Retirement Application Process
Step 1 - Prepare
- Attend a Retirement Planning Workshop.
- Review brochures and information on our "Preparing for Retirement" Webpage.
- Obtain a printed copy of the CalPERS brochure "Stepping Into Retirement." The CalPERS Service Retirement Election Application forms are included in this brochure. You can print the brochure, using the link above, or a printed copy is available from the HR & Payroll Services Customer Service Center, CLA Building 98, Room B1-20. You can also order a copy of the brochure through the CalPERS Website or obtain a copy through any CalPERS Field Office.
- If you have reciprocity between CalPERS and another public retirement system, you need to make sure you retire concurrently from both systems--on the same day--so you can use the highest compensation for both systems. More information is available in the CalPERS booklet When You Change Retirement Systems.
Step 2 - Coordinate Application Process with Benefit Services
- Please contact Benefit Services, extension 3734 or 3735, for an appointment so we can assist you with your application, setting up your health benefits (if eligible), and coordinating your sick leave certification.
- Complete the Service Retirement Election Application and submit it to Benefit Services for completion of the sick leave certification. Benefit Services will obtain the information from Payroll Services and return your original application back to you with the certification. Please allow a minimum of ten business days for this process.
Step 3 - Submit Your Service Retirement Election Application
- Remember to sign and date your application in the presence of a notary
public. You must also have your spouse or legal domestic partner sign and
date. If you are not married or not registered as a domestic partner, just
check the “No” box in this section.
- Do not forget that your spouse’s or legal domestic partner’s signature must
be notarized or witnessed by a CalPERS representative.
- Depending on the retirement option you choose, photocopies of your beneficiarys birth certificate and your marriage certificate or certificate of domestic partnership, if applicable, will be required. Please refer to the CalPERS brochure, "Stepping Into Retirement" for details on required documentation.
- If there is a community property claim from a prior marriage, you should contact the CalPERS Community Property Unit at (916) 795-3551
for information and instructions. It is important to resolve any community property issues regarding your CalPERS account prior to applying for retirement.
- Mail your completed Service Retirement Election Application, and required documentation, to CalPERS or take it in person to one of the CalPERS Regional Field Offices.
- Many types of payments can be deducted from a monthly retirement check, such as car payments, association fees, charitable contributions, savings deposits, etc. To continue these deductions after retirement, you must contact the provider and complete their direct authorization deduction request which then needs to be forwarded to CalPERS.
Step 4 - Review Information on What Happens Next
- After you submit your Service Retirement Election Application, CalPERS will
take the steps necessary for you to retire on the day you have selected. Once
your application is received at their Sacramento Headquarters office, CalPERS will
send you an acknowledgment letter to let you know they have begun processing
your request, usually within 5–10 days of receipt of your application. CalPERS
will notify you if they have questions or need more information.
- Before you receive your first retirement benefit check, usually after you have
separated from employment, CalPERS will send you a letter providing you
with the date of your first retirement check, the amount you can expect to
receive, and important income tax information. If you have CalPERS health
coverage, the letter will also have information about those benefits. Keep
the letter along with other CalPERS documents you may have. Check the
information carefully and contact CalPERS toll-free at 888 CalPERS
(or 888 225-7377) if any information is not correct.
- When you will receive your first retirement check depends on your retirement date and when your final documents are received and processed by CalPERS. In most cases, you'll receive your first check in the first part of the month after you have retired. As an example, if your retirement date is September 4, your first check would be paid to you in the first week of October. Each case is different and if you would like to know exactly when your first check will be sent, contact CalPERS. Retirees receive a single check at the beginning of each month. Please refer to the CalPERS site Retirement Check Paydays for details.
- The COLA benefit is an annual cost-of-living increase that begins in the second calendar year after retirement and each May annually after that. The Purchasing Power Protection Allowance (PPPA) is added protection against inflation for those whose benefits fall below minimum levels established by law. For information on these two benefits, please review the CalPERS Website on Your Cost-of-Living and Purchasing Power Protection Benefits.
- Can I work after I retire?
Yes, you can work after retirement! Be sure to review the Employment After Retirement booklet for specific guidelines and restrictions. Also, you may want to refer to Social Security's publication on How Work Affects Your Benefits.