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What to do when you’re

Preparing for retirement

Congratulations! Retirement is a big step, so the earlier you start to plan, the better. If you prepare well ahead of time, it will take you about three to four months to apply for and elect your retirement. 

If you’re a member of UCRP, follow the steps below to initiate and process your retirement electronically through UC Retirement At Your Service (UCRAYS). You’ll find links to helpful guides, forms and contacts in the blue resource blocks. 

To learn more about how to register, log in and use UCRAYS, visit Frequently Asked Questions about UCRAYSContact the UC Retirement Administration Service Center (RASC) or your local Benefits Office if you are unable to proceed through the retirement process online.

Be prepared!

First, learn more about what your benefits and income will look like in retirement:

Next, attend a retirement planning webinar or watch a webinar recording:

A few other helpful planning resources are:

Decide your retirement date and notify your department

Academic and staff employees should notify their department manager about their decision to retire at least three months before the retirement date.

If you accrue vacation and want to use it before retiring, you need to get department approval first.

Look into all of your sources of retirement income

Talk to Fidelity about your options for your 403(b), 457(b) and/or DC Plan accounts, if any.

Check your eligibility for Social Security and Medicare benefits. Visit www.ssa.gov to sign in or create an account and review your online personal Social Security Statement.

Contact past employers and, if appropriate, the military to find out if you qualify for retirement income under their plans. If you have service credit with CalPERS or CalSTRS, read the appropriate fact sheet (at right) to learn more about whether you’re eligible for reciprocity or concurrent retirement. If you’ve belonged to another retirement system, contact them to see if they might also offer enhanced benefits.

Begin the application process

Within 90 days of your retirement date, initiate your retirement by creating your Personal Retirement Profile (PRP) on UCRAYS. After you’ve logged in to your account:

  • Select “Retirement” from the home screen, then “Initiate & Elect UCRP Retirement,” then “Create a New PRP”
  • Follow the prompts to provide the necessary information
  • If you’re eligible for the “no lapse in pay” option, select the appropriate box to opt-in 
  • After you’ve reviewed, select “Create PRP” (or select “Cancel” to begin again)

If your PRP was successfully created, you’ll receive a transaction number and have the option to print the PRP or send it to your UCRAYS account as a secure message.

Your PRP will include your UC retirement details, including your retirement income options, your eligibility for retiree health insurance and the percentage of UC’s contribution to retiree health premiums you’ll receive, if applicable.

Please note: You may receive a message that your PRP requires additional review from the Retirement Administration Service Center. This is not a cause for alarm. The information you provided will be reviewed by a RASC representative, and you’ll receive your PRP via UCRAYS secure message within 5-7 business days.  

If you do not wish to use the online retirement feature in UCRAYS, you may submit a Request for a Retirement Initiation Packet form to the RASC by mail or fax. However, the online retirement process is faster and more efficient.

Please do not submit more than one request – multiple requests may slow down your retirement process.

Elect your retirement

In UCRAYS, select the PRP with your desired retirement date (go to ‘Retirement’ > ‘Initiate & Elect Retirement’ > ‘View PRP/Elect Retirement’). Before you elect your retirement, you’ll need to make a few important decisions. You may also be asked to upload any documentation (such as a spouse/domestic partner’s birth certificate, marriage certificate) that’s required for you.

You can submit your election with an electronic signature or print and sign your election form and submit it to the RASC via fax or mail. Either way, your spouse or domestic partner (if you have one) will need to sign as well.

If you initiated your retirement by mail or fax, you’ll receive a PRP by mail with an election worksheet for you to complete. You can either complete your retirement through your UCRAYS account or return the worksheet to the RASC through UCRAYS (using ‘Upload Documentation’) or by mail or fax. After your Election Worksheet has been processed, you’ll receive your election form to sign and return with any required documents.

Either way, you’ll receive a Medicare packet separately if you’re eligible for Medicare.

Deadline for July 1 retirements: To qualify for “no lapse in pay,” your signed election form and all required documentation must have been submitted by May 13, 2024, and you must meet eligibility requirements.

Once again, submitting more than one election form may delay your retirement process.

Finalize your retirement election

RASC will review your signed election form and supporting documentation and will reach out to you if additional documentation is needed.

Once you have successfully submitted all required documentation, RASC will finalize the calculation of your benefit, prepare your retirement confirmation letter and send it to you via UCRAYS secure message. (Your confirmation letter will be sent via U.S. Mail if you do not have an active UCRAYS account). This process typically takes from 45-60 days from the date RASC receives all required documentation.

You can check the status of your retirement on the Retirement Application Progress tracker on the UCRAYS home page (unless you’ve been approved for “no lapse in pay”). If your retirement process requires special calculations or review, it may take longer than is outlined here.

If you are approved for “no lapse in pay” for your July 1 retirement: You will receive payments beginning in August for your estimated retirement benefit. 

Do you need to change or cancel?

If you want to change or cancel your retirement election, send a signed request as soon as possible to the Retirement Administration Service Center through UCRAYS or by fax at 800-792-5178.

Your election cannot be changed after your retirement date or 15 days from the date of your confirmation letter, whichever is later.

Stay involved.

Just because you’re retiring doesn’t mean you lose your connection to UC. Many opportunities are available for you to stay in touch and stay active. As a retiree, you will receive New Dimensions, a quarterly newsletter with updates about UC, your benefits and your fellow retirees. You can also stay connected to the university and your colleagues through:

  • Emeriti and Retiree Associations: These groups at all UC locations provide opportunities to remain connected to UC, to volunteer, to enjoy the company of fellow retirees and to represent your views to university administration. (UC Merced retirees currently participate in UC Davis associations.)
  • Retirement Centers
  • UC Advocacy Network provides opportunities for retirees to advocate for support of the university in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Be sure to keep your contact information up-to-date so we can send you annual Open Enrollment information and keep you informed about your benefits. You can change your address on UCRAYS, and share your email address with your retirement center for updates on events, programs and news.