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Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

CERF’s Pension Plan provides a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to participants who have been receiving benefits for at least one year at the time the COLA takes effect. This adjustment will take effect each July 1 and will be 100% of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), up to 1%.

Receiving Your Benefits

When you are ready to retire, you will need to complete a retirement application 30-90 days prior to your termination date and submit it to the CERF Administrative Office. All contributions required from you, whether paid by you or paid by the county on your behalf, must be received and reconciled by the CERF Administrative Office prior to your benefit commencement. Additionally, if you are still working at the time your retirement application is submitted to CERF the salary, hours and contributions cannot be verified until you have worked through your date of termination and all salary, hours and contribution information (if applicable) has been received from the county. Because of this, your first annuity payment may be delayed. You will, however, receive payment retroactive to your benefit commencement date.

Using information from your retirement application, the CERF Administrative Office will calculate your benefit and send a retirement packet to you. From the packet, you will select a payment option, determine tax withholding and complete banking information to receive your payment by direct deposit.

Normal Form of Payment

The normal form of payment is a Single Life Annuity. This payment option provides you with a monthly payment for the rest of your life. When you die, payments are not made to a beneficiary.

Optional Forms of Payment

All of the optional forms of payment are “actuarially equivalent” to the normal form of payment. This means the monthly benefit amount derived from an optional payment method is adjusted so that the value of the payments over your lifetime and your beneficiary’s lifetime are the same as the value of the normal form of payment.

For the following joint and survivor annuity options, if the beneficiary you have chosen dies before you, please notify the CERF Administrative Office.

Joint and Survivor Annuity

With this option, you will receive smaller monthly payments than with the Single Life Annuity because payments may continue to your designated co-annuitant after your death. You can choose to have 50%, 75% or 100% of your reduced pension paid to your co-annuitant. Of course, the higher the continuation percentage you choose, the lower your benefit will be while you are living.

If your co-annuitant dies before you, there will be no further benefits paid after your death. However, your benefit will increase to the Single Life Annuity amount for the remainder of your lifetime.

10-Year Certain and Life Annuity

This option provides a smaller monthly payment than the Single Life Annuity. In exchange for the lower initial benefit, you have a minimum guarantee of at least 120 monthly payments (10 years) even if you die before 120 payments have been received. You may name more than one beneficiary under this option. If you do, you will need to designate the percentage of the benefit that each survivor should receive. If you die before the 10-year period ends and no beneficiary is living, the remaining payments will be made to the estate of the last surviving beneficiary. If you live longer than 10 years, you will continue to receive payments for the remainder of your lifetime. At the time of your death, all payments stop.

Level Income Option

If you retire prior to age 62, this option can provide you with a higher income until you reach age 62. At age 62, your CERF pension will decrease to allow your combined retirement income from CERF and Social Security to remain level throughout your retirement years.

Joint & Survivor and Level Income Option

This payment option is a combination of the Joint & Survivor annuity and Level Income options. Choosing this option will cause a greater adjustment to your initial pension than choosing just one of the two options.

CERF has the right to reclaim any overpayments that are made to you by reducing future benefits.