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Accessing Your Funds

Your Defined Benefit Supplement funds are yours:

  • When you begin receiving a monthly retirement or disability benefit, or
  • Six months after you terminate CalSTRS-covered employment and receive a refund of your Defined Benefit contributions.

If you return to CalSTRS-covered employment after withdrawing your Defined Benefit Supplement funds, you’ll have to wait five years before you can make another withdrawal.

Retirement Benefit

You are eligible for a retirement benefit under the Defined Benefit Supplement Program if you have:

  • Terminated all employment to perform creditable service subject to coverage by the plan.
  • Retired for service under the Defined Benefit Program.
  • Submitted a completed application for a retirement benefit on a form prescribed by the system.

Choose a Benefit

Your retirement benefit under the Defined Benefit Supplement Program will be equal to the amount in your Defined Benefit Supplement account on the date the retirement benefit becomes payable.

You may elect any of the following as a retirement benefit:

  • A lump-sum payment.
  • An annuity payable in monthly installments.
  • A combination of both a lump-sum payment and an annuity.

If you choose to receive the retirement benefit in a lump-sum payment, no other benefit will be payable under the Defined Benefit Supplement Program. Your lump-sum payment may be mailed directly to you or rolled over to a qualified plan such as CalSTRS Pension2®.

You may elect to receive the retirement benefit as an annuity provided the amount in your Defined Benefit Supplement account on the date the benefit becomes payable is at least $3,500 after any lump-sum payments have been made from the account.

You may choose one of the following five annuities when retiring:

  • Member-Only Annuity
  • 100% Beneficiary Annuity
  • 75% Beneficiary Annuity
  • 50% Beneficiary Annuity
  • Period-Certain Annuity

Reinstatement from Retirement

If you reinstate from service retirement, payment of a retirement annuity will terminate. Your Defined Benefit Supplement account will be credited with the actuarial equivalent of the annuity as of the date the annuity is terminated.

If you subsequently retire again, an annuity based on the remaining balance of credits in your Defined Benefit Supplement account at the time of the subsequent retirement will become payable.

Disability Benefit

If you are approved to receive a disability benefit, you will receive the balance of your Defined Benefit Supplement account. 

Eligibility

You will receive a disability benefit under the Defined Benefit Supplement Program beginning on the effective date of your disability retirement or disability allowance benefit.

Electing a Payment Type

If you have less than $3,500 in your account at the time your disability benefit becomes effective, you will receive the account balance as a lump-sum payment. Your lump-sum payment may be mailed directly to you or rolled over to a qualified plan such as CalSTRS Pension2®.

If the amount is $3,500 or more, you have choices about how you would like to receive the funds, depending on whether you elected the Member-Only Benefit or the Modified Benefit.

Choices for a Member-Only Benefit

The Member-Only Benefit offers the following payment choices:

  • Lump-Sum Payment
  • Member-Only Annuity
  • Period-Certain Annuity
  • Combination of Lump-Sum Payment and Annuity

Choices for a Modified Benefit

If you elect the Modified Benefit, you have the following payment choices:

  • Lump-Sum Payment
  • 100% Beneficiary Annuity
  • 75% Beneficiary Annuity
  • 50% Beneficiary Annuity
  • Period-Certain Annuity
  • Combination of Lump-Sum Payment and Annuity

Reinstatement from Disability

If your disability allowance or disability retirement allowance is terminated, payment of a disability annuity will terminate. Your Defined Benefit Supplement account will be credited with the actuarial equivalent of your annuity as of the date the annuity is terminated.

If a disability allowance or a service or disability retirement allowance subsequently becomes payable again, an annuity based on the remaining balance of credits in the Defined Benefit Supplement account at the time of the subsequent disability or service or disability retirement becomes payable.

Survivor Benefit

If you die before retirement, your one-time death benefit recipient will receive a benefit based on the balance in your Defined Benefit Supplement account. If you have $3,500 or more for each designated recipient, each will have a choice of a lump-sum payment or a period-certain annuity.

If you die after retirement, you will have already made your Defined Benefit Supplement annuity election. An ongoing monthly annuity will be paid depending on your election at retirement.

Termination Benefit

The termination benefit is a lump-sum payment that is equal to the amount in your Defined Benefit Supplement account.

Eligibility

You will be eligible for a termination benefit upon termination of all employment to perform creditable service subject to coverage under the plan for a reason other than:

  • Retirement
  • Disability
  • Death

To qualify for a termination benefit, you must not have been paid a termination benefit in the last five years.

Upon distribution of the termination benefit, no further benefit will be payable under the Defined Benefit Supplement Program.

Disbursement

If you submit an application for a refund of contributions under the Defined Benefit Program, CalSTRS will refund your Defined Benefit Supplement account after you respond to correspondence regarding the payout.

Waiting Period

A termination benefit is payable after six months have elapsed following the date you terminated employment. If you perform creditable service within the six months following termination of employment, the termination benefit will not be payable and the application will be cancelled.

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