Retirement Benefits

Retirement Check FAQs: Your Top Questions Answered


Congratulations! If you’re reading this article you’ve probably retired or are soon-to-be retired, but you may have questions about your retirement checks. Read the list below to find the answers.

1. Once I retire, when will I get my first retirement check?

That depends on your retirement date and when your final documents are received and processed. In most cases, your first check will be issued within 30-45 days of your retirement date or the date your retirement application was received and processed, whichever is later.

2. What date do retirement checks come?

Benefits are paid at the beginning of the month for the previous month’s benefits. For tax reasons, your December retirement check is always dated the first day of the new year. View Retirement Check Pay Days.

If you haven’t received your check by the sixth of each month, or if you believe it was lost or stolen, contact us.

3. When can I enroll in direct deposit?

You can sign up at any time. To enroll online, log in to myCalPERS, go to the Retirement tab, and select Payment Options. To enroll by mail, complete the Direct Deposit Authorization (PDF).

4. My address has changed, so what do I need to do to make sure I get my check?

If you have your monthly benefit payment mailed to your home, notify us of your new address as soon as possible. Use one of the options below to let us know:

  • Change your address online by logging in to myCalPERS.
  • Contact us by phone at 888 CalPERS (or 888-225-7377).
  • Download, complete, and return an Address Change Authorization (PDF) form by mailing or faxing it to the number shown on the form.
  • Send us your new address in writing to:
    Retirement Benefit Services Division
    P.O. Box 942716
    Sacramento, CA 94229-2716

5. What are the deductions I see on my retirement check?

Deductions on your retirement check can vary. Some are automatic, such as those for health benefits, or liens and levies related to Internal Revenue Service or Franchise Tax Board actions. Optional deductions are member-authorized for payments to organizations that have agreements on file with us, such as life insurance premiums or charitable contributions.

If you have a question about any of the deductions you’re seeing on your retirement check, contact us.

6. How can I change my tax withholding?

Because your tax situation can change from year to year, you may want to adjust the federal or California state withholding amounts deducted from your monthly benefit payment.

There are two ways to change your tax withholding:

  • Log in to myCalPERS and select Tax Withholdings from the Home tab.
  • Complete a Tax Withholding Election (PDF) form and mail or fax it to:
    P.O. Box 942715
    Sacramento, CA 94229-2715
    Fax: (800) 959-6545

7. What if I close my bank account and forget to notify CalPERS?

Once you realize this has happened, contact us immediately. If the financial institution has already returned your deposit, we’ll send a replacement check to your mailing address. If the check has not yet been returned, we’ll monitor and mail you a check once the funds are returned.

8. When will I get a cost-of-living adjustment?

Your Cost-of-Living-Adjustment, or COLA, is a benefit to ensure the value of money at retirement keeps up with the rate of inflation. The COLA begins the second calendar year of your retirement and appears on your May 1 retirement check. How Much Will My COLA Be?