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What to do if you're

Preparing for retirement

You’ve had a long, successful career at UC and now you’re thinking of the next phase: retirement. The process is fairly easy, but it’s important to plan ahead. You may want to consult a financial expert to ensure a comfortable worry-free retirement.

You can retire and receive UC benefits any time after you become eligible — that is, when you have separated from UC employment, have at least five years of UC Retirement Plan service credit and reach age 50 or 55, depending on which tier of the pension plan you’re in.

Once you’ve decided to retire, you’ll complete the application process and the election of your benefits. This process takes about three to four months and is outlined below.

The UC Retirement Administration Service Center offers two helpful webinars covering everything you need to know:

  • Preparing for Retirement, for UCRP members who are planning to retire within the next five years, covers topics such as understanding UCRP pension benefits, retirement savings and retiree health coverage. 
  • The UC Retirement Process - Step by Step, for UCRP members who are planning to retire within the next 4-12 months, explains everything you need to know about the retirement process, including required forms, important deadlines and helpful resources.

Important update: The UC Retirement Administration Service Center (RASC) has adjusted operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. RASC representatives are continuing to answer phone calls and serve members, but we apologize if response times are longer than usual.

UCRP members can initiate and process their retirements electronically through UC Retirement At Your Service (UCRAYS) by following the steps below. To learn more about how to register, log in and use UCRAYS, visit Frequently Asked Questions about UCRAYS.

Contact the RASC or your local Benefits Office if you are unable to proceed through the retirement process online.

1

Decide your retirement date and notify your department

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

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

2

Know your retirement benefit options

Read the Retirement Handbook.

Check out the retirement estimator tool on UC Retirement At Your Service (UCRAYS) to see estimates based on your salary and service credit. View your Retirement Review on myUCretirement.com for a comprehensive picture of what your retirement income might be from all sources of income.

Some campuses hold pre-retirement workshops to help you plan for retirement. Check with your Benefits Office or campus Retirement Center (if available) to see what they offer.

Fidelity and UC also offer one-on-one meetings with financial planning and guidance counselors to help you with your retirement planning.

If you want to know whether you're eligible for retiree health benefits, you can read about eligibility and UC's contribution to the premiums here

3

Review your finances so you understand what other income you can depend on in retirement

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. The Social Security Administration provides an online personal statement, which is updated annually. Visit www.ssa.gov to sign in or create an account in order to review your 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, you may be eligible for reciprocity or concurrent retirement. Read the appropriate fact sheet to learn more. Some other retirement systems in California, or elsewhere, might also offer enhanced benefits, such as including your UCRP salary in their calculations, even if UC does not have reciprocity with those systems. Contact your other system for more details.

4

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
  • 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.

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

5

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.

We’re offering a new option for some prospective retirees to consider this year: a guarantee of no lapse in pay. Prospective July 1 retirees who are selecting a monthly retirement benefit without any special circumstances will have the opportunity to opt-in for a guaranteed August 1 payment. You must submit your request to opt-in, along with your signed election and all required documents, by May 14, 2021.

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.

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

6

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.

RASC representatives will do their best to process retirements within 45 days, and to provide a monthly benefit payment on Aug. 1 for retirees who submit all required paperwork by this year’s stated deadlines.

You can check the status of your retirement on the Retirement Application Progress tracker on the UCRAYS home page. If your retirement process requires special calculations or review, it may take longer than is outlined here.

If you’re approved for “no lapse in pay”: If RASC isn’t able to calculate your confirmed benefit amount in time, you will receive payments in August and September for your estimated retirement benefit instead. If adjustments are needed to your benefit payment and/or premium deductions, they’ll be reflected in your October 1 payment.

7

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.

8

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.