by Carlynne Allbee

The San Diego Adjunct Faculty Association (SDAFA), mission is “Adjuncts Helping Adjuncts.” One tool is organizing professional development presentations to provide information that part-timers need to know to make the most of our difficult situations. Such events should be happening on every campus across the state.

A recent ZOOM workshop was “Part-timer Retirement and Other Important Issues”.

For Retirement Plans, everyone should know the following information which is available on their pay

  • Retirement Plan (STRS, APPLE/PEAR or other)
  • Social Security or not
  • Union dues
  • Rate of Pay
  • Accumulated sick pay

Once you know whether you are in STRS Defined Benefits (DB), STRS Cash Balance (CB), APPLE/PEAR, or a FICA alternative plan, go online to get the information about your possible pension benefits. For STRS, go to

Many of us worked in a job covered by Social Security sometime during our lives. Do you qualify for a
Social Security Benefit? Go to SSA.GOV/MyAccount, create an account and look at your SSA employment history. You need 40 quarters to fully vest in SS. Each calculation is different.

There are two problems with SSA:

  1. WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) affects the employee that paid into a retirement plan like CalSTRS.
    • Key: how many years of substantial earnings do you have?
  2. GPO (Government Pension Offset) hurts the spouse that had their own career and paid into a retirement plan like CalSTRS. Your SS benefit may be eliminated. National efforts exist to repeal both the WEP and the GPO. For more information go to:

For more information about retiring under CalSTRS and also Social Security, go to SDAFA.ORG/Retirement-Planning

Past programs topics have included:

  • Pay Equity – What is it? The Peralta PT Equity Plan
  • PT Workload – 67% … or 80%? AB-375
  • Job Security
  • Full-time Faculty Overload Assignments
  • PT Healthcare – Is it in your contract? How many people actually benefit?
  • Universal Health/Single Payer Health Insurance – What is it? Who’s working for it?
  • The Program for Change, The Vancouver Model – What is it? Would it help?

We invite you to watch the recording of this discussion at SDAFA.ORG/Retirement-Planning We encourage your faculty association or union to sponsor such events every semester to help all part-time faculty better navigate the financial maelstrom which is the life of a part-timer!

Carlynne Allbee

Carlynne Allbee has been teaching as an Adjunct since 1982. In fact, in graduate school, she took education classes to complete the Community College Lifetime Teaching Credential in Business and Accounting. Lifelong resident of the San Diego area, she was inspired by the instructors she had at Grossmont College to become a Community College instructor herself, though at the same time, she worked as an accountant in industry for over 30 years so she could afford to be an adjunct.

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