UC Retirement Choice Program

For rehired, newly eligible and former CalPERS-covered faculty and staff

When it comes to choosing your primary (required) retirement benefits, you have two options — Pension Choice or Savings Choice.

Both options are designed to provide retirement income in addition to Social Security benefits and any retirement savings you may have.


If you worked for UC before July 1, 2016, or you are a CalPERS “Classic Member,” some provisions of the UC Retirement Choice Program may not apply to you and your retirement benefits choices will be a bit different. You are eligible for the choice of primary retirement benefits described below if you:

  • Are a prior active member of UCRP who was rehired on or after July 1, 2016 into an eligible faculty or career staff appointment, after a qualified break in UC service (between one and two months);
  • Were hired by UC before July 1, 2016 and became eligible for Retirement Choice benefits on or after that date; or
  • Were hired by UC on or after July 1, 2016 and are classified as a “Classic Member” under CalPERS eligible for reciprocity with UC.

Please note: If your original UCRP entry date was before July 1, 1994, and you are rehired in an eligible appointment, you will automatically become an active member of UCRP and will not be eligible to choose between Pension Choice and Savings Choice.

If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact the UC Retirement Service Center at (800) 888-8267. New UC employees who were classified as a “Classic Member” under CalPERS and are also eligible for reciprocity with UC need to self-identify.

If you’re represented by a union, your retirement benefits are governed by your union’s contract with UC. As a result, your benefits may be different than the benefits outlined here. Please refer to your collective bargaining agreement for details.

Compare the two options

Deciding which option is right for you depends on many factors, including your age, the length of time you expect to work for UC, your personal financial situation, your investing style and risk tolerance, and how much retirement income you expect from other sources (e.g., Social Security). Both options offer a valuable retirement income opportunity, but each works differently. Below is a side-by-side overview comparison:

Pension Choice

UCRP pension benefit

Savings Choice

Stand-alone 401(k)-style

Pension with predictable benefit payments throughout your lifetime in retirement. Includes disability benefits and options for income for eligible survivors.

A stand-alone 401(k)-style account you withdraw money from during retirement. Remaining funds can be left to your beneficiaries. Does not include disability or survivor benefits.

Pension benefit is based on UCRP service credit, highest average 36 months of eligible pay and age at retirement.

Account balance is based on contributions from you and UC, plus investment performance.

You contribute 7% of annual eligible pay, before taxes, up to the IRS maximum ($285,000 in 2020).

For the pension benefit for all employees, UC contributes a percentage of eligible pay, as determined by the UC Regents, up to the IRS maximum.

Understanding your choices: eligible pay and IRS maximum >

You contribute 7% of annual eligible pay, before taxes, up to the IRS maximum ($285,000 in 2020).

UC contributes 8% of eligible annual pay up to the IRS maximum.

Understanding your choices: eligible pay and IRS maximum >

UC invests the money in the UC Retirement Plan.

You invest the money. UC’s tools, resources, and one-on-one guidance help you understand investment choices.

You will “vest” in UCRP (become eligible to receive pension benefits, subject to plan rules) once you have earned five years of UCRP service credit. You begin to earn service credit for your time worked when you start making contributions.

Your contributions to your account will vest immediately. UC’s contributions will vest after one year. Distributions are governed by plan rules.

Enrollment in Pension Choice is permanent. Employees who do not make a choice within the 90-day period will be automatically enrolled in Pension Choice.

Understanding your choices: Switching from Savings Choice to Pension Choice >

Subject to IRS approval, UC may offer employees who initially choose Savings Choice a one-time future opportunity to switch to Pension Choice.

Understanding your choices: Switching from Savings Choice to Pension Choice >

Consider Pension Choice if you:

  • Expect to work for UC for most of your career.
  • Want predictable retirement income payments.

Consider Savings Choice if you:

  • Want a portable retirement benefit you can roll over into an IRA or another employer’s retirement plan if you leave UC.
  • Are comfortable choosing and managing your investments.
See A Complete Guide to Your UC Retirement Benefits for full details.

Making your choice

Remember, you have 90 days from your retirement option eligibility date to choose a primary retirement benefit — either Pension Choice or Savings Choice. If you don’t choose a primary retirement option, you automatically will be enrolled in Pension Choice at the end of the 90-day period.

Once you’ve decided which option is best for you, making your choice is fast and easy.

  1. Make your choice online at myUCretirement.com/choose You’ll get a quick refresher on the options and how they compare.
  2. Register and log in when prompted. Then select the option you’ve decided works best for you.
  3. You’ll receive a confirmation statement reflecting your choice.
  4. Your contributions will begin to be deducted from your paycheck following your choice (usually within one to two pay periods).

Need help deciding?