Commentary

CalPERS Pension vs. Social Security Benefit

Is a California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) pension as modest as its supporters suggest? The answer is no, according to Robert Fellner at the California Policy Center. In this article, Fellner compares CalPERS pension benefits with Social Security benefits, based on different final salary levels rather than looking at only the average benefits. He finds that, given the same level of final salary, CalPERS benefits are up to five times greater than the Social Security payouts.

Specifically, CalPERS retirees with a pensionable compensation of $117,000 or more received an average pension of $126,833 in 2013. Meanwhile, a comparable private sector retiree only receives $26,292 in the annual Social Security benefit. Though the gap is reduced with a lower final salary, CalPERS benefits are almost always significantly higher than Social Security payouts at comparable salary ranges.

To read the full article, go here.

Truong Bui is a managing director of the Pension Integrity Project and senior policy analyst at Reason Foundation.