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Retiring from the CSU

Congratulations on your decision to retire and thank you for your years of service! We hope that you will find the following information helpful.

Employees are eligible to retire and receive a pension when they have 5 years of CalPERS-credited service and when they reach minimum retirement age of 50, or for those hired after 1/1/13, age 52.

You will be separating from the CSU and retiring from CalPERS. As a separating employee, you will need to go through the separation process. For more information about the separation process and your responsibilities, go to the Separating Employee Responsibility webpage or contact Employment Services at 530-898-4664.

You may wish to review the Retirement Planning Checklist. Individual appointments may be made with a CalPERS retirement specialist at the Sacramento Regional Office by calling 888-225-7377. Although an appointment may be made, it is not required. Several times throughout the year a CalPERS retirement specialist visits the Chico campus. To inquire about the schedule contact the Benefits Office at 530-898-5436.

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Retirement Timeline Process
Selecting a Retirement Date

The earliest possible retirement date is the day following an employee’s last day on pay status. Retirement may be effective any day of the week; if an employee separates on Friday, retirement may be effective on Saturday.

If an academic year employee receives their paychecks spread out over twelve months and retires immediately following the end of the academic year (6/1), instead of when their paychecks normally run out (9/1), they will start collecting their retirement pay earlier and will receive the pay earned during the academic year as a settlement check sometime in June.

Academic employees should determine which date is more advantageous, 6/1 or 9/1. For some, it might be better to remain on payroll through the summer months due to a various factors such as additional service credit or attaining a birthday quarter. Other employees will benefit more from collecting retirement pay during the summer.

If an employee is planning to retire at the end of the year or at the beginning of the next year, they should consider the cost of living (COLA) adjustment. The COLA is applied to the retirement allowance on May 1 of the second calendar year following retirement. For example:

If your retirement date is...Then you become eligible for COLA on…
December 31, 2017 May 1, 2019
January 1, 2018 May 1, 2020
Sick Leave Balance

Any unused sick leave is converted to additional service credit if the employee retires within 120 days of separation. Eight hours of sick leave equals one day (.004 of a year of service). It takes 250 days of sick leave to receive one year of service credit. For example: An employee with 180 days of sick leave would have .72 years of service credit (.004 x 180).

Your initial pension checks will not include the sick leave calculation. It may take CalPERS up to 90 days to process and for the adjustment to be included on your pension check.

Health Benefits in Retirement

CSU post-retirement medical and dental benefits are available to employees (and their eligible dependents) who retire within 120 days of separation from employment. If you retire less than 30 days after your separation, your medical coverage will continue automatically. Contact the Benefits Office if retiring between 30 and 120 days of separation.

You will be eligible for a CalPERS-administered health plan as a retiree if you meet all the following criteria:

  • You are eligible for health coverage upon separation of employment.
  • You retire from an employer (and bargaining group, if applicable) that contracts for health benefits through CalPERS.
  • You receive a monthly CalPERS retirement allowance.
  • You retire within 120 days of the date of your separation from employment.

The cost of medical coverage will depend on several factors. If you are under the age of 65, you will continue on the same plan that you had as an active employee and you will pay the same premium. If you are over 65 or your spouse is over 65, you will work with the Social Security Administration for enrollment in Medicare and with CalPERS to enroll in a Medicare supplement plan.

PLEASE NOTE: Faculty (Unit 3) employees hired by the CSU and who become members of CalPERS on or after July 1, 2017, must have 10 years of service credit with CalPERS to be eligible to enroll in CalPERS Retiree Medical Benefits and CSU Retiree Dental Benefits.  Also, a new retiree health and dental 10-year vesting period will go into effect for employees hired by the CSU and who become new CalPERS members on or after July 1, 2018.

If you are enrolled in the Enhanced DeltaCare HMO or Delta Dental plans, your coverage as a retiree will change to the Basic level. Currently the CSU pays the full cost of the Basic level dental coverage for eligible retirees and their eligible dependents.

Retirees may enroll in the CSU Retiree Voluntary Vision Plan within 60 days of retirement. The monthly premium is fully paid by the retiree and is deducted from their warrant issued by CalPERS.  You may also choose to enroll in the VSP Premier plan, which allows for additional benefits, however the premium costs are slightly higher than the VSP Basic plan.  To compare the two plans, please review the VSP Summary Plans for retirees.

Information on the changes to your dental plan and enrolling in the vision plan will be sent to you by the Benefits Office shortly after your retirement date.

Vacation Balance

When you leave employment, you have the option to request tax deferral of your lump sum vacation payout to your current 401(k), 457 or 403(b) account(s). You are eligible to transfer up to the maximum contribution limit to each account, minus the amount you have already contributed for the plan.

If your separation date is on or after November 1, you have the option to make the transfer for the current and following tax year, up to the maximum annual contribution limits.

Individuals considering this option should contact the Payroll Manager, Alison Christensen at prior to separation. Generally, this option must be exercised at least 30 days prior to separation from the University.

Social Security and Medicare

CalPERS is coordinated with Social Security which means that you are eligible for benefits from the retirement system as well as Social Security benefits (with the exception of Unit 8 employees who contribute under the 1959 Survivor Benefit Program). The Medicare tax is mandatory.

Because of the coordination of CalPERS and Social Security, your final compensation rate will be reduced by $133.33 to compensate for the fact that contributions are not made on the full amount of earnings. This is a one-time adjustment used in your retirement calculation, it is NOT a monthly reduction to your retirement allowance.

More information can be found at Social Security & Medicare web page.

Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP)

Faculty members who are interested in the FERP program should review the Office of Academic Personnel FERP Fact Sheet and complete the Notification of Intent to FERP.

Service retirement must begin concurrently with, or prior to, the beginning of the campus academic year in which FERP participation will begin. The faculty member must initiate the service retirement process no more than 90 days before retirement date.

Additional information can be found at Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) web page.

Address Update

Visit the Human Resources Service Center, Kendall Hall 220 to ensure your address is up-to-date. Health insurance documents as well as your annual W-2 statement will be sent to the address on record. If you have any questions, the Service Center can be reached at 530-898-6771.

Retirement Perks

Depending upon your status, as a retiree of CSU, Chico you may be eligible for some campus services that are provided to our active employees. The Benefits Office does not administer these services and they are subject to change at any time. Please visit the links below for additional informtion.

Wildcat Card
(For use at the Wildcat Store sporting events and CSU Chico library; the same as active employees.)
B-Line Butte Regional Transit
(Free or disounced rides, the same as active employees.)
(CSU, Chico parking permit provided to retiree.)
Retired Staff X X
Retired Faculty X X
Emeritus Faculty X X X
Retirement FAQs
  1. Who is eligible to retire?
    Employees with five years of CalPERS service at age 50 (or 52 if hired after January 1, 2013).
  2. How do I select a retirement date?
    The selection of your retirement date is one of the most important decisions to make when planning your retirement. There are several factors you should consider:
    1. Based on full-time employment, you earn a full year of service credit when you have worked for 10 months during a fiscal year.
    2. For most CSU retirees, the calculation of the age factor for your retirement benefit increases each quarter year from your birthday at age 50, up to age 63, then remains constant.
    3. Your average salary is computed on the basis of your 12 months of earned salary. The amount will be reduced by a Social Security factor, final compensation minus $133.33.
    4. For those who are PEPRA members (hired after 1/1/2013), the information in b. and c. above will be differ. Contact the Benefits Office or visit PEPRA web site with questions.
    5. Do you want to retire mid-semester, at the end of the academic year, the end of the calendar or fiscal year, at the end of a pay period, or on your birthday? Whether you are staff or instructional faculty may have a bearing on your decision.
    6. This decision is a personal one, each date will result in varying estimate calculations. To create a retirement estimate, consider using the Retirement Estimate Calculator.
  3. What mandatory deductions will I pay after retirement?
    You will continue to pay federal and state taxes. Social Security and Medicare taxes and your contributions to CalPERS will end at retirement. You may wish to visit CalPERS Taxes for retirees for taxation information as a retiree.
  4. Are all CSU retirees eligible for retirement health benefits?
    No. You must retire within 120 days of your separation from employment; must have been eligible for enrollment in a CalPERS medical plan on your date of separation; and must receive a retirement allowance from CalPERS.
  5. Are there any health benefit vesting requirements for CSU retirees who meet all of the above eligibility rules?
    Yes.  For employees hired on or before 7/1/17, you only need to meet retirement benefit vesting requirement of 5 years.  If you were hired on or after 7/1/17, please contact Benefits Office for vesting information at 530-898-5436.
  6. What benefits can continue into retirement?
    Medical, dental and vision coverage can continue into retirement for eligible employees and their dependents. CSU-paid life insurance does not continue. Contact The Standard at 800-378-5745 to convert to a voluntary life insurance plan.
  7. What will be the monthly out-of-pocket cost for benefits?
    The cost of your medical plan will depend on which plan and level of coverage you choose. Generally, retirees pay the same monthly premium as active employees until you and/or your dependents become eligible for Medicare. There is no cost to you for the Basic dental plan. You may wish to enroll in a retiree vision plan for a nominal monthly premium.
  8. Will I have the same coverage as a retiree that I had when I was an active employee?
    You and your dependents will remain on the same medical plan. Your dental plan will change to a Basic plan and you will no longer be covered under the active employee vision plan. If your retirement date is the 1st through the 10th of the month, your active employee benefits end at the end of that month. If your retirement date is the 11th through the 31st of the month, your active employee benefits end at the end of the following month.
  9. I am currently enrolled in a CalPERS medical plan. What do I do to obtain retiree medical coverage?
    If your retirement date is within 30 days of your separation date you will not need to do anything, the Benefits Office will ensure that your coverage continues. If your retirement date is more than 30 days and less than 120 days, contact the Benefits Office to continue medical coverage.
  10. What do I do when I (or a dependent) become eligible for Medicare?
    You and your dependents must certify your Medicare status with CalPERS when you each become eligible for Medicare. At that time, you will need to choose a Medicare supplement plan. Contact CalPERS at 888-225-7377 to change your plan.
  11. I am currently enrolled in a dental plan. What do I do to obtain retiree dental coverage?
    If your retirement date is within 30 days of your separation date you will not need to do anything, the Benefits Office will ensure that your coverage continues. If your retirement date is more than 30 days and less than 120 days contact the Benefits Office to continue dental coverage.
  12. How does my dental coverage change?
    Once you retire, your dental coverage will change from the Enhanced level of coverage to the Basic level (does not apply to FERP participants). Shortly after your separation you will receive information regarding the change.
  13. What will the monthly out-of-pocket cost be for retiree dental coverage?
    Currently, the CSU pays the full cost of the Basic dental coverage for eligible retirees and their dependents.
  14. I am currently enrolled in FlexCash. How do I enroll in a retiree plan?
    FlexCash participants may request health coverage within 30 days before or 60 days after retirement. To enroll before your retirement date, contact the Benefits Office. To enroll after your retirement date, contact CalPERS at 888-225-7377. You may also enroll during any subsequent open enrollment period.
  15. Can I change my health plans and add or delete dependents?
    You may change your plans and add or delete dependents during the annual open enrollment period or within 60 days of a qualifying event.
  16. Once retired, who do I contact with benefit-related questions or concerns?
    Contact CalPERS directly at 888-225-7377.

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