Attorneys Explain How to Calculate CalSTRS Benefits

How Much Will My CalSTRS Teachers Retirement Benefit Be?

CalSTRS – the California State Teachers’ Retirement System – provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits for more than 800,000 dedicated educators and their families. As experienced CalSTRS attorneys, we are frequently asked by our clients to help them understand the benefit amounts for which they are eligible.

CalSTRS retirement benefits fall within the category of a defined benefit pension. Once a teacher has accumulated five years of service credit, they are eligible for a guaranteed lifetime retirement benefit based on a specific formula set by law.

(Note: under some extremely limited circumstances there are exceptions to the 5 year requirement. Call our CalSTRS attorneys to discuss this.)

CalSTRS Benefits Formula:

The CalSTRS formula is fairly simple. However, understanding each of the elements is more complex.

Service Credit x Age Factor x Final Compensation = Retirement Benefit

As one or more of the elements in the retirement benefit calculation formula are increased, the teachers’ retirement benefit will increase.

CalSTRS Benefits Formula Elements:

1. Service Credit in the CalSTRS Pension Benefits Formula

Service credit is the accumulated period of time, in years and partial years, during which you receive creditable compensation and make contributions to the Defined Benefit Program. In addition to credit for actual service, you may receive service credit for creditable compensation for certain employer-approved leaves of absence. Service credit may also be purchased under certain circumstances.

2. Age Factor & CalSTRS Teachers’ Pension Formula

The age factor is the percent of final compensation you are entitled to for each year of service credit. This percentage is determined by the date you were first hired to perform CalSTRS creditable activities and your age on the last day of the month in which your retirement is effective.

3. Final Compensation & CalSTRS Pension Formula

If you are a member under CalSTRS 2% at 60, and you retire with 25 or more years of service credit, CalSTRS uses your highest 12 consecutive months of average earnable compensation as the final compensation component in your retirement calculation.

4. Other Factors Affecting CalSTRS Benefit

Other factors will also affect your benefit amount, such as: your amount of Sick Leave Credit from Unused Sick Leave Days; eligibility for a two-year service credit Retirement Incentive; and, whether you are collecting singly or with a beneficiary.

Our Los Angeles Area CalSTRS Attorneys Can Help

Our attorneys are CalSTRS benefit experts. If you are having difficulty calculating your CalSTRS benefits – or you think you have been wrongly denied your CalSTRS Pension Benefits call us for a FREE Consultation with an experienced CalSTRS attorney.

We have helped hundreds of educators in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim and Southern California get the CalSTRS benefits they deserve. We can help you, too.