FAQs – Police & Fire Employees

Following is a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in The Office of Retirement Services, throughout this document referred as the Department.

Active Employees

Where is The Office of Retirement Services located? What are the business hours, contact email address phone and fax numbers?

The Office of Retirement Services's business hours are Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM. The office is located at 1737 N. First Street, Suite 600, San Jose. We are about two miles north of City Hall at the corner of North First and Metro. If you are taking the light rail, exit at the Metro station. If you are driving, there is ample free parking behind the building. You can call the Department at (408) 794-1000 or if outside the 408 area code you can use (800) 732-6477. The email address is Retirement.Dept@sanjoseca.gov. The fax number is (408) 392-0771 or (408) 392-6732.

How do I apply for retirement?

The Application for Retirement form needs to be completed and returned to The Office of Retirement Services. You can obtain a form by clicking on the "FORMS" icon of this website to download the application, you can stop by the office to pick one up, or by calling us and we will mail you the application. As soon as the Department receives your completed application, a Benefits Analyst will be assigned to you. The Analyst will contact you to schedule a meeting where the two of you will to go over all of your options in retirement and sign all necessary documents.

Where do I get my notice of separation?

When you meet with your Benefit Analyst, the Notice of Separation will be one of the forms that you will have to sign. The completed form will be forwarded to your Department to complete their part of the process.

How do I change my beneficiaries?

If for any reason you want to change your primary and/or secondary beneficiaries, please complete a beneficiary designation form. You can obtain a form by clicking on the "FORMS" icon of this website to download the beneficiary designation form, you can stop by the office to pick one up, or by calling us and request that we send you a beneficiary designation form. It is wise to review your beneficiary forms annually to be sure they are as you want them to be especially if there has been a death, divorce or remarriage.

How much money will I get when I retire?

The pension you are entitled to is based on a formula. The Department can run an estimate that will show your actual years of service (YOS) worked on a given date and your average salary. This is used to calculate the monthly pension benefit. The estimate will also show the options for the continuance of benefits for your eligible spouse. You can get an estimate of your benefit online in the WEB Members Services Section of this website.
The calculation for Fire prior to July 1, 2008 & Police prior to July 2, 2006 is:

  • Up to 20 yrs. of service x 2.5% x Final Compensation
  • 21-25 yrs. of service x 3% x Final Compensation
  • 26-30 yrs. of service x 4% x Final Compensation

The calculation for Police After July 2, 2006 is:

  • Up to 20 yrs. of service x 2.5% x Final Compensation
  • 21-30 yrs. of service x 4% x Final Compensation

The calculation for Fire After July 1, 2008 is:

  • Up to 20 yrs. of service x 2.5% x Final Compensation
  • Beginning of 21st year of service
  • 1 to 30 years of service x 3% x Final Compensation

How do I buy back previous years of employment with the city?

If you worked for the City and withdrew your contributions at the time of separation and then returned to work for the City, you can buy back the previous years of service by establishing a Contract with the City. You have an option to pay it back in lump sum or by paying a specified amount each pay period for a maximum of 78 pay periods.

When I retire, when will I receive my pension check?

If you retire prior to the payroll deadline date within your retirement month, you will receive your first retirement check on the last day of the first month of retirement. If you retire past the payroll deadline date of your retirement month, you will receive your first retirement check on the last day of the following month. You will then receive a pro-rated amount for the month your retired plus the full following month.

When will I receive my annual member statement?

The Member Statements are mailed in February of each year. It is important to check all of the information for correctness and notify The Office of Retirement Services of anything that is needs to be corrected.

What is Web MemberDirect?

As an Active Member:

You can access your Account Summary - such as employee contributions, and employment/benefit years of service, Personal Information, Nominated Beneficiaries, and Estimate a Benefit. You can also retrieve the forms, including Application for Retirement, General Forms, and Name/Address Update.

As a Retired/Recipient Member:

You can see details about your monthly benefit (including insurance deduction and tax withholding), Insurance Information, Tax Withholding, Direct Deposit, Year-to-Date, 1099-R, Demographic, and Nominated Beneficiaries. You can access the general forms, Online Open Enrollment (only available during November 1 - 30), Tax Forms, Insurance Forms, and Address/Name Update.

How do I avoid the possibility of being billed for outstanding active employee insurance premiums?

What is Internal Revenue Code Section 415(b)?