Benefit Summary

As a member, both you and your employer contribute to your SJCERA retirement.  Your retirement is a defined benefit plan, providing a lifetime retirement benefit (a pension) based on your age at retirement, years of service credit and final average compensation (FAC).

  • Age at Retirement – Your age at retirement is represented by an age factor—a percentage— based on your age on the first day of retirement (to the nearest completed quarter year).

    Look up your age factor using the Age Factor chart for your tier below.

    Tier 1 Age Factors (summary chart)

    Tier 2 Age Factors (summary chart)
  • Service Credit – Service credit measures the time you earned as a SJCERA member. As a full-time, permanent employee, you earn service credit and pay contributions on your “normal working hours.” Every year of paid, full-time work equals one year of service credit.
  • Final Average Compensation (FAC) – SJCERA uses your highest FAC to calculate your retirement benefit. For Tier 1 members, the average is calculated on your highest one year (26 consecutive pay periods) of eligible earnings, not to exceed the Federal annual compensation limit. For Tier 2 members, the average is calculated on your highest three years (78 consecutive pay periods) of eligible earnings, not to exceed the PEPRA annual compensation limits. Visit the Contributions page for more information on contribution limits.
  • Sample Calculation: A General member plans to work 30 years, until age 67 (their full Social Security age) and estimates their monthly FAC will be $6,000. At age 67, the Tier 2 age factor is 2.5%.
2.50% x 30 x $6,000 = $4,500

Age Factor


Service Credit Yrs




Est Monthly Benefit

Use SJCERA’s Benefit Calculator to estimate your benefit.

Annual Federal Benefit Limit

The Internal Revenue Code Section 415(b) limits the annual benefit amount that SJCERA can pay to a retiree. Only a small number of SJCERA members are affected by the limit, which is indexed annually. If you are a Tier 1 member whose benefit exceeds the limit, SJCERA employers provide a replacement benefit (a Qualified Excess Benefit Arrangement (QEBA) allowed under the Internal Revenue Code) that pays the difference between the IRC limit and the benefit you have earned.

  • 2024 maximum annual benefit limit:      $275,000
    This limit applies if you retire at age 62 or older, retire from the Sheriff's department or a fire department with at least 15 years of service credit, or you receive a disability retirement benefit or a survivor’s benefit due to a pre-retirement death.

  • If you retire under age 62, or do not meet one of the other criteria listed, the benefit limit is lower based on your age at retirement.