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"Vesting" means that you have a permanent right to your pension benefit. In the CERF Pension Plan, you are entitled to a benefit after eight years of continuous creditable service during which you have received pay for 1,000 hours in each of those eight years. You receive one year of vesting for each calendar year in which you complete 1,000 hours.

If you leave county employment before you become vested, you will receive a refund of the contributions you made to the plan. Your contributions will be refunded in a lump-sum payment either directly to you or you may elect to have your contributions rolled over to an eligible retirement plan. The refund will be made as soon as administratively possible. In order to elect a rollover to another plan, the full amount of distribution must equal $200 or more. If you elect a partial rollover, that portion of your distribution must be greater than $500. Any pre-tax contributions paid directly to you require tax withholding at a rate of 20%.

Once you become vested, in lieu of a refund of contributions, you are eligible to receive a full pension benefit at age 62, or an actuarially-reduced pension benefit as early as age 55. If you die before receiving a pension benefit, your beneficiary will be eligible for a survivor benefit based on your marital status at the time of your death.