Retirement Home

Ready to Retire?

Congratulations! Here’s what you need to know and do to get started on your retirement paperwork.

RETIREMENT STEPS

You can retire as early as age 55. You’ll be considered a PG&E retiree from the first of the month after you terminate PG&E employment, even if you haven’t submitted your pension paperwork.

Your retirement date and pension start date are usually the same:

Retirement date Pension start date

First of the month after you terminate PG&E employment if you’re 55 or older

To qualify for retirement on your last day of employment, you may be:

  • Actively at work
  • On vacation
  • On a leave of absence, including Workers’ Compensation and Long-Term Disability leaves

First of the month when you begin receiving pension payments

Your first pension payment will be made in the second month following your pension start date, and will include your first and second month’s payment.*

EXAMPLE:
May 1: Pension start date
June 1: First pension payment—including the benefit for May and June combined

*Cash balance participants who elect a lump sum will receive their one-time benefit on the first of the month following their retirement date, provided the PG&E Pension Center receives their completed paperwork on time.

To start the retirement process, you'll need to submit your intent to retire to the PG&E Pension Center.

Pension Steps

Retiree Medical Steps

Download Retirement Steps for a timeline and checklist of what you need to do by when.

DIVORCED OR DIVORCING?

Did you divorce while employed by PG&E—or are you in the process of divorcing while employed by PG&E? Your former spouse(s) may have an interest in a portion of your PG&E retirement benefits.

Before you can start your pension—and for each former spouse who may have an interest—you’ll need to provide PG&E the following documentation:

  • A copy of the court-filed judgment of Dissolution or Judgment of Divorce and any Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA)

OR

  • A copy of the court-filed Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which shows how your benefit is divided if your former spouse was awarded a portion of your PG&E retirement benefits

You’ll need to mail this documentation to the PG&E QDRO Administration Center regardless of how old the divorce or how short the marriage:

PG&E QDRO Administration Center
P.O. Box 8992
Norfolk, VA 23501

IMPORTANT:
If you don’t provide the required documentation, your pension benefit could be delayed or suspended without notice, and you could be subject to legal action to recover the benefit that was due to your former spouse(s) but paid to you.

Have more than one former spouse?

Provide PG&E with a copy of the court-filed orders for each divorce.

Don’t have the documents? Not sure what you need?

Contact your divorce attorney or the clerk of the court where your divorce was filed for help locating your records. Many courts also have websites where you can order your records online. You can also call the PG&E QDRO Administration Center at 1-855-757-6635.

Is your divorce still in process?

You have two options:

Is your divorce final—but you don’t have your final, court-filed documentation?

You should still return all of your other correctly completed retirement paperwork postmarked no later than 15 business days before your requested retirement date.

  • You’ll still retire on your requested date.
  • Your pension benefit will be based on that date.
  • Your first pension payment will be delayed in full months until the online PG&E Pension Center receives your final, court-filed documentation.

Your first pension payment will be made on the first of the month at least 30 days after the postmarked date on the envelope containing your final, court-filed documentation. It will include a lump sum without interest for the months missed due to missing divorce documentation.

If you elected PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage, you’ll be responsible for paying your monthly retiree medical premium from personal assets other than your pension for the months missed.

WHAT’S IN YOUR PENSION PACKET?

Your pension packet should contain:

  • Cover letter
  • Instructions on how to enroll and participate in the Complete Your Retirement Paperwork virtual learning course (CORE-9021VL)
  • Document checklist
  • Your Pension Guide booklet
  • Personalized Pension Election and Authorization Form
  • Direct deposit authorization form
  • Federal tax withholding form: W-4P
  • If your address is in California: California tax withholding form—DE 4P
  • Return envelope
  • California Employment Development Department (EDD) pamphlet: California’s Programs for the Unemployed

Are you eligible for a lump sum?

Your packet might contain a Special Tax Notice—IRS 402(f) if you’re eligible for a lump sum:

PAPERWORK CHECKLIST

Here’s what you need to do to complete your pension paperwork. Be sure to keep a copy of everything you submit, and get proof of the date you mailed your forms.

  1. Provide proof of birth dates, marriages and divorces. You’ll need to submit proof of birth dates and identities for you and your joint pensioner, if you have one.
    • Send copies—never originals—of one of these:
      • Valid state-issued driver’s license or identification card
      • Birth certificate
      • Government-issued passport
    • Married? Send a copy of your marriage certificate—regardless of the payment option you choose.
    • Divorced? For each former spouse—you’ll need to provide a copy of the court-filed Judgment of Dissolution or Judgment of Divorce, plus any Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA)—or the court-filed QDRO.
    • Change your name? You’ll need to provide proof of your name change if your name isn’t the same as it appears on your proof of age documentation.
  2. Complete the Pension Election and Authorization Form:
    • Joint pensioner designation: Wrong person listed? Is it blank—and you want a joint pensioner?

      STOP! Call the PG&E Pension Call Center: 1-800-700-0057

    • Retirement date: Have you decided to change your retirement date?

      STOP! Call the PG&E Pension Call Center: 1-800-700-0057

    • Section 1: Make your benefit payment election.
    • Section 2: Sign and notarize your election—all on the same date.
    • Section 3: Spousal consent, if needed—you and your spouse must sign and have the form notarized at the same time.
    • Section 4: Notary attestation—required for you, and maybe for your spouse, too.
  3. Complete the Direct Deposit Authorization Form. Fill this out if you want direct deposit. You can do this after you start receiving your pension, too.
  4. Elect your tax withholding:
    • DE 4P: Complete this form if you’re a resident of California.
    • W-4P: Complete this form to have federal tax withheld.
  5. Make sure your forms are postmarked at least 15 business days before your requested pension start date. Keep a copy of your mailing receipt showing the date.

IMPORTANT:
Your form will be rejected if you have:

  • Cross-outs, whiteouts or other alterations—even if initialed
  • Different dates for signatures and notarizations
  • Missing documentation—proof of age, marriage and divorce
  • Conflicting or wrong information
  • Late postmark—must be postmarked at least 15 business days before your pension start date

Your pension could be delayed.

SECTION 1: PENSION ELECTION AND AUTHORIZATION

Choose your pension payment option in section 1 of your pension form. Your personalized form shows your pension estimate for each payment option.

Elect only one payment option for each pension benefit. If you elect a joint pension, you need to provide your joint pensioner’s name, birth date and Social Security number.

What’s your pension formula?

Most people have one or the other:

  • Final pay formula: Hired before 2013
  • Cash balance formula: Hired 2013 or later—or elected the cash balance pension formula in 2013

You’ll have both formulas if you elected the cash balance formula during the pension choice period in 2013 or if you were rehired in 2013 or later.

Elect one payment option for each pension formula. You can choose the same or different payment options and joint pensioners, and you can start your two pension benefits at the same time or separately.

Did you contribute to the Retirement Plan before 1973?

Section 1 of your personalized form will show your contributions if you made any. If you don’t see contributions on the form, you didn’t make any. You can skip this section.

If you made contributions, you need to decide what to do with them:

Married?

If you elect a refund, your spouse must provide notarized consent in the spousal consent form of the pension election form—regardless of the other options you choose for the contribution refund or joint pension.

Want a refund of your pre-1973 contributions?

Refund election dates are tied to your pension start date—not to your retirement date. If your pension is delayed, your refund will be delayed, too. Here are your choices:

You have three payment options for your refund:

See the PG&E Pension Guide for details about refunds.

Want to delay your pension?

Section 1 of your personalized form asks you if you want to delay your pension. Consider this if you:

  • Have a new job lined up
  • Are retiring early (if you delay your pension, your benefit may increase)

You’re not required to start your pension to receive retiree medical coverage. If you delay your pension, you’ll still be considered a retiree for all your other retirement benefits.

Final pay formula and early retirement reductions

If you have an early retirement reduction, it will decrease for every month that you delay the start of your monthly pension payments—until you qualify for an unreduced pension. The later you start your pension payments, the smaller the reduction for early retirement.

Any reductions in your monthly pension benefit will be based on your years of credited service and your age when your pension payments begin. The final pay formula’s early retirement reduction factors are calculated using bands of service years, as described in the Summary of Benefits Handbooks for Management and A&T employees and for Union-represented employees.

Delaying your cash balance benefit

If you want to delay your cash balance benefit, you can keep it with the PG&E Retirement Plan to continue earning interest until you want to receive payments. Or you can take a lump-sum distribution and roll it into another retirement plan, like an IRA, to avoid potential immediate taxes and IRS early withdrawal penalties.

PAYMENT OPTIONS

The cash balance formula is the only formula that allows you to elect a lump-sum payout. You can be single or married to elect this option. If you’re married, you will need your spouse’s notarized consent.

Both the final pay formula and the cash balance formula allow the following monthly annuities. You can be single or married to elect any of these options. You can find more details about payment options in the Pension section.

Married?

Your spouse will need to provide notarized consent to most options. The only options that don’t require your spouse’s notarized consent are:

  • A regular joint pension of 50% or greater with your spouse
  • A special joint pension of 75% or greater with your spouse

Sample monthly payments

Here are sample monthly payments for a final pay pension formula, showing the different amounts based on payment options. These are examples only.


*Compared to single life pension value

YOUR ELECTIONS ARE IRREVOCABLE

Choose carefully. You have up to 15 business days before your pension start date to change your payment option. After that, your elections become irrevocable unless you cancel your pension start date entirely.

If you have fewer than 15 business days before your pension start date, and you don’t cancel your pension start date entirely, your elections are irrevocable. This means you can’t change the type of benefit you’ll get, the joint pensioner you elect or the percentage of your joint pensioner’s benefit. Your elections are irrevocable and can’t be changed—even if you later marry, divorce or your joint pensioner dies.

SECTION 2: SIGN AND AUTHORIZE YOUR ELECTION

You’ll need to sign the Signatures and Authorization page in the presence of a notary public. Signatures and notarizations must be on the same date.

SECTION 3: SPOUSAL CONSENT

Section 3 is where your spouse may need to sign. Your spouse needs to provide notarized consent if you elect:

  • A single life pension
  • A 25% regular joint pension with your spouse
  • A 25% or 50% special joint pension with your spouse
  • Any joint pension with someone other than your spouse
  • A lump-sum payout

You and your spouse need to sign at the same time in the presence of a notary—and the date you sign your paperwork must be the same as the date your form is notarized.

SECTION 4: NOTARY ATTESTATION

Section 4 of the Pension Election and Authorization Form is where the notary attests that you are who you say you are, and that you and your spouse (if required) are both signing in the presence of the notary at the same time.

Notarization rules

You’ll need to have your form notarized.

  • Your own signature in the presence of a notary is always required.
  • Your spouse’s signature in the presence of a notary is required if you’re married and you elect an option requiring your spouse’s notarized signature. You and your spouse must sign and have the forms notarized at the same time.
  • Make sure the date you sign your paperwork and the date the form is notarized are the same. If the signature and notary dates are different, your form will be returned to you, and you’ll have to start over—possibly delaying the start of your pension.
  • The notary can use his or her own acknowledgment form, if preferred.

ELECTING DIRECT DEPOSIT

Do you want direct deposit for your pension? There should be a direct deposit authorization form in your packet.

Direct deposit stops when you retire, so even if you have it as an employee, you’ll need to elect it for your pension.

Direct deposits will be made on your regular pension pay date—generally, the first of the month. Pay statements will only be available electronically, but you can access copies of your statements at the online PG&E Pension Center.

If you don’t elect direct deposit, your pension checks will be mailed with your pay statements.

Want to make changes after your first pension check? After you get your first pension payment, you can make changes at the online PG&E Pension Center:

After you log in to the Pension Center:

  • Go to the At your fingertips section on the right side of the home page
  • Select Pension payment summary
  • Click the Update button in the Payment method & institution section
  • Select Continue and provide the requested account information
ELECTING YOUR TAX WITHHOLDING

You’ll need to complete federal and state income tax withholding elections for your pension payments. Your pension packet includes a federal form and a California form if you’re a resident of California.

The withholding elections you made as an employee won’t carry over to your pension. There are specific federal and state forms for pension benefits.

If you don’t return your tax forms

If you don’t elect tax withholding now, tax will be withheld at the default rate—married with three exemptions. If your taxes are over- or under-withheld because of this default, you can make a correction when you file taxes for the year.

Want to change your withholding after your first pension check?

After you get your first pension payment, you can change your withholding at the online PG&E Pension Center. After you log in to the Pension Center:

  • Go to the At your fingertips section on the right side of the home page
  • Select Pension payment summary
  • Click the Update button in the Withholding elections section
  • Select Continue and make your elections
WHEN YOUR PAPERWORK IS DUE

Your error-free paperwork must be postmarked at least 15 business days before your requested pension start date.

Keep a dated receipt or other official proof of the date you mailed your return envelope. If your paperwork is complete, you’ll receive a Completed Paperwork Confirmation Letter within two weeks of your paperwork being received.

What if you submit late paperwork or bad information

If your paperwork is late, incorrect or incomplete, a Missing Information Letter will be mailed to you by the fifth business day after the PG&E Pension Center receives your paperwork.

  • Your retirement date will stay the same—it’s not affected by your paperwork.
  • Your pension start date may be delayed—and your pension would be recalculated based on the next available pension start date.
  • You’ll receive a new pension packet to complete—and you’ll need to re-do any notarizations.
  • You won’t be paid retroactively for the months missed.
  • If you elected PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage, you’ll be responsible for paying your monthly premium from personal assets other than your pension for the months missed.

The earliest you could get a pension payment is the next regular pension pay date at least 30 days after the postmark on the envelope containing your correctly completed paperwork.

DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR PAPERWORK

It pays to double-check your forms before you send them in: