Q: Who is eligible to participate in the Plan?
A: All permanent employees and appointed officers of the San Luis Obispo County (the “County”), the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court (the “Court”), the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (“APCD”), the San Luis Obispo County Local Agency Formation Commission (“LAFCO”), and the employees of SLOCPT are required to participate. Participation in the Plan is a mandatory condition of employment. Elected officials may choose to become Members upon assuming office but are not required to participate. Membership begins on the first day of work (hire date) as a permanent employee.
Q: When can I retire?
A: Once a member has reached minimum retirement age (age 50 or 52 depending on which pension "Tier" they are eligible for) and has accumulated five years of Pension Trust Service Credit (“PTSC”), they are eligible to retire.
Q: Will I still receive Social Security benefits if I am a Member of the Plan?
A: Yes, if a member meets the eligibility requirements for Social Security benefits.
Q: Who can answer my questions about the Plan?
A: SLOCPT staff is always ready to assist. You can reach us by phone at (805) 781-5465, by email at [email protected], or in person at 1000 Mill Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93408 (on the corner of Mill and Osos Streets) Monday through Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm (excluding County holidays).
Q: After I retire, may I continue to be employed by the County or another of the participating Employers?
A: If a member is retired and receiving a retirement allowance from SLOCPT, they may work for any of the participating Employers on a temporary basis not to exceed 960 hours in a fiscal year (July 1st to June 30th). However, retired Miscellaneous Members will be required to wait for a period of 180 days after their retirement date before they can return to work in a temporary capacity. The waiting period can be waived if they are going to fill a “critically needed position” and the County Board of Supervisors approves the appointment in an open meeting. The waiting period does not apply to a retired Safety or Probation Members. In addition, retirees may serve as a juror or an election officer and receive any compensation payable for such service without affecting their retirement benefits.
Q: What is “Final Compensation?"
A: The Plan defines “Final Compensation” as the “average monthly compensation earnable by a Member.” SLOCPT will determine Final Compensation by calculating highest average regular hourly rate over either a consecutive 12 or 36 month period depending on Tier placement. The calculated average hourly rate is then multiplied by 2,080 (two-thousand eighty) and then divided by 12 (twelve) to determine average monthly compensation. Final Compensation does not include pay for overtime, shift differential, uniform allowance, use of County housing, lump sum payments of vacation or sick leave, or any other type of compensation unless specified in the Plan.
Q: What is my Accrual Account balance?
A: Accrual Account balances represent the total Accumulated Contributions and Interest at any given time. Members may obtain their Accrual Account balance by contacting SLOCPT. They will also receive via mail an annual statement each January that details their Accrual Account balance as of year end. Accrual Account balances do not determine retirement allowances - they are just a way of tracking employee contributions. If a member leaves employment prior to retirement, they will have the option of either taking a refund of their accumulated Accrual Account balance or (depending on eligibility) leaving their funds with SLOCPT and ultimately receiving a lifetime monthly allowance when eligible.
Q: How is my retirement allowance determined?
A: SLOCPT is a defined benefit plan. Retirement allowances are determined based on a formula contained in the Plan. In general, retirement allowances will be based on:
> Retirement factor (varies by age at retirement, Class of membership and pension Tier)
> Accumulated years of Pension Trust Service Credits (PTSC)
> Final Compensation (average highest 12 month or 36 months of Base Pay).
Q: Are retirement benefits different for particular "Classes" of employees?
A: The retirement formulas contained in the Plan have different Retirement Factors for Miscellaneous, Safety, and Probation classes of pension membership.
Q: Are retirement benefits different for "Tiers" of employees?
A: The retirement formulas contained in the Plan have different Retirement Factors for Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 members depending on when they were first hired. Tier placement may vary somewhat depending on which bargaining unit an employee is a member of. In general, Tier 1 pension formulas apply to those hired before 2011, Tier 2 formulas apply to those hired in 2011-2012 (and some members with Reciprocity to other retirement systems), and Tier 3 pension formulas apply to those hired in 2013 and later.
Q: Who is the Board of Trustees?
A: The Board of Trustees is the body responsible for the administration and management of the SLOCPT. The Board of Trustees is composed of seven members; the County Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector (who is an ex-officio Trustee), three members appointed by the County Board of Supervisors and three members elected by the Active Members.
Q: What happens if I become disabled and can no longer work?
A: The Plan provides for Disability Retirement in case a member becomes permanently disabled and is no longer able to perform the duties of their job. There are two types of Disability Retirement benefits available under the Plan. Ordinary Disability Retirement is available to any eligible Member who becomes permanently incapacitated and is no longer able to perform the duties of their job. To qualify for Ordinary Disability Retirement, PTSCs must be at least 5. Industrial Disability Retirement is available only to Safety and Probation Members. To qualify for Industrial Disability Retirement, the disability must be predominately service connected, however there is no minimum PTSC requirement. Disability Retirement is only approved if sufficient medical evidence of permanent disability is provided. The burden of proof is on the Member and an application for Disability Retirement must be received by SLOCPT prior to employment termination.
Q: How do I earn PTSC?
A: PTSC (and therefore pension benefits at retirement) is earned for each normal hour paid as a permanent employee. For example, PTSC is accrued while working, while on a paid vacation and while on paid sick leave. No PTSC is earned PTSC while on an unpaid leave. Since PTSCs accrue for each normal hour of paid work, they automatically are pro-rated for par time work (e.g., a 30 hour/week employee would earn 0.75 PTSC in one year).
Q: Do I get medical insurance as a retiree?
A: Eligibility for medical insurance after retirement is specific to the participating Employer the member was working for and what that Employer provides. To determine if a member is eligible for medical, dental or vision insurance during retirement, contact the Employer or SLOCPT.