CalSTRS takes pension spiking seriously. We have a fiduciary
responsibility to collect and ensure accurate reporting of
compensation. Efforts that improve our ability to aggressively
detect and pursue instances of suspected inappropriate pension
benefit enhancement, known as spiking, are underway.
CalSTRS determines spiking to be the inappropriate enhancement of
the retirement benefit, which most frequently occurs when an
employer pays an excessive increase in compensation to a member
at the end of his or her career. In instances where spiking has
been determined, CalSTRS adjusts benefits to the appropriate
level and collects overpayments in a manner consistent with the
Audits: CalSTRS regularly conducts school
district audits and analyzes employer compensation reports to
identify excessive increases that could enhance a member’s final
pension benefit. This includes an analysis of other risk factors,
such as large amounts of special compensation and inconsistent
pay raises throughout a member’s career.
Compensation Review Unit: Since 2011, the
Compensation Review Unit (CRU) has focused on analyzing
individual instances to determine if compensation changes have
resulted in pension spiking.
Creditable compensation changes effective in
New regulations give employers and CalSTRS staff clear
guidelines to ensure all members are being credited properly,
consistently and fairly for their service. The regulations will
also help CalSTRS identify, evaluate and determine instances of
pension spiking – the boosting of pay at the end of a career to
increase a pension benefit.
AB 340, The Public Employee Pension Reform Act:
Places a cap equal to 120 percent of the Social Security wage
base on creditable compensation that may be counted toward
CalSTRS retirement benefits for workers hired on or after January
1, 2013. The cap is adjusted each year based on
changes to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.
Pension abuse reporting
Information, resources and reports on pension spiking prevention
For accessible versions of files on this page, contact ADACoordinator@CalSTRS.com.