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Important Information Regarding Your Retirement Benefits


If You Plan on Transferring or Promoting to DWP – Reciprocity Has Been Suspended between LACERS and WPERP

What is reciprocity between the LACERS and WPERP?
Reciprocity between the City of Los Angeles and the Department of Water and Power (DWP) was an agreement which allowed Members to move from either agency within a specific time frame allowing portability of some retirement benefits.

On December 10, 2013, the City of Los Angeles adopted an ordinance suspending reciprocity, effective January 1, 2014, between the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System (LACERS) and the Water and Power Employees Retirement Plan (WPERP).

Your Tier status at LACERS will determine how your retirement benefits will be treated when you transfer to DWP (see Glossary for the definition of the different Tier status). Please contact LACERS to explore how your retirement benefits may be impacted if you transfer or promote to DWP.

Transfers or Promotions Prior to January 1, 2014

  1. What happened to my LACERS Retirement Contributions and Service when I became a WPERP Member prior to January 1, 2014?
    Under the prior reciprocity agreement, your Contributions and Service would have automatically transferred to WPERP, unless you chose otherwise by making a “negative election” at WPERP.

  2. What Tier am I in if I return to LACERS-Covered Employment WithThe City?
    A.If you were Tier 1 Member and left LACERS-covered employment prior to July 1, 2013, and your Contributions and Service automatically transferred (did not negatively elect), and you return to LACERS-covered employment on or after February 21, 2016, you will be a Tier 1 Member, provided that your employment with DWP commenced prior to July 1, 2013 and there is no break in service of more than seven calendar days. Otherwise, you will be a Tier 3 Member.
    B. If you were a Tier 1 Member and left LACERS-covered employment after July 1, 2013, and your Contributions and Service automatically transferred (did not negatively elect), and you return to LACERS-covered employment on or after February 21, 2016, you will be a Tier 3 Member.
Transfers or Promotions On or After January 1, 2014
  1. What happens to my LACERS Retirement Contributions, Service, and retirement eligibility, if I become a WPERP Member?

If you are a Tier 1 Member, your LACERS Retirement Contributions and Service stay on deposit with LACERS until you leave City Service through resignation, termination, or retirement.  When you retire, your years of Service with both agencies may be combined for eligibility purposes only, and you may receive a benefit from each plan based on the Service and final average salary earned at each plan.

If you are a Tier 3 Member, your LACERS Retirement Contributions and Service stay on deposit with LACERS until you leave City Service through resignation, termination, or retirement.  When you retire, your years of Service with both agencies will not be combined for eligibility purposes and you may receive a benefit from each plan based on the Service and final average salary earned at each plan.
 

  1. If I am an Active Member of LACERS and transfer or promote to DWP on or after January 1, 2014, do I become a Tier 2 Member of WPERP?
    To determine your Tier status in WPERP, please contact WPERP.
     
  2. What happens if I become a LACERS Member again?
    If you are a Tier 1 or Tier 3 Member, your Service, Contributions, and interest earned while working for DWP will stay on deposit at WPERP. 

If you did not transfer your LACERS funds to WPERP, you will return to the same benefit tier that you belonged to when you left. 

  1. As a LACERS Member, can I purchase my WPERP Service Credit and apply it toward my LACERS retirement?
    To determine your Service Credit purchase options, please contact LACERS, as different rules may apply depending on your Tier status.
  1. As a WPERP Member, can I purchase my LACERS Service Credit and apply it toward my WPERP retirement?
    To determine your Service Credit purchase options, please contact the WPERP. Making that purchase may cause you to lose any future right to LACERS Membership status.

  2. As a WPERP Member, can I purchase my LACERS Service Credit and apply it toward my WPERP retirement?
    To determine your Service Credit purchase options, please contact WPERP. Making that purchase may cause you to lose any future right to LACERS Membership status.

  3. What happens if I leave my Retirement Contributions on account at LACERS?
    If you are a Tier 1 Member, if you leave your Retirement Contributions and Service on deposit with LACERS, at the time of retirement, your years of Service with both agencies may be combined for retirement eligibility purposes only, and, when eligible, you may receive a benefit from each plan based on the Service and final average salary earned at each plan.

    If you are a Tier 3 Member, even if you leave your Retirement Contributions and Service on deposit with LACERS, at the time of retirement, your years of Service with both agencies will not be combined for retirement eligibility purposes and, when eligible, you may receive a benefit from each plan based on the Service and final average salary earned at each plan.

  4. Am I eligible to receive a health subsidy at the time of retirement?
    A. If you have less than 10 years of Service with LACERS?
    You will not be eligible for a LACERS health subsidy.

    B. If I have more than 10 years of Service with LACERS?
    You may receive a health subsidy based on the number of whole years accrued at LACERS. If, as a Retiree, you are receiving a LACERS health subsidy (for use solely with LACERS Retiree health plans or Medical Premium Reimbursement Program) and a WPERP health subsidy (for use solely with a DWP Retiree health plan), the combined amount of both subsidies cannot exceed the amount of LACERS’ maximum health subsidy.

    C. How is my LACERS health subsidy calculated?
    Tier 1 and Tier 3 Members: You will receive 40% of the maximum subsidy with 10 years of Service, plus 4% of the maximum subsidy for each additional whole year of Service Credit, not to exceed 100% of the maximum subsidy.

Glossary of LACERS terms

Member Contributions – Money recorded in an individual account to partially fund your retirement. At LACERS, your Contributions earn interest based on the average rate of a five-year U.S. Treasury Note. Interest is credited to your account on a monthly basis.

Negative Election – A choice you make to keep your funds and service at LACERS in the event you transfer or promote to DWP. For instance, if you are a Tier 1 Member, a Negative Election allows you to retain rights to Tier 1 status at LACERS should you become a LACERS Member again.

Reciprocity – An agreement among certain California public retirement systems allowing Members to move from one public employer to another within a specific timeframe allowing some portability of retirement benefits.

Service – Only those periods during which you were a Member of the Plan and 1) received compensation from the City as an employee, or; 2) received temporary disability Workers’ Compensation benefits and also paid Contributions to the Plan.

Service Credit – Accounts for the hours you worked and made your Member Contribution to LACERS. Full-time employees receive 0.03835 years of Service Credit each pay period. The Service Credit for part-time employees is prorated for each pay period based on the actual hours worked divided by 80 hours.

Tier 1 Members – Membership before February 21, 2016.

Tier 2 Members – All Tier 2 Members became Tier 1 Members on or after February 21, 2016.

Tier 3 Members – Membership on or after February 21, 2016.

Please contact LACERS to explore how your retirement benefits may be impacted if you transfer or promote to DWP.

If you have further questions regarding changes to LACERS reciprocity with WPERP, please call (800) 779-8328 or email at lacers.services@lacers.org
 
Note: LACERS retirement benefits are governed by: the Los Angeles Administrative Code; the Los Angeles City Charter; State and Federal statutes; and, the Rules adopted within the purview of the LACERS Boards of Administration.  These Codes and Rules are subject to change.  If there are any discrepancies between those governing authorities and this comparison chart, the governing authorities have precedence.

As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services and activities.