Retirement Benefits

Protect Your Retirement — Designate a CalPERS Special Power of Attorney Now

African American happy family is enjoying in living room

If you become incapacitated, would your loved ones know what CalPERS benefit decisions to make? We offer a CalPERS special power of attorney form (PDF), which allows you to designate a representative to conduct your retirement business if you’re unable to do so.

“We all work hard throughout our careers so that one day we’ll be able to retire and continue receiving a lifetime income — but life is full of surprises, and we have no control over what lies ahead,” said Cristina Pizarro, a CalPERS manager in the Retirement Benefit Services Division. “However, we can ensure that our hard-earned benefits are protected and eventually passed on to our loved ones. This is what designating an attorney-in-fact can do for you.”

The CalPERS special power of attorney is for active and retired CalPERS members and beneficiaries, and allows you to designate a representative or agent (known as your attorney-in-fact) to conduct your retirement affairs.

Your designated attorney-in-fact can perform important duties related to your CalPERS business, should you become unable to act on your own behalf, such as:

  • Address changes
  • Federal or state tax withholding elections
  • Retirement benefit elections

Even if you already have a power of attorney set up through another resource, it may not address your CalPERS retirement benefits. Other power of attorney documents must specifically grant the attorney-in-fact authority to conduct business with CalPERS.

What’s the Worst that Can Happen?

For Active Members: If an active member becomes incapacitated, is eligible to retire but did not authorize an individual to submit a retirement application on their behalf (aka designate a CalPERS special power of attorney), this will delay the processing of the member’s retirement benefit, which will potentially cause financial hardships.

For Retirees: For retirees who have become incapacitated and did not execute a power of attorney, CalPERS may find it necessary to hold the retirement allowance until the court appoints a conservator. This presents financial hardship as well because in most cases, the monthly benefit is being used to pay for elderly care.

5 Steps to Designate Your Special Power of Attorney

  1. Read our special power of attorney publication (PDF) for more detailed information.
  2. Fill out the special power of attorney form (PDF).
  3. Ensure you meet the following requirements before submitting your special power of attorney form:
    • Have either a notary public or two people at least 18 years old, neither of whom is the attorney-in-fact, acknowledge and witness your signature designating your special power of attorney
    • Sign and state an execution date on the CalPERS special power of attorney form. Your signature and execution date acknowledge that you are of sound mind and understand the election being made. Without them, the form may not be accepted
  4. Submit your form in-person at one of our regional offices or by mail to:
    CalPERS Benefit Services Division
    P.O. Box 942716
    Sacramento, CA 94229-2716
  5. Once your power of attorney document has been processed, you will be sent a confirmation letter to the address we have on record. The letter will indicate any limitations, depending on the type of power of attorney you have executed.

Learn more about designating your CalPERS special power of attorney through this video.