The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) provides retirement and health benefits to more than 1.6 million public employees, retirees and their families. It offers a defined benefit retirement plan that is based on a member’s years of service, age and final compensation. This means that retirement benefits are based on a formula as opposed to contributions and earnings in a savings plan. Once you have 5 years of service credit, you will be eligible for a guaranteed lifetime income. The lifetime income benefit is based on the formula below:
Service Credit x Benefit Factor x Final Compensation = Retirement Income
In addition, benefits can be provided for disability, death and payments to survivors or beneficiaries of members who are eligible.
The retirement formulas can vary, but are based on:
Classification – The type of job you worked in, including safety, industrial or peace officer/firefighter.
Membership Category – The type of employer you worked for, including state, school or public agency employers
Specific Provisions – These are designated in the contract between your agency and CalPERS
CalPERS administers a variety of benefits to members including:
Service retirement is considered a lifetime benefit. Most employees can retire as early as age 50 with five years of service credit. However, if the employee became a member on or after January 1, 2013, they must be at least 52 years old to retire.
CalPERS offers a range of benefits for members. Members may also be able to enjoy several benefit enhancements, including:
CalPERS and Other Benefit Programs - CalPERS has reciprocity agreements with many other California public retirement systems which allows retirees with service credit and contributions in two or more applicable systems to receive payments from those systems as well as CalPERS.
Supplemental Plans - CalPERS is also responsible for a 457 deferred compensation plan, a Peace Officers’ & Firefighters’ Defined Contribution Plan and a member-funded Supplemental Contributions Program to allow you to save and supplement your retirement income.
California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust Fund – CalPERS established this special fund in March 2007 to provide California public agencies with a cost-efficient and professionally managed investment vehicle for prefunding post-employment benefits.