Cash Balance Benefit Program FAQ
The Cash Balance Benefit Program, an Internal Revenue Code 401(a) defined benefit plan, is an optional program designed specifically for part-time educators and adjunct faculty.
It depends upon whether your employer offers the Cash Balance Benefit Program and your basis of employment.
If you are hired as a part-time, substitute, adjunct or temporary educator by a prekindergarten–12 district, county office of education, participating charter school or community college district that offers the Cash Balance Benefit Program, then you are eligible to participate.
If your basis of employment changes to 50 percent or more of the full-time position (or more than 67 percent for community college districts), or if you are no longer considered a temporary employee, you will automatically become a member of the Defined Benefit Program.
Yes, if the two programs are elected for service at different districts.
No, employers may offer whatever choice of plans they may wish to provide for employees.
Yes, you can elect to participate in the Cash Balance Benefit Program at the time your employer offers it and your contributions to the Defined Benefit Program will stop.
Yes, as long as your employer does not change your time base from less than half time.
Yes, as long as the rollover is from an eligible retirement plan and allowable under applicable federal statute law.
Yes, but all CalSTRS creditable service must be terminated.
Yes, if you are less than 55 years of age.
Your account will remain with the CalSTRS Cash Balance Benefit Program and will continue to receive compounded interest. If you terminate all eligible employment, then you may withdraw their funds.
Normal retirement age under the program is 60 years of age for participants who are not subject to the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013. Normal retirement age under the program is 62 years of age for participants who are subject to the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013. However, you may retire as early as age 55 years.
The normal form of retirement benefit is a lump-sum payment. You may elect to receive the benefit in the form of a monthly annuity, provided you have at least $3,500 in your account.
- Your contributions as well as your employers contributions may stay in your account and continue to draw compounded interest until distribution is required by federal law. Currently, federal law requires distribution of benefits at age 72 (70 ½ if you were born prior to July 1, 1949).
- You may apply for a termination benefit. The termination benefit will be payable six months following the date of termination of creditable service subject to coverage by the plan. Any new creditable service will cancel an application for a termination benefit. A termination benefit can only be paid once in a five-year period.
Yes, as long as you work 50 percent or less in each position.
No. Each of your employers will independently report each of your Cash Balance service to CalSTRS as long as the time base for which you were hired is less than 50 percent in each district. You can remain a Cash Balance Benefit Program participant in all districts.
Yes, as long as you do not elect or are mandated into the Defined Benefit Program.
Yes, you can continue to contribute to the Cash Balance Benefit Program as long as your basis of employment remains 50 percent or less in each district.
It depends. If the 50 percent or greater position is the Cash Balance district, then you must contribute to Defined Benefit for that district. However, you can contribute to the Cash Balance Benefit Program in the other districts if the basis of employment remains less than 50 percent.
If you take a full-time position in one district, then all service must be reported to the Defined Benefit Program.
Yes. For example, if you are employed in three different districts, you could have coverage under the Cash Balance Benefit Program, Social Security or an alternative plan.
The availability of retirement plans coverage that you may select is dependent on which plans your employers are offering.
Yes. Under the separation-from-service requirement, if you perform service creditable to CalSTRS within the first 180 calendar days of your most recent retirement date, CalSTRS will reduce your Cash Balance annuity by the amount you earned, dollar-for-dollar, during the 180 calendar days after retirement.
To comply with the separation-from-service requirement, your retirement benefit will not be payable until 180 calendar days after the date you terminate employment. If you return to work in a CalSTRS-covered position during this waiting period, your retirement will be canceled and you will not receive your benefit.
No. Retired Defined Benefit members, who return to work in a CalSTRS-covered position, cannot contribute to the Cash Balance Benefit Program. All earnings are subject to the postretirement earnings limit.