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Eligibility for Benefits

Eligibility is determined on the basis of employment, part-time or temporary, not on the actual hours worked. Generally, employees and employers each contribute 4 percent of the employee’s gross salary.

You are eligible for the Cash Balance Benefit Program if you are a:

  • PreK–12 part-time teacher who:
    • Is employed for less than 50 percent of each full-time position.
    • Signed a district contract for less than a 50-percent commitment.
  • Community college employee who:
    • Is a part-time or temporary instructor or adult education instructor.
    • Is an adjunct or hourly faculty member hired semester to semester to work 67 percent or less of the weekly hours required for a full-time assignment. If an annual district contract is signed, it must be for no more than a 67-percent time commitment for each full-time position.
  • Individual who serves as trustee for an employer that offers the Cash Balance Benefit Program.

Your district must decide formally if it will offer the Cash Balance Benefit Program as an alternative program. Cash Balance may be offered exclusively or along with other retirement programs or Social Security. Eligibility depends on your basis of employment, not the actual hours you work.

Election of Coverage

If the governing board elects to provide coverage under Social Security or an alternative plan, you can choose not to participate in the Cash Balance Benefit Program.

If you initially chose alternative coverage, you can participate in the Cash Balance Benefit Program at a later date. However, the program must be provided by your employer and you must be eligible to participate.

Discontinued Eligibility

Your Cash Balance Benefit Program eligibility ends when:

  • You accept a position via written contract or employment agreement on the basis of:
    • A 50 percent or more time commitment of a full-time equivalent position with a K–12 school district.
    • More than a 67-percent time commitment of a full-time equivalent position with a community college district.
  • You work in a full-time position performing creditable service for your employer.
  • You elect the Defined Benefit Program with your employer.

Retirement Eligibility

You may retire as early as age 55. You must terminate all CalSTRS creditable service to apply for a retirement benefit. You must take a distribution of your retirement benefit by age 70 ½, unless you are still working.
 

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