CHECKLIST FOR RETIREMENT PLANNING

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 lacera.com 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, lacera.com, 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 lacera.com, 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!

12/4/17