Congratulations! You are ready to start planning your retirement. Your decision to retire is one of the most important choices you will make in your working career. There are some key steps you will need to take, such as understanding your retirement benefit, completing the necessary forms, and making benefits decisions that will affect your retirement. To assist you with making these important decisions, CalPERS offers a variety of information on retirement topics at the links listed below. An employee considering retirement should begin planning at least one year before the anticipated retirement date.

Service Retirement

Service retirement is a lifetime benefit. You can retire as early as age 50 with five years of service credit unless all service was earned on or after January 1, 2013. Then you must be at least age 52 to retire. There are some exceptions to the 5-year requirement. If you are employed on a part-time basis and have worked at least five years, or you are also a member of a reciprocal retirement system, contact CalPERS to find out if an exception applies to you.

Use the Retirement Planning Checklist to help prepare for retirement and find the documents needed to submit a complete application package. You can also watch Retirement Income Sources (video) to learn about potential retirement income sources, including your CalPERS pension, Social Security, personal savings, defined contribution plan, supplemental contribution plan, CalPERS Long-Term Care, and estate planning.

You may file your service retirement application within 120 days of your planned retirement date.

Get an Estimate

Use the Retirement Estimate Calculator to get an idea of what your monthly benefit might be. You can access the calculator two ways:

  1. Log in to myCalPERS to estimate your retirement benefits using the latest data reported by your employer.
  2. Use our online calculator by inputting information from your Annual Member Statement (no login is required).

The Retirement Estimate Calculator is intended to provide only an estimate of your future retirement benefits. Your actual retirement benefit will be determined when you formally apply for retirement based on the California Public Employees' Retirement Law and federal tax law. Make an appointment with CalPERS to learn more.

Steps to Apply

You can apply for service retirement online, in person, or by mail.

To file electronically, log in to myCalPERS. Go to the Retirement tab, select Apply for Retirement, and follow the steps for submitting your application and required documents online to CalPERS.

There are a number of benefits to filing for retirement electronically:

  • Easily and securely submit your application at your convenience, 24 hours a day.
  • Leave the online application and return at any point to complete it.
  • Prior to submission, review and edit your information.
  • Receive confirmation that your application has been successfully submitted.
  • Submit additional required documents online.
  • Use the Electronic Signature to eliminate the notary requirement for the member signature.

For step-by-step instructions on filling out a paper service retirement application, review the Service Retirement Election Application or take the instructor-led or online Member Education class, Completing Your Retirement Application. If you need additional assistance, you may contact the City of Eureka Personnel Office at 707-441-4124 or make a one-on-one appointment at a CalPERS Regional Office. Submit your completed retirement application and required documents in person at a CalPERS Regional Office or by mail.

Be sure to keep a copy of all the documents submitted for your own record. If you have questions regarding your retirement application, call CalPERS at 888-CalPERS (or 888-225-7377).

After You Submit Your Application

CalPERS will send you an acknowledgment letter after they receive your retirement application. CalPERS may also contact you if they have questions or need additional information.

Approximately two weeks before your first retirement warrant, CalPERS will mail you a First Payment Acknowledgment Letter that provides important information about your service retirement, including the date and amount of your first retirement check.

You may sign up to receive your retirement checks through direct deposit at the same time you submit your retirement application. To set up direct deposit online, log in to myCalPERS. Go to the Retirement tab and select Payment Options. Alternatively, you can complete and mail the Direct Deposit Authorization to:

CalPERS Benefit Services Division
P.O. Box 942716
Sacramento, California 94229-2716

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