Retirement Benefits

Retirement Application Tips for Soon-To-Be Retirees

We met with our retirement application processing team and uncovered key tips to follow that’ll ensure your application submission goes smoothly.

To ensure fewer errors, submit your application online.

Not only will submitting your application online via myCalPERS help in cutting down our paper usage, it’ll also mean an easier experience overall. For example, while you may overlook checking a box on a paper application, if you leave a box unchecked online, you can’t advance to the next screen.

When submitting your application online, don’t forget to…

  • Send us the Spousal/Domestic Partner Notification form. While 99% of your application can be submitted online, this is the one form that we do need you to send in. It can be found and downloaded in myCalPERS. Your spouse’s or partner’s notarized signature is required before we can process your application.
  • Double check your notary’s work. When sitting down with your notary make sure they fill out all boxes, especially the “Personally Appeared” section, which requires them to list you and your spouse’s or domestic partner’s names.
  • Review your beneficiary priority. If you’re designating more than one beneficiary, be sure to specify each beneficiary as “primary” or “secondary.” This ensures your contributions will be paid out accordingly.
  • Review your beneficiary percentages. When selecting an option that pays two or more beneficiaries, always confirm your math equals 100% before hitting that submit button.

When submitting a paper application, don’t forget to…

While there are benefits to submitting your retirement application online, we understand that not everyone is equipped to do so.

If you need to submit a paper application (PDF), here are some items to look out for:

  • Provide a valid retirement date. While many members put down the date that equals their last day earning service or paying contributions, this isn’t correct. The retirement date you choose can’t be earlier than your last day on pay status. For example, if the last day of your pay status is June 30, 2023, the soonest retirement date would be July 1, 2023.
  • Include all the necessary signatures. Before mailing your application, make sure you sign it! Additionally, if you have a spouse or domestic partner, their signature is needed too, along with a notary. As previously mentioned, always check your notary’s work.
  • Provide your marriage date and marriage certificate, if applicable. Hopefully you have your marriage date memorized, but your marriage certificate might be harder to track down. Allow yourself plenty of time to locate it and make a copy for your application submission.
  • Designate your beneficiaries and provide their birthday. This seems like a simple task, but this item is frequently overlooked on the paper retirement application.
  • Double check your beneficiary percentages. Like the online application, you’ll need to make sure that if you have multiple beneficiaries, the percentages total 100%.
  • Make sure all sections are complete. One of the last steps before sending in your application should be reviewing it one more time. Two sections that members overlook are the Survivor Continuance section and the Tax Withholding section.
  • Include a voided check. If choosing direct deposit as your payment method, a voided check attached to your application is crucial.

Need assistance with your application?

Book an appointment with a CalPERS team member. This service gives you the opportunity to ask specific questions on your application and receive immediate answers and feedback.