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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 118133
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Do I understand CalPERS correctly? I have 28 years service

Customer Question

Do I understand CalPERS correctly?
I have 28 years service in CA got.
I am 64 years old.
I am eligible to retire.
I would chose the option to have a smaller monthly amount so my wife would continue to receive the same monthly amount if I die.
CalPERS says that if I die before I officially retire, my wife will only get a lump sum of the contributions that I put toward retirement. She would receive no ongoing monthly stipends at all.
Is CalPERS correct?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
CalPERS is absolutely correct, if you do die before you retire, then all your heirs are entitled to would be the contributions you made into the plan. However, if you actually retire and select the spousal/beneficiary benefit option upon retiring and get the lower benefit, then if you die first your spouse/beneficiary would continue to collect your pension benefit. Be wary though, once you make that selection it CANNOT be changed, so if your spouse dies before you, then you cannot change your selection to get the higher benefit. The selection is permanent.