Volume 34 | June 23, 2020
June 2020 Newsletter
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In this Edition:
  • Meet the Team: Cristal Rodriguez, Disability Program Manager
  • SBCERS Santa Barbara Office Moved!
  • COVID-19 Contact Tracing Text Message Scams
  • Upcoming Board of Retirement Elections
  • 2020 COLA Tracker
  • May 2020 Investment Results
  • May 27 & 28, 2020 Board of Retirement Meeting Highlights
  • June 24 & 25, 2020 Board of Retirement Meeting Agendas Available
  • CareCounsel Information
  • RESBC Membership Information
Meet the Team: Cristal Rodriguez, Disability Program Manager
Cristal Rodriguez, Disability Program Manager, has been working for the County of Santa Barbara for 20 years. Cristal recently completed he r Juris Doctor degree and was sworn in to the State Bar of California.

When did you start working for SBCERS?

I started with SBCERS 15 years ago in 2005 as a Disability Retirement Specialist, after 5 years at the Public Health Department. I was then promoted to Disability Program Manager in 2010. I manage the Disability Retirement program activities, which includes investigating the merits of disability applications, presenting cases to hearing referees, and making recommendations to the Board of Retirement regarding individual cases. 

What is your favorite accomplishment at SBCERS?

By far, producing the disability video was a proud accomplishment. I don’t enjoy being in front of a camera so it required pushing past my comfort zone, but the end result was worth it because members and plan sponsors now have a good resource to help them understand this benefit. Click HERE to watch the video!

What do you get asked the most by SBCERS members?

I am often asked whether an award under the Workers’ Compensation system or Social Security carries over to an SBCERS benefit. There is a misconception that eligibility for one benefit means automatic eligibility for disability retirement. The SBCERS disability retirement benefit operates under a set of laws that while similar, are different from Workers’ Compensation and other disability benefits. This means that the Board of Retirement must make its own determination of eligibility for disability retirement independent of other disability benefits that a member may be eligible for. 

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I haven’t had much free time in the last four years, but after finishing law school and taking the bar exam I am looking forward to getting back to enjoying some free time. I like to spend time with my family, which includes a niece and nephew who are growing so fast, trying new recipes with my sisters, volunteering at the County Animal Shelter every Saturday, and reading for pleasure after 4 years of reading textbooks.
SBCERS Santa Barbara Office Moved!
The SBCERS Santa Barbara office has moved! Please update your records with our new address and fax number:

130 Robin Hill Road, Suite 100
Goleta, CA 93117
Fax: 805-695-2755

The office is located at the back of the building. Our phone numbers, email addresses, and website have remained the same. Please note that both Santa Barbara and Santa Maria offices remain closed to the public until further notice due to COVID-19. We look forward to greeting you in our new home when it is safe to do so.
Upcoming Board of Retirement Elections
Elections for General, Retired, and Retired Alternate Members of the Board of Retirement take place this Fall. A Notice of Election will be mailed to eligible members and available online at www.sbcers.org on Monday, July 6, 2020. Candidate Filing Guides will also be available on the SBCERS website on Monday, July 6, 2020.

For questions regarding Board of Retirement elections, please email clerkoftheboard@sbcers.org .
COVID-19 Contact Tracing Text Message Scams
Contact tracers, hired by a state’s department of public health, work with a person infected with COVID-19 to get the names and phone numbers for everyone that infected person came in close contact with while the possibly infectious. People who had contact with someone infected with COVID-19 may first get a text message from the health department, telling them they’ll get a call from a specific number. The tracer who calls will not ask for personal information, like a Social Security number. At the end of the call, some states ask if the contact would like to enroll in a text message program, which sends daily health and safety reminders until the 14-day quarantine ends. But tracers won’t ask you for money or information like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer.
Spot the difference: Unlike a legitimate text message from a health department, which only wants to let you know they’ll be calling, a spam message includes a link to click.

Don’t take the bait: Clicking on the link will download software onto your device, giving scammers access to your personal and financial information. Ignore and delete these scam messages.

Click HERE to read "COVID-19 contact tracing text message scams" by the Federal Trade Commission.
2020 COLA Tracker
For May 2020, Los Angeles Area Inflation (year over year) was 0.86%.

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. 
May 2020 Investment Results
The Total Fund returned 1.62 % for the month of May net of fees. For the current fiscal year through May 31, 2020, the portfolio has returned -1.48%, experiencing a loss of approximately $44 million.

Click HERE to read the full May 2020 Investment Flash Report.
May 27 & 28, 2020 Board of Retirement Meeting Highlights
At the Board of Retirement's May 27, 2020 meeting, t he Board received quarterly Public Markets, Private Equity, Private Real Return, and Private Real Estate reports. T he Board also discussed an investment opportunity in ArrowMark Structured Opportunity Fund II.

At the May 28, 2020 meeting, the Board reviewed and appr oved the Board Policy Development Policy, Budget Approval Process, Communications Policy, Conflict of Interest Code, and Code of Conduct. The Board also authorized the CEO to negotiate a lease for a new office space in Santa Maria.

Draft minutes for the May 27, 2020 regular Board of Retirement meeting can be found HERE and the draft minutes for May 28, 2020 regular Board of Retirement meeting can be found HERE .
June 24 & 25, 2020 Board of Retirement Meeting Agendas Available
The next Regula r Board of Retirement meetings will be held remotely on June 24 and 25, 2020. You can watch both meetings via Youtube live stream at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC737ZNPI2eSJPcQlA5HfaNw/live .

M embers of the public who would like to make a public comment may email clerkoftheboard@sbcers.org for instructions on how to do so remotely.

Click HERE to access the agenda and board m aterials on our agenda management website.   
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 Providers

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.