Defined Benefit Program

Defined Benefit Program

Overview

CalSTRS Defined Benefit Program is a traditional defined benefit plan that provides retirement, survivor and disability benefits. Your Defined Benefit retirement benefit is based on a formula set by law using your age, service credit and final compensation.

If you were first hired… You are covered under the following benefit structure: Your eligibility for retirement is:
On or before December 31, 2012 CalSTRS 2% at 60 Age 50 with at least 30 years of service credit
Age 55 with five years of service credit—or under 
special circumstances*
On or after January 1, 2013 CalSTRS 2% at 62 Age 55 with at least five years of service—or under special circumstances*

*Special circumstances of concurrent retirement with certain other California public retirement systems.

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Two Benefit Structures

The California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (Chapter 296, Statutes of 2012) made significant changes to the benefit structure that primarily affect members first hired to perform CalSTRS creditable activities on or after January 1, 2013. 

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Eligibility for Benefits

You are eligible for the Defined Benefit Program if you’re an employee of the California public school system, prekindergarten through community college, in a position that requires you to:

  • Have a credential, certificate or permit, or
  • Meet the minimum standards adopted by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges.
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Contributions

Under the CalSTRS Funding Plan, contribution rates from all parties—members, employers and the state—to the Defined Benefit Program were increased gradually over several years.

General Information

Refund of Contributions

Considering a career change? If you no longer work in a CalSTRS-covered position, you can leave your money in CalSTRS until you reach 70½ or request a refund.

General Information

Working After Retirement

Working After Retirement

If you return to work after service retirement and perform retired member activities, including substitute teaching, as an employee of a California public school system, an employee of a third party, or an independent contractor, there are restrictions.

General Information

Reading Your Form 1099-R

Form 1099-R is the Internal Revenue Service form reporting a taxpayer’s distributions from pensions, annuities, IRAs, insurance contracts, profit-sharing plans and/or retirement plans (including section 457 state and local government plans).

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CalSTRS Pay Dates

Scheduled benefit payment dates are listed in the tables below. December direct deposit payments are made in January of the following year.

Mailing dates are determined by the State Controller’s Office, the check issuer.