How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask socrateaser Your Own Question
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39178
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
socrateaser is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am retiring next year from two separate public plans--LA

This answer was rated:

I am retiring next year from two separate public plans--LA City Employees System and CalPers. They have a reciprocity arrangement to use my highest salary for purposes of retirement. Here is my question: with respect to the IRS 415 benefits limit from a defined benefit plan--is that $205K per year PER PLAN, or am I limited to a combination of $205K total from both plans? Neither of the retirement plans can answer that question. thank you
Hi, I'm a moderator for this topic. I've been working hard to find a professional to assist you right away, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you. Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No problem in waiting. Will take a pension lawyer experienced in IRS code 415 defined benefit plans limits to answer, so I'm prepared to wait.
Hi Marcie,

Thank you for your continued patience. We will continue the search for a professional for you.

Customer service asked me to review your question. The issue is a lot more difficult than it first appears. The reason is that IRC 415 provides aggregation requirement for "multiemployer" plans and plans that are subject to a control group. The problem in trying to answer the question is that there appears to be no case law or IRS interpretations that determines whether or not the two plans to which you belong are considered a controlled group, which would subject benefits to aggregation, rather than separate benefit payments.

My curiousity here is due to your statement that the plans are unable to tell you whether or not you are entitled to the benefits of each plan or only one -- because you cannot be the first person to ask the question, and the plan must know the answer, in order to know how to distribute your benefits.

My instinct here is that the reciprocity provision suggests that you are only entitled to the greater of the two benefits. However, if your goal is to challenge this position, then you will be relegated to making a demand for payment from both plans, and then if denied, you would have to sue and then try to prove after discovery of all of the plans' governing instruments, that the plans are not controlled by the same organization (i.e., city and state are not the same organization).

Anyway, that's my best guess here. I'm well known around here for providing heaviliy referenced answers with citations to legal authority that are generally dispositve on the customer question. Unfortunately, given the substantial gray area here, an educated guess and a suggestion that you may be into a costly legal action, is all I can offer.

Hope this helps.

NOTICE: My goal here is to entertain while educating the public about the law. I hope my answer is useful and informative to you. During our conversation, the website may ask you to rate my answer. If you rate my answer lower than the middle rating, then the website retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing. It is entirely your choice as to how you rate my answer. However, because your payment to me is in the nature of a donation/gift, rather than as compensation for any services rendered, you are entitled to know how your rating affects the final distribution of your donation.

If you need to contact me again, please put my user id at the beginning of your question ("To Socrateaser"), and the system will send me an alert. Please Click the following link for IMPORTANT LEGAL INFORMATION. Thanks and best wishes!

socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 39178
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you