Q: What are the KEY things I can do to make the retirement process easier?
Our KEY advice is that you start this process very early (ideally a year or more in advance) and that you routinely check your STRS service credit online so that any service credit discrepancies can be resolved well before you retire.
Q: How old must I be to retire and continue to receive EMPLOYER contribution to the cost of benefits?
A: You must be at least 55 years of age or 50 years of age with 30 years of service. (Article 17.2.1)
Q: Can I receive a bonus if I notify BUSD early of my decision to retire?
A: Yes. If you notify BUSD of your decision to retire by February 7 you will receive a $1,000 early notification bonus. You should use the BUSD Separation form and you should send the form to Brent Daniels, Director of Personnel using email. We recommend cc’ing BFT on this email.
Q: How can I get information about my STRS retirement income?
A: STRS specialists are available to answer your questions and help you plan for your retirement. Urgent questions can be directed to a telephone counselor at 1-800-228-5453. You can make an appointment with an STRS counselor for help with long term planning by calling the Santa Clara STRS office.
Q: Will I get paid for July and August if I retire in June?
A: If you do not want to work during summer school the best date for you to use to indicate your date of retirement is the last day of school. With this date you will receive your regular checks from BUSD for July and August. If you want to work during summer school you should contact Brent Daniels in the BUSD Human Resources office via email for further information.
Q: What will my medical and dental benefits be after I retire?
A: If you have been a full-time teacher in BUSD for a minimum of 10 years and have been in STRS for a minimum of 15 years, you and one eligible dependent will receive the same EMPLOYER contribution to the cost of coverage as active bargaining unit members until your 65th birthday. If you served BUSD for 30 or more years, you can receive the employer contribution until you are 67. (Article 17.2.2)
In addition, all dependents can stay on CalPERS coverage on a self-pay basis (no employer contribution) during your lifetime.
Q: How do I protect my eligibility for retiree medical benefits?
Under the CalPERS Medical System, you must notify PERS or STRS within 120 days of separating from the district in order to protect your eligibility for benefits.
Q: What will happen with my benefits for July and August?
As soon as you give BUSD a separation form and complete the STRS retirement process your benefits as an ACTIVE employee will terminate on the last day of the month AFTER the month that you separate. So if you list your last day of service as the last day of school, your benefits as an ACTIVE employee will end on July 30th.
CalPERS automatically transfers employees from “active” to “retiree” benefits status upon notification from BUSD. If you wish to make any coverage changes, or have specific questions regarding your coverage, you should contact CalPERS at (888) 225-7377.
Once you switch to retiree status your monthly contribution to benefits will be deducted from your STRS check.
You will receive July and August checks from BUSD, but the Employer deduction for benefits will not be withheld from the August check so that you are not “double charged” for benefits.
Q: What happens after those district benefits expire at age 65 or 67?
A: You can remain covered by the BUSD group coverage on a self-pay basis, and your dependents can remain on coverage on a self-pay basis for yoru lifetime. (Article 17.2.6)
Q: Where can I get MORE information about my benefits and retirement?
A: Please see the “BUSD Retiree Benefits Handbook”.
Q: What happens to my benefits if I move out of California?
A: If you live in an area where BUSD group coverage is not available, with proof of coverage you are entitled to a monthly cash in lieu payment of 80% of the BUSD share of Kaiser single coverage until you are 65. (Article 17.2.5)
Q: What happens to my accrued sick leave when I retire?
A: Your accrued sick leave contributes to your years of service credit under STRS. For more information we recommend contacting a STRS counselor.
Q: Can I reduce my work hours in the years before I retire?
A: Yes, if you are 55 or over and have worked at least 10 years, you can reduce your workload and receive benefits and STRS credit as if you were working full time. (Article 17.3) For more information about these Reduced Workload leaves please refer to the Reduced Workload FAQ.
Q: Can I work in BUSD after I retire?
A: You may work as a consultant (Article 17.3). You may also become a substitute teacher. As a retired BUSD teacher you will automatically be on the preferred (requestable) bargaining unit sub list. Be sure to consult with an STRS advisor about the timing and amount of income you earn, as it may affect your pension.
Q: Will I still be a member of BFT after I retire?
A: You are invited to join the Berkeley Retired Teachers Association (BRTA), which meets monthly to advocate for the interests of retired teachers.