STRS Refunds and Redeposits
Any STRS member who terminates employment with the public school system may apply for a refund of retirement contributions.
While you are an active contributing member of STRS and you meet the necessary requirements, you are eligible for substantial benefit coverage, i.e., you are covered by disability and death benefits. When you become an inactive member, not making contributions, you may no longer be eligible for the active member benefits. You may be interested in withdrawing the contributions from your retirement account.
The rate of interest paid on member accounts is compounded annually, and set from time-to-time by the Teachers' Retirement Board.
- If you have less than five years credited service with STRS, you may:
- Leave your contributions on deposit. Your account will continue to accrue interest at the rate credited to active member accounts.
- Withdraw your contributions.
- If you have five years or more credited service with STRS, you may:
- Leave your contributions on deposit. They will continue to accrue interest. At age 55 you become eligible for a retirement allowance from this System even if you never return to active membership.
- Withdraw your contributions.
Conditions for Refund
- You must file a termination of employment notice with your employer or superintendent of schools. (Part-time employees working less than 60 hours per month may elect out of STRS membership without terminating employment.)
- You must file an acceptable refund application form with STRS (forms are available at your district office, county superintendent's office or STRS.)
- Partial refunds are not allowed.
- Borrowing on your contributions is not allowed.
Your refund application will be processed in two phases. The initial check for the contributions and interest posted to your account as of the date of refund will be mailed within three weeks of receipt of an acceptable refund application by STRS in Sacramento. Four months later a second check will be mailed containing any additional contributions that may have been reported by the district and posted to your account subsequent to the initial refund.
- All contributions made by you after July 1, 1935 plus credited interest. This includes contributions to the Annuity Deposit Fund/Tax Sheltered Annuity Fund. An administrative fee of $25 or 4% of your refund on the regular retirement contributions and interest, whichever is less, is withheld to cover processing costs.
- If you have Tax Sheltered Annuity contributions on deposit with "STRS-TSA," those contributions will be refunded by separate warrant. Any refund of contributions made to the New Tax Sheltered Annuity program effective January 1, 1980 will be based on the unit value of the fund for the month immediately preceding the receipt of refund application.
Income Tax Liability
Contributions to your normal account and the Annuity Deposit Fund are not taxable, however, all interest credited to your account plus contributions and interest to the Tax Sheltered Annuity Fund in existence prior to January 1, 1980 are taxable. All tax sheltered contributions to the new "STRS-TSA" program are taxable. For further information, consult your tax accountant.
A STRS member on a leave of absence from the district is still considered employed by the district and is therefore not eligible for a refund of contributions.
Once your refund application is processed you are no longer eligible for any benefits from STRS.
Any money contributed by your employer, the state, county or city is not refundable and remains in the Teachers' Retirement Fund.
If you take a refund of your retirement contributions, and later return to teaching or become eligible for retirement with another public system (See Eligibility, #2 below), you can elect to redeposit with STRS past refunds of your retirement contributions plus regular interest. Redepositing allows you to reinstate the credited service represented by your contributions.
You can elect to redeposit:
- When you return to teaching service in a position requiring membership in STRS. However, you must accrue one year of service credit before you are eligible for any benefits from STRS.
- If you are receiving or will qualify for a retirement allowance from the Public Employees' Retirement System, University of California Retirement System, the Legislators' Retirement System, or the San Francisco City and County Employees' Retirement System.
- If you return to teaching and later retire under this System, one of the factors that determines the amount of your retirement allowance is years of credited service. Redepositing allows you to buy back service which will increase the amount of your allowance at retirement.
- If you will qualify for retirement under another public system, you can retire concurrently with STRS. Reinstating service with STRS would make you eligible for two allowances when you retire, one from each system.
Repayment must be completed prior to the date of your retirement or payment of a disability allowance. You may choose to make payment either:
- In one lump sum, or
- In up to 60 monthly installments of not less than $25 per month. Repayment must include all contributions plus interest received at time of refund plus regular interest for the intervening time from the date of your refund to the time you complete redeposit payments.
- Please Note: The regular interest rate is changed from time-to-time by the Teachers' Retirement Board. When you redeposit you are responsible for the regular interest as charged, from the date of your refund to the time redeposit payment is completed. When any installment payment becomes overdue by 120 days, STRS will cancel your election to redeposit and any redeposit payments made to this date will be refunded. You will not be credited with the service credit represented by redeposit payments until you have made full repayment.
- Refund forms are available from the county superintendent, your district office, or STRS.
- Redeposit information is available from STRS only. Write or phone for the appropriate forms.
State Teachers' Retirement System
P.O. Box 15275
Sacramento, CA 95851-0275
Telephone: (800) 228-5453 (TTY) (916) 229-3541
If a request to STRS is in writing, please include your full name (previous names, if any) birth date, social security number, and current address.
- State Teachers' Retirement System
P.O. Box 15275
Sacramento, CA 95851-0275
- The summarized data in this bulletin pertain to the Teachers' Retirement Law and are meant to be used as a guide only. If any conflict arises between the information provided in this bulletin and the law, the law takes precedence. There are additional guide bulletins containing further information on what is available to you through STRS.
- The following bulletins are available from STRS:
- Service Retirement
- Pre-retirement Option Election
- Disability Allowance
- Death Benefit/Family Allowance
- Additional Service Credit
- Birth date Verification
- Eligible Child/Full-time Student
- Refunds and Redeposits
- Tax Sheltered Annuity
- ALWAYS INCLUDE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER AND PREVIOUS NAMES, IF ANY, WHEN CORRESPONDING WITH STRS.