Q:  What is San Luis Obispo County Pension Trust (SLOCPT)?

A:  SLOCPT is a Defined Benefit retirement plan or pension plan. A calculated monthly retirement benefit is provided for life. Benefits are funded from Employee and Employer contributions, as well as pooled investment earnings.


Q:  Who is eligible to participate in the SLOCPT Retirement Plan?

A:  All permanent Employees of the 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”), the administrative staff of the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (“RTA”), and Employees of SLOCPT are required to participate.  Elected officials may choose to become Members upon assuming office. Membership begins the first day of work (hire date) as a permanent Employee.


Q:  Who are the Board of Trustees?

A:  The Board of Trustees is the governing body responsible for the administration and management of SLOCPT. The Board of Trustees is composed of seven (7) members; the County Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector (who is an ex-officio Trustee), three (3) members appointed by the County Board of Supervisors, and three (3) members elected by the Active Members.


Q:  Are retirement benefits different for particular "Classes" of Employees?

A:  Yes, benefit calculations vary among different “Classes” of Employees, due to the retirement formulas outlined in the Plan. These formulas incorporate different retirement factors tailored for Employees categorized under the Miscellaneous, Safety, and Probation classes of pension membership.


Q:  Are there different Tiers of retirement benefits?

A:  Yes, the Retirement Plan includes three (3) Tiers of benefits. Each Tier features distinct retirement formulas with varying Retirement Factors tailored for Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 Members, along with associated benefit caps unique to each Tier. Tier 1 formulas apply to individuals hired before 2011, Tier 2 formulas apply to individuals hired between 2011 and 2012, and Tier 3 formulas apply to individuals hired in 2013 and thereafter.


Q:  When am I eligible to retire?

A:  Once a Member has reached the minimum retirement age (age 50 or 52 for those under Miscellaneous Tier 3) and has accumulated five (5.0) years of Pension Trust Service Credit (PTSC), they are eligible to retire.


Q:  How is my retirement benefit determined?

A:  Retirement benefits are determined based on a formula contained in the Plan. In general, retirement benefits will be based on:

> Accumulated years of Pension Trust Service Credits (PTSC)

               multiplied by,

> Retirement Age Factor (varies by age at retirement, class of membership, and pension tier)

               multiplied by,

> Final Average Salary (FAS)


Q:  How do I earn Pension Trust Service Credit (PTSC)?

A:  PTSC is accrued for each eligible hour paid as a permanent Employee. This includes hours worked, paid vacation time, and paid sick leave. However, no PTSC is earned during unpaid leave periods.  Since PTSC accrues for each eligible hour paid, part-time service is pro-rated (e.g., a 30-hour/week Employee would earn around 0.75 PTSC in one year).


Q:  What is “Final Average Salary (FAS)”?

A:  Final Average Salary refers to the average annualized monthly compensation earned by a Member. SLOCPT determines FAS by calculating the 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 (number of hours in a full-time work year) and then divided by 12 to determine the average monthly compensation. FAS is limited to base pay only and excludes pay elements such as 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 happens to the money taken out of my paycheck?

A:  Employee contributions are collected and accumulated in an accrual account held at SLOCPT. These contributions accrue interest at a rate determined by the Board of Trustees. Members can access their accrual account balance by contacting SLOCPT or creating an online account in SLOCPT’s Member portal. Additionally, they will receive an annual statement via email each January detailing their balance as of year-end. It’s important to note, that these balances do not determine retirement benefits. If a Member leaves employment before retiring, they have the option to either take a refund of their accumulated balance or, if eligible, leave their funds with SLOCPT to receive a lifetime monthly benefit upon eligibility.


Q:  What happens if I become disabled and can no longer work?

A:  The Plan offers Disability Retirement options for Members who become permanently disabled and are unable to perform their job duties. There are two (2) types of Disability Retirement benefits available. Ordinary Disability Retirement is open to any eligible Member who becomes permanently incapacitated to the extent they can no longer work, provided they have accrued at least five (5.0) PTSCs.  Industrial Disability Retirement is specifically for Safety and Probation Members. Requiring the disability to be predominately service-connected, with no minimum PTSC requirement. Approval for Disability Retirement requires sufficient medical evidence of permanent disability. The burden of proof lies with the Member, and an application for Disability Retirement must be submitted to SLOCPT before employment termination.


Q:  Is there cost of living adjustments (COLAs) in retirement?

A:  Yes. Annual retiree COLAs are based on a two (2) year average change of the San Francisco and Los Angeles Consumer Price Indexes (CPI). For Tier 1, there is a 3.00% max COLA with carryover if the calculated rate is over 3.00% for Tiers 2 and 3, there is a 2.00% max COLA with no carryover.


Q:  Will my pension benefit be taxable in retirement?

A:  Yes, pensions are subject to Federal and State income taxes, as they are funded by pre-tax Employee and Employer contributions, as well as pooled investment returns.


Q:  Does my pension provide any death benefits?

A:  Yes. For an Active Member who hasn’t reached retirement eligibility, the Basic Death Benefit includes the Member's Accrual Account balance at the time of death, plus one and a half times the Member’s monthly base pay multiplied by the total number of full PTSCs accrued (up to a maximum of 12 PTSCs). If an Active Member is eligible for retirement and has an eligible Survivor at the time of death, the Survivor may opt for the Basic Death Benefit or choose to receive the Option 2 monthly Survivor Benefit to be paid throughout their lifetime. The Option 2 benefit is calculated based on the benefit amount as if the Active Member retired on the date of their death. An eligible Survivor includes a spouse or registered domestic partner married or registered for at least one (1) year before their death, or, in specific circumstances, an eligible minor child. For retirees, the death benefit depends on the option chosen at retirement plus a $1,000 lump sum.


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:  Do I get medical insurance as a retiree?

A:  Eligibility for medical insurance after retirement depends on the policies of the participating Employer for whom the Member worked and what they offer. To determine eligibility for medical, dental, or vision insurance during retirement, contact your Employer or SLOCPT for assistance.


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 benefit from SLOCPT, they may work for any participating Employers temporarily, not exceeding 960 hours in a fiscal year (July 1st to June 30th). However, retired Miscellaneous Members must wait 180 days after their retirement date before returning to work in a temporary capacity. This waiting period doesn’t apply to retired Safety or Probation Members. In addition, retirees can serve as jurors or election officers and receive compensation payable for such service without affecting their retirement benefits.


Q:  Can I access my SLOCPT Member Account online?

A:  Yes, and SLOCPT highly encourages you to take advantage of the convenience of our Member Direct portal. Please contact SLOCPT at (805) 781-5465 to request your PIN. You can then visit the portal at Members.SLOCPT.org to use your unique PIN to enroll.


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 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (excluding County holidays).