Reciprocity allows you to preserve your retirement
benefits when you change employment between public employers
who offer a benefit through public pension systems.
Reciprocity exists between SDCERA and many public
agencies in California. You may establish incoming or
outgoing reciprocity. It is important that you establish reciprocity in a timely manner because it could affect your tier, contribution rate and retirement eligibility. Contact your former retirement system to obtain the appropriate forms to establish reciprocity.
Some important points to remember about reciprocity are:
At retirement, all reciprocal retirement systems
will use your highest final average monthly compensation
under any reciprocal system when calculating your
Certain reciprocal systems use your entry age with your
previous system when calculating your entry age. In some
systems, this means your contribution
rate could be less, depending on your tier. A delay in establishing reciprocity could affect your tier and contribution rate, which could delay your retirement. If you contributed too much, you could receive a refund, but if you did not contribute enough, you could be required to make additional contributions.
Reciprocal years are used to meet vesting and
retirement eligibility criteria in all reciprocal
retirement systems; however, the service credit you earn
in each system does not transfer from one system to
another and service credit years are not combined for
purposes of calculating your benefit(s) in each system.
You must retire from all reciprocal retirement
systems on the same date by submitting a retirement
application to each system (with limited exception for systems with a higher
minimum age requirement).
You are eligible for full reciprocity as long as you leave your accumulated contributions on deposit with
your former system and enter your new employer’s system within six months of your termination date from your
If you are not eligible for full reciprocity because you have more than six months between periods of active membership, you may be eligible for limited reciprocity. With limited reciprocity, you may use your service credit earned in the reciprocal system to help you vest and become eligible for a retirement benefit. Contact the reciprocal agency to verify whether or not benefits may be available to you from that agency.
Refer to the Reciprocity fact sheet to learn more about the
benefits of reciprocity, and for a list of reciprocal