CalPERS offers a defined benefit plan where retirement benefits are based on a formula, rather than contributions and earnings to a savings plan. Retirement benefits are calculated based on a member's years of service credit, age at retirement, and final compensation (average salary for a defined period of employment).

Retirement formulas vary based on:

  • Classification (e.g., miscellaneous, safety, industrial, or peace officer/firefighter)
  • Membership category (e.g., state, school, or public agency employer)
  • Specific provisions in the contract between your agency and CalPERS

The three basic types of retirement are:

  • Disability retirement for employees who can no longer perform the usual duties of their current position due to illness or injury
  • Industrial disability retirement for safety members, or members whose agency contracts for this benefit, who are unable to perform the usual duties of their current position due to a job-related illness or injury
  • Service retirement or "normal" retirement

Learn about our Employer Contributions.

Service Retirement

Service retirement is a lifetime benefit. In most cases, the employee can retire as early as age 50 with five years of service credit. If the employee became a member on or after January 1, 2013, they must be at least 52 years old to retire.

All state agencies, including California State University and school employers, are treated as a single employer under the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act (PEPRA).

Public agencies are required to contribute a percentage of the total member payroll as determined by an actuarial valuation. If the new contract requires a local system transfer, your agency must pay a one-time administrative fee of $2,100.

Your agency must meet the definition of a "public agency" as defined in the California Public Employees' Retirement Law (Sections 20056-20057). To receive information, call the CalPERS Customer Contact Center at 888 CalPERS (or 888-225-7377).

Visit Service & Disability Retirement for more information.

Disability & Industrial Disability Retirement

If your employee has an injury or illness that prevents them from performing their job duties, they may be eligible for disability retirement. The cause of disability doesn't need to be related to their employment.

If their disability is the result of a job-related illness or injury, and they are a local or state safety member, state peace officer/firefighter, state industrial member, state patrol member, or local miscellaneous member whose employer contracts for this benefit, they may be entitled to an industrial disability retirement.

They should apply for their retirement as soon as they believe they are unable to perform their job due to a disability expected to be permanent or last longer than twelve months. An employer may also file a disability retirement application on behalf of their employee by completing and submitting the Employer-Originated Disability Retirement Application (PDF) form. To understand employer responsibilities, see Policies & Procedures.

If you suspect fraud, call the Disability Fraud Tip Line.