Many educators do not realize that they are not contributing to Social Security while they are a California public school educator. This means that you will not receive Social Security benefits for the time you are working as a California educator. Instead, you are contributing into CalSTRS.

CalSTRS and Social Security

If you participate in the CalSTRS system, you don’t pay into the Social Security system. Instead, you contribute a percentage of your earnings into CalSTRS. CalSTRS is a defined benefit plan that provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits for California public school educators.

You may still qualify for Social Security benefits based on other employment–or as a spouse, widow, or widower of someone who does. 

CalPERS and Social Security

If you participate in the CalPERS system, you pay Social Security taxes (currently 6.2% of salary) and generally are eligible for Social Security benefits at retirement.

For both CalSTRS and CalPERS

Whether you receive a full Social Security benefit or a reduced benefit under the Windfall Elimination Provision or the Government Pension Offset, it will not affect or reduce your earned CalSTRS retirement benefit.

The Windfall Elimination Provision affects Social Security benefits. For more information on this provision, you can visit: https://www.calstrs.com/post/windfall-elimination-provision

The Government Pension Offset affects your spousal, widow, or widower Social Security benefits. For more information, visit: https://www.calstrs.com/post/government-pension-offset