The Judges' Retirement System provides retirement benefit funding for judges on California's Supreme, Appellate, and Superior/Municipal courts.
The Judges' Retirement System provides retirement, disability, and death benefits based on age, years of service, compensation of active judges, and eligibility, as determined by specific sections of the Judges' Retirement Law. Active judges and the state each contribute 8 percent of salary to the Judges' Retirement System. Additional contributions come from filing fees for specific civil cases and investment income. These contributions, however, are not sufficient to fully fund benefit payments. Consequently, current law requires the state to fund the difference between existing contribution sources and the required benefit payments to retired judges.
A second retirement system for judges was established in 1994. All new judges elected or appointed on or after November 9, 1994 become members of Judges' Retirement System II. The Judges' Retirement System II receives contributions from judges equal to 8 percent of salary as well as any investment income. The state's contributions are adjusted annually to maintain actuarial soundness of the fund. Judges' Retirement System II members eligible for a service retirement have the option of choosing the monetary credit plan (a lump-sum return of contributions and interest earned) or the defined benefit plan.
Effective January 1, 2013, provisions of the California Public Employee's Pension Reform Act of 2013, Chapter 296, Statutes of 2012 (AB 340), require that new judges contribute 50 percent of the normal cost of their pension benefits.