FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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DEFERRED COMPENSATION

What is the County's 457 deferred compensation plan?

Deferred Compensation is a program that allows you to save and invest a portion of your salary today, for the purpose of augmenting your retirement income. Federal and state income taxes are deferred until your assets are withdrawn, which is usually upon retirement when you are presumably in a lower tax bracket. The Deferred Compensation Plan is designed so the assets you save today will be there for you tomorrow. Please read the Plan Document which gives a full description of the Plan, as well as your legal rights and the Plan’s sponsor’s (County of Alameda) duties, responsibilities, and administrative guidelines in operating the Plan.

Why would I want to defer any of my salary from the County?

Participating in the Plan is one of the best ways to save money for your retirement years, and one of the few methods available today to reduce current income taxes. Your deferral is subtracted from your pay before taxes are taken out. It is then invested in the investment options you choose.

Who is eligible to participate?
  • Permanent, full-time employees
  • Permanent, part-time employees, permanently scheduled to work at least half time (37 ½ hours per pay period or more)
  • Project positions, permanently scheduled to work at least half time (37 ½ hours per pay period or more)
  • Provisional employees including Retired Annuitants and any rehired employee
Is a retired annuitant eligible to participate/contribute in the Alameda County 457(b) Plan ("457(b) plan")?

A Retired Annuitant is an eligible employee and can participate and contribute to the 457(b) Plan just like any other employee of the County.

If I am receiving payments from the 457(b) plan and I return to work as a retired annuitant with the County, can I continue to receive those payments and make contributions to the 457(b) plan?

Yes. If a Retired Annuitant had previously elected a periodic payment from the 457(b) Plan (e.g., monthly installments for life) then such payments are not suspended upon rehire. The prior installment payments continue to be based on his or her account at prior termination.

A Retired Annuitant can make new contributions to the 457(b) Plan upon rehire. Any new monies contributed to a new account under the 457(b) Plan after rehire are subject to separate distribution election at subsequent termination. Any new contributions cannot be distributed until a later termination. Thus, the Retired Annuitant’s account is segregated (amounts being paid under previously elected installment method and then post rehire amounts available for distribution at later termination).

Is a retired annuitant treated any differently than other rehired employees in this situation?

No. Any Employee who elected an installment distribution and then is rehired in any capacity is treated in the same manner. There is no rule requiring suspension of the prior installments for any employee.

If I never enrolled in the plan prior to retirement and then I come back as a retired annuitant, do I enroll in the old 457(b) or the new 457(b) for retired annuitants?

If the Retired Annuitant never enrolled in the 457(b) Plan and thus is not receiving installment payments from the 457(b) Plan, there is no reason to maintain a separate account. Therefore, he/she will be enrolled in the old 457(b) account.

Is retired annuitant account under a new deferred compensation plan?

No, it is the same plan. Retired Annuitants are just eligible to participate upon rehire (like other employees) and just a few special rules are triggered on the administration side (e.g. the ability to continue installments, etc). As a result, a separate account needs to be maintained.

Can a retired annuitant delay required minimum distribution (RMD) in the terminated account while making new contributions to a new 457(b) plan account?

Yes. A RMD is not required on the terminated account as long as you are working as a Retired Annuitant, even if you choose not to contribute new monies to the 457(b) Plan upon rehire. If a Retired Annuitant is working for the County at the time he or she attains age 70 1/2, RMDs are not required. The IRS (and 457(b) Plan) generally require RMDs upon the later of termination of employment with the County or attainment of age 70 1/2. However, if you already started receiving RMD payments from your terminated account before your rehire, those payments would continue.

How will loans be repaid from the original 457(b) plan account if there is a second 457(b) plan account?

Repayment of loans will continue with the coupons rather than with payroll deductions.

 

Can a retired annuitant elect a distribution of his or her prior 457(b) plan account after rehired by the county?

No. If you are rehired by the County as a Retired Annuitant and did not previously elect a distribution of your account at prior termination, you cannot elect a distribution of your prior 457(b) account until you incur a new distribution event under the terms of the 457(b) Plan (e.g., termination of employment).

What is the minimum amount I may contribute?

The minimum contribution is $20 each pay period.

 

What is the maximum amount I may contribute?

Year: 2022

Amount: $20,500*

“Additional” contribution for 50 years old or older: +$6,000*

 

*could increase by $500 per year depending on inflation rate index

How will my salary deferrals be reflected on my income tax return?

The taxable income reported in the annual W2 form is reduced by the amount you deferred during the taxable year.

 

Can I ever contribute more than the maximum amount?

Yes. If you did not defer at the maximum levels in earlier years, you may, under certain circumstances, qualify to exceed the regular maximum in one or more of the three calendar years immediately prior to your attaining normal retirement age. The Treasurer’s Office can provide further assistance and can explain what age is considered “normal retirement age”, which varies for different types of employee groups.

Can I discontinue participation after I join?

You can increase, decrease, or stop your contributions at any time. If you stop contributing, you may restart at any time. See the section on forms to request the appropriate form.

Who administers the plan?

The Plan currently is administered by Prudential Retirement Services, Inc., one of the largest defined contribution managers with over 70 years of retirement services experience.

Can I participate in the deferred compensation plan still have an IRA?

Participating in the Deferred Compensation Plan does not affect your ability to have an IRA. However, depending on your income and marital status, you may not qualify to deduct contributions to an IRA. Consult your tax advisor for more information.

 

Does my participation affect my social security or county retirement benefits?

No, you are entitled to exactly the same Social Security and County retirement benefits whether or not you join the Deferred Compensation Plan.

Does the County make any matching contributions to the deferred compensation plan?

No, the County of Alameda does not make any matching contributions to your account.

 

How do I enroll?

To enroll, you must file Enrollment forms with the Treasurer’s Office. Request a Deferred Compensation Plan Retirement Workbook from the Treasurer’s Office or click here to download. Follow the simple instructions, then return the completed forms to the Treasurer’s Office.  You can now enroll online. To enroll online, click here

Can I enroll in the plan and make after-tax ROTH contributions?

Yes. You can enroll and contribute to both a designated Roth after-tax source and a traditional pre-tax source in the same year in any proportion within the annual limit you choose. If you are already enrolled in the traditional pre-tax deferred compensation account you can add a Roth source using the Payroll Modification Form to designate your contributions.

Which is a better savings tool, the deferred compensation plan or an IRA?

The Deferred Compensation Plan may be better for a number of reasons. With deferred compensation, every dollar you contribute and earn is tax-deferred. With an IRA, your contributions may not be tax-deferred (consult your tax advisor). Another advantage of the Deferred Compensation Plan is that it makes saving automatic through payroll deductions, whereas an IRA requires a conscious decision and self-discipline to make deposits.

How does deferred compensation beat conventional savings?

Deferred Compensation gives you a significant tax break because the program allows you to invest the full amount of your contribution, pre-tax. In conventional savings, there is no tax-deferral privilege, thus, your savings are essentially reduced by the taxes you have to pay on the taxable income.

Does it matter when I begin saving?

It makes a huge difference. If you begin saving $100 each pay period today and earn an average of 8% annually, in 20 years you’ll have $123,862 available. If you wait five years to start, in 15 years your account would have only $73,492. That’s a $50,000 difference in your account. Over time, compounding of earnings contributes a significant amount to the growth of your savings.

How much should I contribute?

You should contribute as much toward your retirement as you can afford, because every extra dollar you save will have an enormous impact over the long term. The Deferred Compensation Plan Retirement Workbook includes an exercise to help you determine how much you need to retire, and illustrates how compounding accelerates your money’s growth from year to year and how tax-deferred investing beats taxable investing.

What investment products are available?

GoalMaker is an asset allocation service designed to help you determine where to direct your Deferred Compensation Plan contributions. In other words, GoalMaker helps you choose a model portfolio utilizing the investment options in your plan. Using these existing investment options as building blocks, GoalMaker lets you select from twelve different model portfolios. Model portfolios are based upon your risk tolerance–conservative, moderate, or aggressive–and your time horizon until retirement. These portfolios make it easier for you to diversify your holdings without becoming an expert at asset allocation. GoalMaker offers an efficient approach for participants who prefer to have professional asset allocation.

To participate in, or learn more about GoalMaker contact the Treasurer’s Office at (510) 272-6809 or Prudential at 800-833-5761, or log on to the Online Retirement Center.

Also, review the detailed investment information in the Retirement Workbook.

What services can I expect?

The County of Alameda is committed to offering the best retirement products and services available.

Frequently asked questions and forms are available on the Intranet and Internet.

The Treasurer’s Office will provide you with additional Plan information.

The Prudential Retirement Services website allows you to access and manage your account information 24 hours a day.

Prudential Retirement Services will provide personal assistance during working hours and their Voice Response Service may be accessed 24-hours a day.

Local Prudential Representatives (Financial Advisor of Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, and Emerge Financial Group) will provide you with personalized service if needed, including assistance in enrollment and retirement planning.

Assets may be transferred and future contributions may be re-allocated over the phone and the Internet.

Quarterly account statements showing account balance, confirmation of transactions, and investment results are provided to participants.

IS the money invested in mutual funds insured?

Mutual funds are not insured against market fluctuations. They are insured against fraud and embezzlement.

 

How do I get investment advice?

The Treasurer and his Deferred Compensation Plan staff cannot give investment advice, but the Office provides you with the materials you need to make an informed decision. The ultimate decision lies with you as the investor. The local Prudential Representatives will provide you with personalized service if needed, including retirement planning.

Can I get a copy of my statement?

Participants may obtain their statement through the Prudential website: prudential.com/online/retirement.

How can I find out my account balance?

Participants can call Prudential Retirement Services to access their account balance, which is updated daily. Account balances may also be obtained through the Prudential website: prudential.com/online/retirement.

How can I track the performance of the various investment options?

Quarterly account statements showing account balance, confirmation of transactions, and investment results are provided to participants by Prudential Retirement Services. Fund performance and prices may be obtained through the Prudential website.

 

How can I change my name, address, or beneficiary?

Submit a Change of Name or Address Form or Beneficiary Designation Form to the Treasurer’s Office.

 

How often can I change my investment allocations and how do I do this?

Unrestricted exchanges are allowed among the investment options, with the following exception:

Market timing, which is a type of excess trading, is the process of making frequent transfers into and out of the same fund over a short period. One or more “round trip” trades in the same fund within a 30 day period in which each buy and sell transaction is greater than $25,000 and where the trading pattern is not due to a systematic account rebalancing as part of a long term asset allocation strategy, payroll contribution, or other retirement planning activity. Any excessive trading can harm a fund’s performance and the retirement security of long-term investors by increasing transaction cost and/or disrupting the portfolio manager’s strategy.

To exchange between funds, contact Prudential Retirement Services or the Prudential website.

When are exchanges processed?

All exchange requests are effective the same day that Prudential receives them, if received prior to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Exchange requests received after 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time are processed the next business day. Your exchange is processed using closing market prices on the day your transaction is processed.

How will I know that Prudential processed a transaction?

After each transaction, you will receive a written confirmation from Prudential. This will be mailed to your home address of record. This applies to transactions submitted by mail on the appropriate form, by phone, or on the Internet.

You may also contact Prudential Retirement Services or the Prudential website to confirm transactions.

When can I discontinue or restart deferrals and how do I do this?

To discontinue or restart deferrals, submit a Payroll Modification form to the Treasurer’s Office. Payroll modifications are effective the month following receipt by the Treasurer’s Office and not less than two (2) pay periods.

If I make a change in my payroll deferral amount, when will it take affect?

Deferrals or changes to your payroll contributions are effective the month following receipt by the Treasurer’s Office and not less than two (2) pay periods.

What is the earliest date that I am allowed to withdraw funds from my account?

The following conditions allow payout of benefits:

  • Separation from service, either by retirement or resignation
  • Death
  • In-service withdrawal

However, a special circumstance allows in-service withdrawal of funds, i.e., a financial hardship withdrawal. This type of withdrawal has strict qualifying requirements. The Treasurer’s Office will provide a financial hardship application if you need one.

What are my payout options?

Payment methods available are:

  • A lump sum payment
  • A partial lump sum payment
  • Systematic payments
  • An annuity contract
  • Total or Partial Direct Rollover to a traditional IRA
  • Deferral of receipt of funds

For more information, print a Payout Request form and Payout Instructions.

At what age must I take the required minimum distribution (RMD)?

Effective January 1. 2020, the new age that RMDs must start is 72, or the year in which you stop working, if later. You must begin receiving payment no later than April 1 of the following year. RMDs for individuals who turned 70 1/2 in 2019 are not delayed, and instead, must continue to take their RMDs under the same rules prior to the passage of the SECURE Act.

After I separate from service, what do I need to do?

If you are thinking about leaving employment or if you have already separated, print the Payout Request Form (Distribution Election for Governmental 457 Plans) or Systematic Disbursement Form, and Payout Instructions. This packet of information includes general information and instructions regarding payout options and instructions/procedures for distribution of funds. You may request the forms and information from the Treasurer’s Office.

If you do not want to take an immediate payout, choose the option, “Defer receipt of benefits until a later date” on the form.

What happens in the event of my death?

In the event of your death, your designated beneficiary is eligible to withdraw your Deferred Compensation Plan benefits. Your beneficiary has 60 days to notify the Treasurer’s Office for when to begin payments.

If I cease participation in the plan, may I withdraw my money?

No, you cannot withdraw your Plan assets while still employed.

You may only receive an in-service withdrawal due to a financial hardship caused by an unforeseeable emergency as defined by the IRS.

Can I take an in-service withdraw of funds rolled into my account?

Yes, you can make an in-service withdrawal of funds from contributions rolled-over from an outside qualified plan.

 

Can I rollover my account into an IRA? Do I have other rollover options?

While it may be beneficial to leave the account with the County, after leaving County service, assets from the deferred compensation plan may be rolled over to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. You may also transfer your assets in the Alameda County plan to another public agency’s 457 Deferred Compensation Plan, if that agency’s plan accepts rollover assets.

While in County service you may make an in-service direct rollover from your account of pre-taxed amounts attributable to rollover contribution, to an IRA. The type of IRA depends upon the type of rollover contribution you have in your account: Roth 457(b) rollover, pre-taxed 457(b) rollover, or pre-tax non-457(b) rollover. You may also transfer your assets in the Alameda County plan to another public agency’s 457 Deferred Compensation Plan, if that agency’s plan accepts rollover assets.

Can I borrow money from my account?

Yes, you can apply for up to two loans at a time. This means that you can now borrow up to a combined maximum of 50% of your vested account balance (not to exceed $50,000 in any 12 month period). There is a $50 application fee for each loan with payments made via payroll deduction. General purpose loans may take up to five years to be repaid. Loans requested for purposes of purchasing a primary residence may take up to fifteen years to be repaid. It is important to note that there is a 12 month waiting period between loans and the sum of your loans. To learn more go to DCP Loan Program Q and A and/or call Prudential Retirement® at 855-969-4572 (855-wow-457b) and press 1.

To view the Loan Policy, click here.

SUBPLAN CONTACTS

Alameda County Employees / 457(b), 401(a)

Contact Person:

K. Darnell Williams

(510) 272-6809, tie line 26809

Treasurer’s Office

1221 Oak Street, Room 131

Oakland, CA 94612

QIC 20114

Fax: (510) 272-6826

Subplan: 001881 and 001882 [457(b)], 300356 [401(a)]

First 5 Alameda County / 457(b)

Contact Person:

Lyssa DeGolia

(510) 227-6916

1115 Atlantic Avenue

Alameda, CA 94501

QIC 30901

Fax: (510) 227-6901

Subplan: 001881 003373 

Alameda County Fire Department / 457(b)

Contact Person:

Josie Chou

(925) 833-3473

6363 Clark Avenue

Dublin, CA 94568

QIC 81301

Fax: (925) 875-9387

Subplan: 001881 003393

Alameda County Superior County / 457(b)

Contact Person:

Dwana Black

(510) 891-6079

Rene C. Davidson Courthouse

1225 Fallon Street, Room 105

Oakland, CA 94612

QIC 20714

Fax: (510) 891-6085

Subplan: 001881 004001

Treasurer Tax-Collector logo

TREASURER TAX-COLLECTOR

1221 Oak Street, Room 131
Oakland, CA • 94612
(510) 272-6800

Treasurer Tax-Collector logo

TREASURER TAX-COLLECTOR

1221 Oak Street, Room 131
Oakland, CA • 94612
(510) 272-6800

Treasurer Tax-Collector logo

TREASURER TAX-COLLECTOR

1221 Oak Street, Room 131
Oakland, CA • 94612
(510) 272-6800