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California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach

CalPERS Retirement Eligibility and Benefits

Eligibility and Vesting

Employees are eligible for service retirement at age 50 or older with five or more years of full-time equivalent CalPERS service credit. Employees must have 5 years of service credit to vest with CalPERS. There are some exceptions to the five-year requirement for employees who may have additional service at other employers with reciprocity. Employees should contact CalPERS for further information. Also, employees with at least five years of CalPERS service credit who become disabled for more than six months, may qualify for disability retirement through CalPERS, even if age 50 has not been obtained.

Retirement Benefits

State Miscellaneous, Tier 1 Category

CSU employees who were first employed by the State on or before January 14, 2011:
2% at age 55 (minimum age of 50), using the highest average 12 consecutive month compensation rate.
CSU employees who were first employed by the State on or after January 15, 2011:
2% at age 60 (minimum age of 50), using the highest average 36 consecutive month compensation rate.
CSU employees who became CalPERS members on or after January 1, 2013:
2% at age 62 (minimum age of 62), using the highest average 36 month compensation rate, subject to cap*.

Most CSU employees who are members of CalPERS are in the "State Miscellaneous, First Tier" plan except for Police Officers (Unit 8) and Public Safety Managers (M80).

State Peace Officer/Firefighter

CSU Public Safety Unit 8 employees who were first employed by the State on or before June 30, 2011, and who entered State employment on or after April 1, 1986:
3% at age 50 (minimum of age 50), using the highest average 12 consecutive month compensation rate.
CSU Public Safety MPP employees who were first employed by the State on or before January 14, 2011, and entered State employment on or after April 1, 1986:
3% at age 50 (minimum of age 50), using the highest average 12 consecutive month compensation rate.
CSU Public Safety Unit 8 employees who were first employed by the State on or after July 1, 2011:
2.5% at age 55 (minimum of age 50), using the highest average 36 consecutive month compensation rate.
CSU Public Safety MPP employees who were first employed by the State on or after January 15, 2011:
2.5% at age 55 (minimum of age 50), using the highest average 36 consecutive month compensation rate.
CSU Public Safety Unit 8 employees who became CalPERS members on or after January 1, 2013:
2.5% at age 57 (minimum age of 50), using the highest average 36 month compensation rate, subject to cap*.
CSU Public Safety MPP employees who became CalPERS members on or after January 1, 2013:
2.5% at age 57 (minimum age of 50), using the highest average 36 month compensation rate, subject to cap*.

*New cap on compensation that can be applied to benefit formula-limits amount of compensation used to calculate the retirement benefit equal to the Social Security wage index limit ($110,000 for 2012). This amount is adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Employees may find out more about these benefits by contacting Benefits Services or by visiting CalPERS online.

Retirement Benefit Factors

Three factors are multiplied together to calculate retirement benefits.

  • Service Credit
  • Benefit Factor
  • Final Compensation

Service Credit

Once eligible for CalPERS membership, employees earn service credit for each year or partial year worked for a CalPERS employer. Service credit accumulates on a fiscal year basis, July 1st through June 30th. To earn a full year of service credit during a fiscal year, employees must work at least:

  • Monthly pay employees – 10 months full‐time
  • Hourly pay employees – 1,720 hours

To determine retirement service credit, employees should refer to their CalPERS Annual Member Statement to verify current service credit as of each June 30th. Employees can establish a log‐in account and view their statement by visiting
my|CalPERS. In some cases, employees may be able to purchase additional service credit that can help maximize their retirement benefits. Employees should review the information on the CalPERS online to see if they may be eligible for or interested in any service credit purchase options.

Benefit Factor

The benefit factor is a percentage of pay to which employees are entitled for each year of service, determined by age at retirement and retirement formula.

Final Compensation

Final compensation is the highest average monthly pay rate during any consecutive 12 or 36 month period (depending on your retirement formula), less $133.33 for Social Security coordination. CalPERS uses the full‐time pay rate, not earnings. CalPERS uses the full time equivalent rate to determine compensation for less than full time employees.

Survivor Continuance and Retirement Option Choices

The Unmodified Allowance is the highest benefit payable and provides a lifetime monthly benefit to the employee which ends upon the employee’s death. Employees also have the choice of requesting a reduction in the Unmodified Allowance to provide a lump sum or monthly benefit for a beneficiary upon the employee’s death—these choices are Option 1, 2, 2W, 3, 3W, and 4.

Survivor Continuance

In addition to the option choices, Survivor Continuance is available to an eligible family member as of the date of the employee’s retirement. CalPERS provides a Survivor Continuance benefit‐‐a monthly allowance that automatically continues to an eligible survivor following an employee’s death after retirement regardless of the retirement option selected. The Survivor Continuance amount is equal to ¼ of the employee’s Unmodified Retirement Allowance. Survivor Continuance applies only if the retired employee has an eligible family member as of the date of retirement. ‐Eligible Survivors include (in order):

  • Spouse (married for at least one year prior to retirement) or registered domestic partner (registered for at least one year prior to retirement), or if none;
  • Unmarried natural or adopted children under age 18, or a disabled child who was disabled prior to age 18 and continuously thereafter, or if none;
  • Qualifying economically‐dependent parents.

Unmodified Allowance

This is the highest allowance payable. If, for example, an employee's spouse/domestic partner is named as the beneficiary and is eligible for Survivor Continuance, then the spouse/domestic partner would receive the Survivor Continuance benefit for life upon the employee's death after retirement. The Survivor Continuance benefit is an amount equal to 1/4 of your Unmodified Allowance.

Option 1

This retirement option provides a lump sum payment of an employee’s remaining member contributions to the employee’s beneficiary after the employee’s death. The reduction to the monthly benefit to provide this payment is based on the employee’s life expectancy at retirement and the amount of the employee’s contributions. Survivor Continuance will be paid, assuming the employee has an eligible survivor.

Options 2 or 3

These allowance choices pay less than the Unmodified Allowance, with the reduction based on both the life expectancy of the employee at retirement and that of the employee’s beneficiary. The younger the beneficiary is, the greater the reduction will be to the benefit. If the employee has someone eligible for Survivor Continuance, the reduction is applied only to the option portion of the allowance. These options (2 and 3) include a pop up provision‐‐if the beneficiary dies before the employee, the employee’s allowance will increase (pop up) to the higher Unmodified Allowance amount.

Options 2W and 3W

Option 2W pays the highest allowance possible to a surviving spouse/domestic partner. These two options (2W and 3W) are without the pop up provision‐‐if the beneficiary dies before the employee, the employee’s allowance will not increase (pop up) to the higher Unmodified Allowance. Survivor Continuance is provided to an eligible survivor.

Option 4

The reduction is based on the type of option the employee designs. The amount to the beneficiary cannot be greater than that provided by Option 2W. Employees can refer to the CalPERS publication, “Retirement Option 4 (PERS‐PUB‐18)” for examples of allowances employees can provide for their beneficiary under this option.

Beneficiary

CalPERS has established beneficiaries who are automatically designated to receive benefits in the event of the employee's death. Automatic beneficiaries are:

  1. Surviving spouse (whether or not you were living together at the time of your death); or, if none,
  2. Natural and adopted children (including natural child adopted by another), share and share alike; or, if none,
  3. Parents, share and share alike; or, if none,
  4. Brothers and sisters, share and share alike; or, if none,
  5. Your estate (if probated, or subject to probate), or, if not,
  6. Your trust (if one exists), or if not,
  7. Stepchildren, share and share alike; or , if none,
  8. Grandchildren, including step-grandchildren, share and share alike; or, if none,
  9. Nieces and nephews, share and share alike; or, if none,
  10. Great-grandchildren, share and share alike; or, if none,
  11. Cousins, share and share alike.

Employees wishing to designate beneficiaries other than the statutory beneficiaries shown above, or in a different order, may do so any time prior to retirement by completing State Form 241.

Obtaining Retirement Estimates

There are two main ways to obtain a CalPERS retirement estimate – on the Internet or by submitting an
Estimate Request Form to CalPERS. Both types of estimates are approximations of retirement benefits.

On the Internet ‐ Retirement Planning Calculator

On the Internet, employees have two ways they can estimate their future retirement benefits with CalPERS:

  • Employees can use the calculator after logging in to my|CalPERS (requires user name and password). The calculator will use data from the last annual member statement. Employees can also save estimates with this option.
  • On CalPERS Online, employees enter their own data and no Login is required. It is best to have the last annual member statement handy before beginning.

CalPERS Staff‐Prepared Calculation

In order to obtain a staff prepared calculation, employees can download, complete, and print the Estimate Request Form. Form may be submitted to: CalPERS Member Services Division, P.O. Box 942717, Sacramento, California 94229‐2717.