LACERS Since 2003 By the Numbers


Tom Moutes

Retiree Update

By Tom Moutes, RLACEI Director

Did you know that LACERS pays out more than $1 billion in benefits every year? That’s right – more than $1 billion!

As a self-admitted retirement nerd, I enjoy looking at various measures of LACERS population and funding. Here are some of my observations for the time period of June 2003 – June 2019*:

  • The number of members receiving disability retirement benefits from LACERS stayed fairly constant at approximately 800 to 900 per year, and the number of surviving spouses and domestic partners receiving benefits grew some, from 3,162 to 3,981. However, the number of members receiving service retirements grew by more than 50 percent, from 9,797 in 2003 to 15,165 in 2019.
  • In 2003, the total amount paid by LACERS for retirement allowances was $358 million. In 2019, that amount had grown to $909 million.
  • In 2003, LACERS paid a little less than $51 million in retiree healthcare benefits. In 2019, that amount was just more than $140 million.
  • While the number of active (working) LACERS members in 2019 (26,632) was very close to the number of active members in 2003 (26,358), the number of active members peaked in 2008 (30,236) and hit a low during the 2003–19 period in 2015 (23,895).
  • The total payroll for City employees covered by LACERS was $1.34 billion in 2003. In 2019, it was $2.11 billion, even though the number of employees had increased by only a net of 274 since 2003! This increase in City payroll factors into the amount of the City’s annual contribution to LACERS.
  • In 2003, the City contributed $97.5 million to LACERS. In 2019, that amount was $586.8 million – a 501 percent increase.
  • In 2003, the active LACERS members contributed $83.1 million to LACERS. In 2019, that amount was $240.4 million – a 189 percent increase.

While I don’t expect anyone to be as much of a retirement nerd as I am, I hope you have enjoyed these LACERS statistics.

Stay tuned for future articles regarding how these statistical changes have impacted LACERS and the City.

*The June 2003 – June 2019 timeframe is used for this article due to the availability of accumulated Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) summary information on the LACERS website. The June 2020 information will be available upon the release of LACERS CAFR in December.