Ask the CEO

Ask the CEO

Overview
Chief Executive Officer of CalSTRS, Cassandra Lichnock

Ask the CEO is an online communication channel offered by CalSTRS CEO, Cassandra Lichnock. This Web forum solicits questions about the sustainability and administration of the CalSTRS Defined Benefit Program. Not all will be posted directly, but Cassandra’s responses will be inclusive of views and perspectives.

Submit a question

Ask the CEO

How does Social Security affect me?

As a California public school educator, you do not pay into Social Security, so you will not receive Social Security benefits for your CalSTRS-covered position.

Because you do not pay into Social Security for your CalSTRS-covered employment, you are subject to two federal provisions that may reduce or eliminate your Social Security benefit.

Ask the CEO

I retired at the end of the last school year and the district is asking me to help out, what do I need to know?

On August 16, 2021, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-12-21 to provide additional flexibility to hire retired teachers during the Governor’s COVID-19 State of Emergency. Specifically, among other provisions, the executive order streamlines CalSTRS’ exemption process to allow eligible retired CalSTRS members to return to work within 180 calendar days of their retirement.

Ask the CEO

Can I retire early and receive my retirement benefit at a later date?

Yes. If you’re eligible to retire and are under the CalSTRS 2% at 60 benefit structure, you can retire as early as age 50 if you have at least 30 years of service credit. Or, you can retire at age 55 with at least five years of service credit. And you can leave your CalSTRS account open until you reach age 70 ½.

Ask the CEO

If I am a substitute teacher and have no intention of getting my credential, now or in the future, do I still have to contribute to CalSTRS?

As a substitute teacher, you become a member of CalSTRS as early as the first day following the pay period in which you have performed 100 or more days of creditable service during the school year for a single employer (Education Code section 22503). Until passing that threshold, you can only become a member of the CalSTRS Defined Benefit Program by making a voluntary election in writing.

Participation in the CalSTRS Defined Benefit Program for California public school preK-12 teachers, community college instructors and public school administrators is mandatory; part-time educators can choose to become members.