Retirement Benefits

Planning for Retirement

An employee considering retirement should begin planning at least 1 year before his or her retirement date. This is especially important in preparing for your CalPERS pension and decisions about healthcare.

There are several key things that each retiree needs to plan for and consider before retirement:

  • CalPERS Retirement
  • Deferred Compensation
  • Retiree Insurance Considerations
  • Retiree Medical Stipends
  • Social Security and Medicare

CalPERS Retirement

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

Three Types of Retirement

Disability retirement
If an 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. Application here.

Industrial disability retirement
If the 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. Application here.

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. See more info and forms below.

Miscellaneous Benefits & Safety Benefits

CalPERS Miscellaneous Benefits
CalPERS Safety Benefits

Service Credit

You earn service credit for each year or partial year you work for a CalPERS-covered employer. It accumulates on a fiscal year basis (July 1 through June 30) and is one of the factors we use to calculate your future retirement benefits.

Service credit for retirement purposes may differ from the service credit used by your employer for accrual of leave time. Refer to your Annual Member Statement for details.

To earn a full year of service credit during a fiscal year, you must work at least:

  • 1,720 hours (hourly pay employees)
  • 215 days (daily pay employees)
  • 10 months full time (monthly pay employees)

How to Purchase Service Credit
CalPERS offers a variety of service credit purchase options. However, there are some limitations on who is eligible. More information can be found in the CalPERS Service Credit Purchase Options brochure. Review this information carefully to see if you might qualify to purchase additional service credit. Then use the Service Credit Cost Estimator to get an idea of the cost to purchase this service.

Employment After Retirement

Working after retirement: For a CalPERS agency, for a non-CalPERS agency or in the private sector.

Special Power of Attorney

A CalPERS special power of attorney allows you to designate a representative or agent, known as your attorney-in-fact, to conduct your retirement affairs.

Should you become unable to act on your own behalf, your designated attorney-in-fact will be able to perform important duties concerning your CalPERS business, such as:
• Address Changes
• Federal or state tax witholding elections
• Retirement benefit elections

The CalPERS special power of attorney is specifically designed for use by active and retired CalPERS members and beneficiaries. You may already have a power of attorney set up through another resource; however, it may not address your CalPERS retirement benefits.


PARS is an Alternative Retirement Systems Plan for Part-Time, Seasonal, and Temporary Employees. PARS is paid in lieu of CalPERS Retirement or Social Security.

Social Security

The City of Petaluma does not contribute to Social Security. When you retire, or if you become disabled, you may receive a pension based on earnings from working for the City of Petaluma.

If you previous worked for an employer who paid into Social Security you may by affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision. Under the Windfall Elimination Provision, your Social Security retirement or disability benefit may be reduced.

Statement Concerning Your Employment In a Job Not Covered by Social Security

More info is at

Retirement Information and Forms

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