Volume 19 | January 22, 2019
January 2019 Newsletter
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In this Edition:
  • Meet the Team: Barbara Gordon, Member Services Specialist
  • 2018 COLA Results
  • November & December 2018 Investment Performance
  • January 23, 2019 Board of Retirement Meeting Agenda
  • December 12, 2018 Board of Retirement Meeting Minutes
  • 2019 SBCERS Retiree Benefit Payment Calendar
  • Care Counsel Information
  • RESBC Membership Information
Meet the Team: Barbara Gordon, Member Services Specialist
I joined the SBCERS team in November 2002 and I love my job as a Member Services Specialist. I have great co-workers and I get to speak with Members and retirees and learn about things that they accomplished during their careers and retirement. Prior to joining SBCERS, I worked for 16 years at a private manufacturing company in Carpinteria. When I am not at work, I volunteer for the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Red Cross. I have been volunteering for the Red Cross for 21 years and was recently assigned to shelters in Ventura County helping evacuees of the Hill and Woolsey Fires.

When I am not helping my members or volunteering for the Red Cross, you will probably find me in San Francisco, or at a 49ers game. They are my favorite team and I enjoy going to games with my family. 

What question are you asked the most by retirees?

The most common question is “when can I retire?” If you ask me that question, I will probably ask you a few in return. The answer depends on how old you are, how long you have been a member, and your income needs. One thing that members often do not think about when retirement planning is the cost of healthcare. When you retire, particularly if you are under age 65, the cost of health insurance is a significant expense. I really love providing information about retirement benefits to members and helping people make their decisions. Feel free to give me a call if you would like to discuss anything related to your retirement account or benefits!

Do you have a subject area that you specialize in as part of your job?

I specialize in working with members who have had marriage dissolutions (divorce) and legal separations. Many of our members do not know this, but your SBCERS account and pension benefits are considered community property, and your spouse (or ex-spouse) may have a claim to your retirement account or benefit. Proper planning and processing is very important to ensuring that a marriage dissolution doesn’t impact when you can retire and the amount of your retirement benefit. If you are thinking about getting divorced or have been divorced at any point during your membership with SBCERS, (even if you are already retired), please don’t hesitate to call me and ask what you can do to ensure that your account and benefit is protected and that SBCERS has everything we need in order to process your retirement. As with all of our member communications we very much value your privacy and do not share your information with anyone.

Click HERE for a PDF Version.
2018 COLA Results

We estimate that the Los Angeles Area Inflation has averaged 3.81% over the 12 months of calendar year 2018.

County Employees Retirement Law provides that inflation should be rounded to the nearest half percent but limits COLA increases to 3.0% annually. As a result, a 3.0% COLA is anticipated to be considered by the Santa Barbara County Board of Retirement at its February 27, 2019 meeting. The COLA will take effect on May 1, 2019.

When the change is more than 3.0%, the excess amount is accumulated or banked . The excess amount of COLA can be applied in future years when the approved COLA level is below 3.0%. 

Click HERE   or on the chart above to see monthly inflation figures compared to last year. 

Want to track the COLA on your own? On the 15th of each month, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor statistics releases CPI data for Los Angeles. Click   HERE   to read the current Bureau of Labor Statistics report. 
November & December 2018 Investment Performance 

The Total Fund returned 1.50% for the month of November 2018. In December 2018, the fund returned negative 2.76%.

January 23, 2019 Board Meeting Agenda Available Online

Click HERE to access the Board Materials on our agenda management website. 
December 12, 2018 Board Meeting Highlights

At the December 12, 2018 Board of Retirement meeting the Board received its monthly market update and performance review, and results of SBCERS June 30, 2018 actuarial valuation. The board also directed the CEO to move forward on an office building purchase.

The minutes for the December 12, 2018 Regular meeting can be found HERE .
SBCERS Retiree Benefit Payment Calendar Available Online

Click  HERE  to download a Copy of the SBCERS Retiree Benefit Payment Calendar for calendar year 2019.
Want help with your Health Care Inquiries and Concerns?

Looking for a stress-free solution to your healthcare inquiries and, or concerns?CareCounsel is our health advocacy partner and is a service offered as part of your benefit package. CareCounsel works independently from your insurance carrier and is a completely confidential resource. 

It’s easy, call: (888-227-3334), or email: staff@carecounsel.com Monday through Friday 6:30 am to 5:00 pm PST. After hours, you can leave a message and they will get back to you the next business day.

A few examples of why you should contact CareCounsel:
  • Education
  • Making Sense of Medicare
  • Benefits and Coverage Questions
  • Claims and Billing Assistance
  • Eligibility Status
  • Quality Concerns
  • Grievances and Appeals
  • Assistance with Locating Healthcare Provider

RESBC is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of county retirees by providing information on critical retirement issues and offering educational/cultural social opportunities. Membership in RESBC is $2.50 monthly. Dues are deducted from the member’s Santa Barbara County pension payment. County employees may join RESBC by completing the RESBC Membership Deduction Authorization form at the time of their retirement exit conference.

Retirees may join at any time by requesting a membership form from SBCERS, 3916 State Street, Suite 100 Santa Barbara, CA 93105, 1-877-568-2940 or, by clicking here  and sending the completed form to benefits@sbcers.org.  

RESBC Membership benefits include:
  • 4 issues of the RESBC newsletter per year
  • 4 subsidized luncheon meetings per year held at various county locations
  • Opportunities to participate in subsidized day trips and special events
  • Attendance at special presentations on critical issues such as health insurance, pension litigation, pension-related court decisions, etc
  • Opportunity to socialize and have fun with former co-workers and friends
Have a question about an item in this newsletter?

Call a Benefit Representative at 1-877-568-2940. We are ready to help you!
Want to look at prior Newsletters?

Click here to visit the SBCERS Newsletter Archive.