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Applying for retirement FAQ

Ready to retire? Complete and submit your Service Retirement Application and other forms online using myCalSTRS.

Get prepared by reading the Your Retirement Guide booklet.

Service retirement ​b​enefit effective date

How far back can I backdate my service retirement benefit? 

Your retirement date must be after your last date of paid employment but not before January 1, 2012. Your retirement date must also be after you complete any service credit purchases.

For example, if your last date of paid employment was December 1, 2011, and you submit your retirement application this month, you can backdate your service retirement effective date to no earlier than January 1, 2012.

If I am applying for a service retirement during the evaluation of my disability application, can I backdate my retirement date? 

No. Your retirement date can be no earlier than the date you applied for disability.

Deadline for Service Retirement Application changes

Members have 30 calendar days from the date their first benefit payment was issued by CalSTRS to change or cancel their Service Retirement Application. This includes changes to options elected at retirement and preretirement option elections.

I want to make a change to my retirement application. How do I make that change? How much time do I have to submit this change? 

If you want to make a change to your retirement application which you already submitted to CalSTRS, you need to submit a Service Retirement Application Change Request form to CalSTRS.

CalSTRS must receive the required forms to make changes no later than 30 calendar days from the date your first benefit payment was issued.

How do I know when my first payment was issued? Where do I find the issue date? 

The issue date is on your benefit payment statement (direct deposit advice) in the top right corner.

To find the date from your myCalSTRS account:

  1. Log in and select "Access Your Benefit Payments."
  2. Make sure the current year is displayed, and under "Benefit Type" select "Service Retirement."
  3. Under "Net Payments," look for the earliest "Date Issued" listed.

You can also select the "Statement" link to the right of the earliest payment to see the benefit payment statement associated with that payment.

When does the 30 days start? 

The day after your first benefit payment is issued by CalSTRS.

For example, if the issue date displayed on your benefit payment statement (direct deposit advice) is February 1, you begin counting 30 calendar days starting February 2.

A change to your retirement needs to be received by CalSTRS on the 30th day, or earlier, on the proper form.

I want to change the option I chose. How do I do that? 

If you elected your option on your retirement application, submit a Service Retirement Application Change Request form.

If you pre-elected your option beneficiary, submit a Preretirement Election of an Option form indicating the change you desire.

CalSTRS must receive these forms no later than 30 calendar days from the date your first benefit payment was issued.

Is there a financial impact if I change or cancel my preretirement election of an option within the 30-day window period? 

There may be a financial impact if you make a change to or cancel your preretirement election of an option. You may be assessed, which means your lifetime retirement benefit will be reduced. The amount of the assessment depends on the option you chose, how long the option was in effect, and whether or not you are Coverage A or B.

We encourage you to consult a CalSTRS benefits specialist before making this decision.

Can I receive an estimate of the assessment to my lifetime benefit for changing or canceling an option? 

Yes. A CalSTRS benefits specialist can provide you with this information.

If I decide to change my option after retirement, what do I do with the benefit payment I have already received? 

Any adjustments will be automatically calculated and your future benefit payments will reflect the adjustment. CalSTRS will send you a letter with the details of the adjustment to your benefit.