Applying for retirement is a process that requires careful thought and planning. It’s best to start compiling your retirement "to do" list several years before your retirement date.

Three to Five Years Prior to Retirement:

  • Attend a LACERA Pre-Retirement Workshop.
  • Review calculators.
  • Maximize contributions to your deferred compensation and/or savings plans.
  • Maximize your pensionable earnings; purchase service credit.
  • Request a Personalized Retirement Benefit Estimate (RBE) from LACERA. (Create your own RBE online,, My LACERA.)
  • Speak with a LACERA Retirement Benefits Specialist.
  • Target a possible retirement date.

Six Months Prior to Your Retirement Date:

  • Call LACERA at 800-786-6464 to request an Election to Retire form.
  • Update your beneficiary record.

Two Months Prior to Your Retirement Date:

  • Meet with a LACERA Retirement Benefits Specialist to assist you in preparing your retirement paperwork. The Specialist will provide you with enrollment forms for LACERA-administered retiree medical and dental insurance.
  • Bring the following documents with you:
    • Your completed Retirement Benefit Estimate and Election Form.
    • Your original Certified Marriage Certificate or Certificate of Registered Domestic Partnership.*
    • LACERA Beneficiary Designation Form and your beneficiary’s original certified birth certificate (for Unmodified+Plus or Options 2, 3, or 4).
    • Completed Direct Deposit application with a voided check from your checking account.
    • Completed Tax Withholding form W-4P/DE-4P (Per IRS and California Franchise Tax Board regulations, if you do not fill out a withholding form, taxes will be withheld as if you were married and claiming three withholding allowances.)
  • Notify your department of your retirement date.
  • Prepare finances to complete any outstanding service credit contracts (contracts must be paid within 120 days following retirement).

*If you were married or in a domestic partnership at least one year prior to retirement.

If You Submit Your Retirement Documents by Mail:

Be sure to sign your forms and mail them to LACERA two months prior to your retirement date. Enrollment forms for LACERA-administered health and dental insurance will be mailed to you after your retirement has been formally granted by the Board of Retirement.

Related Documents You May Need to Submit:

  • If you were divorced during your County employment, you must provide LACERA with a conformed copy (with the court clerk’s filing date stamp and the judge’s signature) of all the pages of your Judgment of Dissolution and any other orders directing division of benefits.
  • If you are in the process of a divorce at the time of retirement, LACERA cannot pay your retirement allowance until the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is final and a court order directing the community property division (QDRO) of your LACERA benefits is received.
  • If you are a Plan E Member with service prior to 1983 or a contributory member selecting the Pension Advance Option: to insure accuracy, we recommend you submit your Social Security Statement.
  • LACERA-administered medical and/or dental insurance enrollment forms.
  • Original certified birth certificate for any dependents that will be covered under LACERA-administered health and/or dental insurance.

NOTE: Direct Deposit application, W-4P/DE-4P (Tax Withholding form), and Beneficiary form can be found online at, Brochures & Forms page or call 800-786-6464.

TIP: Completing your Election to Retire form ahead of time, and submitting it with all the other required documents will save you valuable time, and keep your retirement plans on track!