollment addition/change, how will I know when it goes into effect?

LACERS will contact all those who submitted Open Enrollment addition/change requests at least two weeks prior to date the request goes into effect (effective dates are always the first of a month) to advise them of the development.

Can I contact LACERS to confirm receipt?

Do not contact LACERS to confirm receipt of forms until after eight business days if mailed, or after 4 business days if emailed or faxed.

Taxes

Do I still receive a W-2 Tax form after retirement?

LACERS Members receive a 1099-R for their retirement payments received for the year.

I did not receive my Tax form for the year. How can I obtain a copy?

Login to your MyLACERS Account to view and print a copy of your 1099-R tax forms, or contact LACERS Member Service Center at (800) 779-8328 to request one mailed to your address on file.

How do I change my Tax Withholding? 

Visit this page for more information on changing your tax withholding.

Do I have to pay taxes on my retirement allowance?

Your retirement income is taxable. LACERS Members have contributed to the plan on a pre-tax basis since 1986. Any contributions prior to 1986 were taxed, so any portion of your allowance that is based on pre-1986 contributions will not be subject to taxes.

MyLACERS

How do I create my MyLACERS Account?

MyLACERS enrollment requires that a PIN be sent to the Member’s mailing address on file in order to create the account. You can request a new PIN at the following link https://mylacers.lacers.org/RequestPIN.aspx.

The PIN letter will include step-by-step instructions on creating your account, and should be received in 3-5 business days. Once you receive your PIN, for further assistance with accessing your MyLACERS Account, please contact LACERS Member Service Center at (800) 779-8328.

How can I reset my MyLACERS password or challenge questions?

For assistance with accessing your MyLACERS Account, please contact LACERS Member Service Center at (800) 779-8328. Once your identity is verified, our staff will be able to assist a password reset, or security challenge questions reset.

I received an email about an Unrecognized Device accessing my Account. What do I do?

Any time you access your MyLACERS Account from a new device or location, you will be prompted to enter your Challenge Questions to access the account. This will also trigger an email to notify you that your account has been logged in using a new device.

If you do not recall accessing the account on the date and time you received the email, you may wish to reset your password to secure your account, otherwise you may disregard the email.

Two-Factor Authentication

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication is when a user is required to provide a second means of proving they are who they claim to be.  The first authentication is the password used to login with a username.  The second authentication, such as an email or SMS message code, provides an additional layer of security to the account.

Log in

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