Myths vs. Facts
Myth: Public pension benefits are excessive and a drain on the public.
March 15, 2010
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The average CalPERS pension is about $25,000 per year. Half of CalPERS retirees receive $18,000 per year or less in benefits. Unlike the private sector, 40% of CalPERS retirees do not receive Social Security, making their CalPERS pension their sole source of pension income, other than savings.
View Charts of CalPERS Retiree Annual Pensions
Seventy-four percent of CalPERS retirees receive $36,000 per year or less. School pensioners in the CalPERS program receive on average $1,192.00 a month.
About 2 percent of the nearly half million CalPERS retirees receive annual pensions of $100,000 or more. Many are retired non-unionized or specialized skilled employees or other high wage earners who worked 30 years or more. Many served in high-level management positions. View information about the Monthly Benefit Amount by number for all service retirees through June 30, 2010.
CalPERS pensioners help stimulate the economy. A study found that pension income to 674,000 CalPERS and CalSTRS retirees generated an economic impact of $21.1 billion to the State’s cities and counties. The economic footprint of retiree spending rivaled that of the hotel and accommodations industry of the State in 2006. In all, California public retirees put back $2 into the economy for every $1 they receive in pensions.