Current as of January 8, 2021
We know you may have concerns about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic to your long-term retirement plans, plus questions about how to access CalSTRS services during this time.
The health and well-being of our members is of the utmost importance. Our goal is to care for you as much as you care for your students. You can rely on us to continue to pay your benefits on time.
If you plan to take a coronavirus-related distribution, submit your form to us by November 15, 2020.
Due to the State of California’s response to COVID-19, statements for direct deposit will not be printed and mailed until further notice. Retirees and beneficiaries will still receive their benefits via direct deposit. Members receiving paper-only payments will continue to receive a check. However, we ask you to consider opting in to direct deposit for your benefit payment via myCalSTRS.com.
Note: The processing timeline is one to two pay periods.
You can call us with your inquiries or questions at 800-228-5453 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. We encourage you to use secure messaging through myCalSTRS and our online form, or visit CalSTRS.com to find answers to frequently asked questions. We will respond to your message as quickly as possible.
As a result of guidance from local public health agencies and the State of California, we have taken several steps:
- All our member service centers are currently closed.
- In-person workshops and group benefit planning sessions have been converted to webinar format. You can find out more about them at CalSTRS.com/benefits-planning.
- Individual telephone benefits planning sessions are now available. You can register using your myCalSTRS account.
- We have increased the frequency of cleaning at all our facilities.
For inquiries, questions about appointments or to schedule an individual benefits planning session, call 800-228-5453 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
During this time, our capacity for calls at our member Contact Center may be reduced. We encourage you to visit CalSTRS.com and myCalSTRS.com for many of your information needs. You also may use secure messaging through myCalSTRS or our online form.
CalSTRS offers various online services at myCalSTRS. You can:
- Access your Retirement Progress Report.
- Manage your beneficiary recipient designations.
- Change your state and federal tax withholding preferences.
- View your CalSTRS account balances.
- Complete and submit CalSTRS forms electronically.
- Elect a preretirement election of an option.
- Apply for service retirement.
- View and print your 1099-R forms and benefit payment statements.
- Sign up for direct deposit.
- Ask questions about your accounts and receive prompt, secure answers.
- Request e-delivery of newsletters, notifications and statements.
If you have not yet signed up for myCalSTRS and need help learning how to register, you can view our registration guide.
As school districts, county offices of education or other governing bodies have authorized school closures based on COVID-19 concerns, CalSTRS remains committed to working with our employer partners and understands the need for guidance. On March 13, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-26-20, which ensured California public school districts, county offices of education and charter schools retain state funding even in the event of physical closure. The order provided that school districts must continue to pay employees even if schools are closed. As long as employees were paid during the closures, there should be no impact to a member’s service credit because their earnings should reflect the compensation they would have received had schools not been closed. We’re working proactively with employers to monitor potential impacts school closures could have on service credit and reviewing each closure on a case-by-case basis.
The spread of COVID-19 has impacted global markets over the short term. CalSTRS is a long-term investor, and we think in terms of decades—not days, weeks or months. The CalSTRS Investment Portfolio is broadly diversified in order to respond to periods of market volatility and uncertainty. The retirement benefits we provide continue to be secure.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 relaxes tax implications for certain distributions made by the CalSTRS Defined Benefit, Defined Benefit Supplement and Cash Balance Benefit programs between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. To learn more about coronavirus-related distributions and to find out whether you qualify for one from your CalSTRS benefit account, visit our CARES Act frequently asked questions webpage.
Note: If you decide to take a coronavirus-related distribution, CalSTRS must receive the certification form no later than November 15, 2020.
The CARES Act provides additional flexibility to access and manage defined contribution accounts, including CalSTRS’ Pension2® 403(b) and 457(b) accounts. In addition to providing employers with the flexibility to allow for penalty-free coronavirus-related distributions and loans from defined contribution accounts, the CARES Act suspended required minimum distributions for 2020 for defined contribution plans, including 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans, as well as IRAs. For more information, log in to your Pension2 account, or if you have another defined contribution account, visit that plan administrator’s website.
Note: The required minimum distribution deadlines for the CalSTRS Defined Benefit, Defined Benefit Supplement and Cash Balance Benefit programs, as recently changed by the SECURE Act of 2019, are unaffected by the CARES Act.
Disclaimer: Although the CARES Act has been signed into law, the full effects of the law are still being determined and additional guidance may be issued by the federal government. As a result, despite our efforts to provide current information about the effects of the CARES Act, the information presented here may be out of date and should not be considered a conclusive statement of the law. In the event this information conflicts with the law, the law takes precedence.
California is issuing daily updates about the status of COVID-19 in our state.
- View Apart Together: CEO Reflections on 2020 on the Pension Sense blog.
- Find information about the disease and how to protect yourself on the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 webpage.
- Read more on how to protect yourself and others at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
- Learn how to avoid scams related to the COVID-19 crisis at the Federal Trade Commission consumer information webpage.
- Find information as it becomes available on stimulus payment checks and taxes at the Internal Revenue Service website.