An Introduction to OCERS (For County of Orange employees only)
The Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) has been providing retirement, survivor and death benefits for County of Orange employees and other eligible members of the retirement system for nearly 70 years. OCERS’ membership has increased from fewer than 1,000 members in 1945 to more than 40,000 active, deferred and retired members today. While you are an active member employed by the County of Orange, you and your employer make mandatory contributions to the Retirement System. Contribution rates are set annually by the Retirement Board, which the resulting individual contribution amount being based on the employee’s nearest age upon entrance into the system. View the current employee and employer contribution rates by selecting your employer in the drop down list.
Defined Benefit Pensions and OCERS
There are two types of pension plans – Defined Benefit (DB) plans and Defined Contribution (DC) plans. OCERS, like most public sector plans, is a Defined Benefit pension plan. Your retirement is based on a set of factors: benefit formula, age, final average salary and years of service, but not on the amount you contribute or your account balance at retirement. OCERS as a Defined Benefit plan provides the member with a guaranteed lifetime benefit as well as certain benefits for designated beneficiaries upon the member’s death. OCERS also provides a disability retirement benefit for members who become permanently incapacitated from performing their usual and customary duties, subject to certain eligibility requirements, as well ad death benefits.
New members hired by the County of Orange are automatically enrolled in one of OCERS’ benefit formulas depending on whether the employee is a General or Safety member, their hire date as well as bargaining unit.
PEPRA: The State of California passed the Public Employees Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) that amended certain sections of the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (better known as the “37 Act”) under which OCERS operates. The law created new benefit types for new employees/members entering public agency employment and public retirement system membership for the first time on or after 1/1/2013.
How will I know my plan?
New employees are either Legacy plan members or PEPRA
Legacy members – Legacy members participate in plans available by employer and bargaining unit as of 12/31/2012. If you are hired by Orange County and were a member of an eligible reciprocal retirement system prior to 1/1/2013, and you enter Orange County employment within 180 days of separating from the prior retirement system, you may be considered a Legacy Plan member. Employees who reenter OCERS-covered service within 6 months of deferring or who return to the same OCERS employer would be a Legacy plan participant.
Depending on your employer and bargaining unit, you will be eligible to participate in one of the Legacy plans.
- Plans I/J and P – 2.7% at 55 and 1.62% at 65 for General Members employed in most bargaining units
- Plans A/B – 2% at 57 and 1.667% at 57.5 for General Members employed in County AFSME units and Deputy Sheriff’s trainees
- Plans E/F and R – 3% at 50 and 3% at 55 for Safety Members
PEPRA employees - PEPRA members are new to public employment, or have prior OCERS service which was withdrawn, or re-enter OCERS’ membership with a different employer longer than 180 days after terminating employment with the prior employer, or who are ineligible for reciprocity.
PEPRA Plans - PEPRA Plan members beginning employment with an OCERS’ covered employer on or after January 1, 2013 will participate in one of the following PEPRA plans:
- Plan T (PEPRA compliant) – 1.62% at 65 for General Members employed in most bargaining units
- Plan U – 2.5% at 67 for General Members employed in County AFSME units, Attorneys and Deputy Sheriff’s trainees
- Plan V – 2.7% at 57 for Safety Members
Once you are an Orange County employee and become a member of the retirement system, OCERS will mail you a “Welcome Letter” that will provide you with information on how to access your personalized retirement account via the online myOCERS. Once you have enrolled in myOCERS, you will be able to see your plan information and view your OCERS retirement account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For more information on OCERS’ benefits please review the Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD) and other information which is available on this website or call Member Services at (714) 558-6200.