This page outlines how CalSTRS handles pension spiking, what we’ve done recently to improve our prevention, detection and resolution of suspected incidents of spiking, and how we intend to continue improving our capabilities.
CalSTRS takes pension spiking seriously. We have a fiduciary responsibility to collect and ensure accurate reporting of compensation. Efforts that improve our ability to aggressively detect and pursue instances of suspected inappropriate pension benefit enhancement, known as spiking, are underway.
CalSTRS determines spiking to be the inappropriate enhancement of the retirement benefit, which most frequently occurs when an employer pays an excessive increase in compensation to a member at the end of his or her career. In instances where spiking has been determined, CalSTRS adjusts benefits to the appropriate level and collects overpayments in a manner consistent with the law.
Audits: CalSTRS regularly conducts school district audits and analyzes employer compensation reports to identify excessive increases that could enhance a member’s final pension benefit. This includes an analysis of other risk factors, such as large amounts of special compensation and inconsistent pay raises throughout a members’ career. For calendar year 2012, CalSTRS identified approximately $1,500,000 in benefit overpayments based upon 19 employer audits.
Compensation Review Unit: In September 2011, CalSTRS formed an additional, anti-spiking, Compensation Review Unit (CRU) focused on analyzing individual instances to determine if compensation changes have resulted in pension spiking. For calendar year 2012, the CRU reviewed 175 instances and identified 13 individual overpayments totaling $320,000.
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The California State Teachers’ Retirement System website has been developed in compliance with California Government Code §11135, which requires that all electronic and information technology developed or purchased by the State of California is accessible to people with disabilities. There are various types of physical disabilities that impact user interaction on the web. Vision loss, hearing loss, limited manual dexterity, and cognitive disabilities are examples, with each having different means by which to access electronic information effectively.