Membership in the retirement system is effective on the FIRST DAY of the first full pay period after employment by the County. Every regular full-time employee employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week becomes a member of the Imperial County Employees' Retirement System. (Membership is mandatory except for elected officials and newly hired employees who have attained the age of 60.) It should be noted that all benefits are computed using your time in the retirement system, not time worked for the County.
Membership is divided into two categories:
- Safety Members - Eligible employees whose principal duties
consist of active law enforcement, active fire suppression and certain
probation officers (per Section - 31469.4 Gov't code and resolution
of the County Board of Supervisors) are safety members. In cases of
doubt as to whether a member is general or safety, the Board of
Retirement shall decide.
Safety Members are as follows:
- Sheriff's Department
Sheriff - Coroner
Sheriff Sergeant/Correctional Sergeant
Senior Deputy Sheriff
Safety Ranger - Supervisor
Safety Ranger - Boating
- District Attorney's Office
- Probation Department
County Probation Officer
Deputy County Probation Officer
Probation Division Manager
Probation Corrections Facility Manager
Deputy Probation Officers I, II and III
Juvenile Officers - Juvenile Hall
Victim Witness Program Supervisor
Shift Supervisor - Juvenile Hall
- Fire Department
Fire Chief/Emergency Services Coordinator
Assistant Fire Chief
Fire Fighters I and II
Fire Fighter Mechanic
Deputy Emergency - Services Coordinator
Fire Training Officer
Disaster Planner/Fire Prevention Officer
Note: Job titles change from time to time
- Sheriff's Department
- General Members - All other eligible employees.
All individual member records of the retirement system are confidential by law and such records may not be disclosed to anyone other than the member, except in the administration of the Retirement Law, or upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or upon written authorization of the member. Therefore, INFORMATION PERTAINING TO A MEMBER'S INDIVIDUAL RECORDS CANNOT BE GIVEN BY TELEPHONE.
If you have a specific question in connection with your participation in the Retirement Program that is not covered herein, or you desire information to assist you in planning your retirement, you may write or call the Retirement Office as follows:
1221 W. State Street
El Centro, CA 92243-2863
California is a "Community Property" State, and certain retirement benefits may be subject to division by the court in the event of a Dissolution of Marriage ("Divorce").
Determining your rights and obligations in a Dissolution of Marriage can be complex. Your attorney is your best source of information and advice. A handout entitled "Information for Attorneys and Parties in Dissolution of Marriage Cases" answers some commonly - asked questions on this subject, and is available from the Retirement Office
An annual (fiscal) financial report and actuarial report is available on ICERS' Website or by contacting ICERS.
ANNUAL MEMBER STATEMENTS:
An annual member's statement is sent out in January. The statement shows the member's name, address, beneficiary and the balance in the member's account (member contributions and interest).
All members must sign a "Member's Enrollment Affidavit" giving the name of their beneficiary and the relationship. To change a beneficiary, the member must make the designation on the proper retirement forms obtained from ICERS or its website. The retirement law states that in some cases a surviving spouse, domestic partner, or minor children have rights to a member's retirement benefits whether or not they are named as beneficiary.
Members' contribution rates are actuarially adjusted using the member's pensionable compensation. Members contributions are credited on June 30 and Decemmber 31 of each year with interest based on the previous six-month balance. The interest rate, which is subject to change by the Board of Retirement, is presently 3.875% per annum.
Interest and pretax contributions are not subject to Federal or State income tax until funds are withdrawn from the retirement system, at which time it is reportable for tax purposes. Members may not borrow, withdraw or use as collateral any of their accumulated contributions while employed by the County of Imperial.
Employer contributions to ICERS are based on the total payroll and are usually higher than the members'. A member does not benefit from the employer contributions until he/she receives a monthly pension.
PREVIOUS COUNTY SERVICE: A MEMBER WHO ELECTS TO PURCHASE RETIREMENT SERVICE CREDIT SHALL COMPLETE THAT PURCHASE WITHIN 120 DAYS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HIS OR HER RETIREMENT (Govt. Code Section 31485.7).
ICERS members who wish to purchase permissive service credit in the retirement system (military, redeposit, leave of absence and time prior to membership according to ICERS' bylaws) may now do so by transferring funds from either a 457 or 403(b) plan, or a traditional Individual Retirement Account. For more information contact ICERS at (760) 336-3132.
- MAKE-UP CONTRIBUTIONS:
- Members who, prior to entering ICERS, held a position in county service, the tenure of which was such as to exclude them from membership (extra help, part time, seasonal, or temporary), shall have the right to receive credit for such service if they elect to pay for it and thereafter pay in accordance with their election and Government Code Section 31641.5, prior to retirement.
- A member who returns to active service following an uncompensated leave of absence due to illness may receive service credit for the period of such absence, upon the payment of contributions the member would have paid during such period of absence together with interest that contributions would have earned had they been on deposit if the member was not absent. Credit may not be received for any period of such absence in excess of 12 consecutive months. (Gov't Code Section 31646).
- Military Service:
Any member who was resigned, or obtained a leave of absence, to enter and did enter the armed forces of the United States on a voluntary or involuntary basis and returned to service within one year after separation there from, under honorable conditions, shall receive credit for service and prior service for all or any part of military service, if, before retirement he or she contributes what he or she would have contributed at the time of resignation plus interest, if the service is not a basis for military retirement pay. (Govt. Code Section 31649.5).
A member may redeposit accumulated contributions previously withdrawn, plus interest accrued from date of separation from the system at any time prior to presenting an application for retirement and receive credit for such service. (Gov't Code Section 31652.)
A Former member who is in the service of an employer as an employee of a law enforcement agency or fire department whose principal duties consist of active law enforcement or fire fighting and prevention service may redeposit contributions for past employment in another reciprocal system. A former member may exercise this right by re-depositing into the retirement fund of the system he/she left, the amount of accumulated contributions and interest that he/she withdrew from ICERS plus regular interest thereon from date of separation. (Govt. Code Section 31831.3).