SFERS offers three types of retirement benefits for safety members:
Voluntary Service Retirement
Industrial Disability Retirement
Ordinary Disability Retirement
Service Retirement Benefit
You can retire for service once you reach the minimum qualifying age and years of credited service required under your plan. The qualifying age for all Safety Plans is a minimum of 50 years old and at least 5 years of credited service.
Age Factor Table
Average Final Pensionalbe Compensation
New Plan Tier III – A8.604 (Fire) & A8.605 (Police)
Highest average monthly pay in any three consecutive fiscal years or, average monthly pay in the 36 consecutive months immediately prior to retirement
New Plan Tier II – A8.601 (Fire) & A8.602 (Police)
Highest average monthly pay in any two consecutive fiscal years or, average monthly pay in the 24 consecutive months immediately prior to retirement
New Plan Tier I – A8.597 (Police) & A8.598 (Fire)
Highest average monthly pay in any fiscal year or, average monthly pay in the 12 consecutive months immediately prior to retirement
Service Benefit Calculation
Credited Service x Age Factor x Average Monthly Pensionable Compensation = Monthly Benefit
The Maximum annual benefit is 90% of the average final pensionable compensation
When you retire for service, SFERS will pay you a monthly benefit that is calculated using a formula based on your age at retirement, your years of credited service (the number of years worked and paid), and your final pensionable compensation (highest average pay). Click on the Age Factors link in the table above to access the table of age factors associated with your plan.
The maximum retirement benefit you can receive as a member of the Safety Plan is 90% of your final pensionable compensation. Voluntary contributions to the City’s 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan (SFDCP) can help complement your pension benefit.
Members employed as police officers or firefighters in SFERS safety plans do not accrue Social Security benefits.
Your service retirement benefit is paid to you on the last day of each month for your lifetime and the lifetime of your qualified survivor.
When you are Ready to Retire
These are the steps to take when you are qualified and ready to retire for service:
You can feel confident about the monthly benefit you will receive by calculating an estimate of your benefit based on your desired retirement date and earned salary. Log in to mySFERS secure member portal and select the “Benefit Calculator” tab. The SFERS benefit calculators are accessible 24/7.
Counseling sessions are reserved for members who are qualified to retire for service and who are ready to complete the retirement application. Log in to mySFERS secure member portal and select the “Appointment Scheduler” tab. Click on the box for “Retirement” appointments. We suggest that you schedule your appointment up to six months before your desired retirement date.
A Retirement Counselor will assist you with completing your retirement application. Counseling sessions are conducted by phone or MS Teams and can last up to two hours, so please plan accordingly.
We will discuss your benefit payment options and the significance of designating a beneficiary or beneficiaries in detail at your counseling appointment. To help you prepare for the discussion, please select the link below to review SFERS’ benefit payment options.
Benefit Payment Options Table
– Valid picture ID or passport – Original certified marriage/domestic partnership certificate – Original certified birth certificate of spouse/domestic partner or designated beneficiary – Spouse’s/Domestic Partner’s Social Security Number – Unmarried child or children (under 18) date of birth and Social Security Number
Your effective retirement date cannot be earlier than the first day of the month in which you file your retirement application with SFERS.
Disability Retirement Benefits
You can apply to retire for disability if you become ill or are injured and you meet the required qualifications.
Industrial Disability Retirement
If you become unable to perform your job duties because of a work-related illness or injury of extended and uncertain duration, you may be eligible to apply for an Industrial Disability Retirement benefit (safety members only).
– Unable to perform job duties because of a work-related illness or injury of extended and uncertain duration – Any Age – No minimum credited service requirement – Employed as a safety employee
Industrial Disability Benefit Calculation
– If you are qualified for service retirement(QSR) – service retirement benefit, but not less than 50% of final compensation – If you are not qualified for service retirement – 50 to 90% of final compensation as determined by the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board until you reach QSR, then the benefit is adjusted to service retirement calculated as if you had continued to render service without interruption in the rank held at retirement – Maximum benefit is 90% of the average final pensionable compensation
Ordinary Disability Retirement
If you become unable to perform your job duties because of a non-work-related illness or injury of extended and uncertain duration, you may be eligible to apply for an Ordinary Disability Retirement benefit.
The maximum disability retirement benefit you can receive as a member of a Safety Plan is 90% of your final pensionable compensation.
If you are granted disability retirement, your benefit is paid on the last day of each month for your lifetime and the lifetime of your qualified survivor.
– Unable to perform job duties because of a non-work-related illness or injury of extended and uncertain duration – Any Age – 10 or more years of credited service
Ordinary Disability Benefit Calculation
– 1.5% of avg final comp for each year of credited service at retirement but not less than 33 1/3% of final compensation – Maximum benefit is 90% of the average final pensionable compensation
Filing for Disability Retirement
If you are considering a disability retirement from the City and County of San Francisco, follow the steps below:
Log in to mySFERS secure member portal and select the “Appointment Scheduler” tab. Click on the box for “Retirement” appointments.
A Retirement Counselor will help you initiate the disability retirement application process. Counseling appointments are conducted by phone or MS Teams and can last up to two hours, so please plan accordingly
– Valid picture ID or passport – Original certified marriage/domestic partnership certificate – Spouse’s/Domestic Partner’s date of birth and Social Security Number – Unmarried child or children (under 18) date of birth and Social Security Number
Your effective retirement date cannot be earlier than the first day of the month in which you file your disability retirement application with SFERS.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can find the formula to calculate an estimate of your retirement benefit in the Summary of Plan Provisions corresponding to the SFERS Plan to which you belong. Or, you may log in to the mySFERS member portal to calculate an estimate of your benefit utilizing the benefits estimate calculators.
You can initiate the application process for service retirement by scheduling a counseling session with a SFERS Retirement Counselor. Schedule your session to take place at least three months prior to your desired retirement date. To schedule a counseling appointment, log in to mySFERS to access the Retirement Appointment Scheduler, or contact us by email at [email protected] at least six (6) months prior to your desired retirement date.
While on suspension without pay, you do not receive credit for retirement service. You may contact SFERS at the end of the suspension to inquire about the overall effect of credited service for the specific fiscal year(s). You cannot purchase service for the time while serving a suspension.
For information about eligibility for health benefits in retirement contact the City’s Health Service System (HSS) directly at (628) 652-4700 or visit the HSS website at www.sfhss.org. HSS administers health and dental benefits for active and retired SFERS members.
Your pension is paid to you for your lifetime.
Login to mySFERS and review your current beneficiaries on the Beneficiary Dashboard.
The difference between these two dates can have a big effect on your retirement benefits over time. Members who retire on July 1st are eligible for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) to their pension when payable, effective on July 1st. Members who retire on July 2nd are not eligible to receive the COLA that was effective on the preceding July 1st because they were not retired on July 1st. Retiring on July 1 vs. July 2 may also impact the calculation of your lump-sum payouts from your department. You should inquire with your payroll department about this matter.
SFERS offers international EFT and wire transfers for payees who wish to have deposits made electronically to other countries. The destination may determine if a wire transfer is necessary or if an international EFT is possible. SFERS will cover the cost to originate the transaction, but fees imposed by the receiving bank are the responsibility of the payee.
SFERS does not credit service for retirement purposes for any periods of employment during which you are on “unpaid leave” status and/or are not receiving a salary from the City.
You can get an estimate of your retirement benefit anytime from the secure member portal mySFERS.Log in and utilize the benefits estimate calculators to calculate an estimate of your benefit…it takes just a few minutes.
You can initiate a disability retirement by scheduling a counseling session with a SFERS Retirement Counselor. To schedule a counseling appointment, log in to mySFERS to access the Retirement Appointment Scheduler. The length of time it takes to approve your application depends on how quickly the supporting documents are received, the evidence and facts reviewed, and all issues pertaining to your disability are resolved.
SFERS does not pay your lump-sum entitlements. SFERS will notify your department once you have applied for retirement. Your department will process your lump-sum entitlements according to department procedure.
Each case concerning community property is unique. Contact SFERS at (415) 487-7065 to discuss your individual situation.
Your first retirement check will be issued 30-45 days after the latter of 1) your application date, 2) your retirement date, or 3) the date of your last payroll check. SFERS must receive all earnings and contributions data through your last day of work before we can calculate your final retirement benefit.
Pension payments are always issued on the last day of each month. The allowance covers the period from the first day of the month to the last day of the month.
A “beneficiary” is a person or persons, trust, or estate that you designate to receive a lump-sum death benefit upon your death. A “qualified survivor” is a person, as defined under your SFERS plan provisions, that is eligible to receive a monthly continuation allowance upon your death. Refer to “Survivor Benefits” under your membership group, or your Summary of Key Plan Provisions for the definition of a qualified survivor.
A disabled child may be eligible to receive a monthly allowance upon your death if the provisions of the Retirement Board Policy Regarding Qualification for Benefits for Dependent Adult Child or Dependent Parent Continuation Benefits are met. Contact SFERS by email at [email protected] for a copy of the policy.