Retirement Benefits

Retirement benefits for postdocs vary depending on the postdoc's title code. If you are unsure of your title code, ask your HR administrator. Your title code is also indicated on your paystub.

Postdoc Employees (title code 3252)

Postdoctoral scholar employees contribute to the University of California Defined Contribution Plan (DCP) as “Safe Harbor” participants. This means that while postdoc employees do pay into the DCP, they do not pay into Social Security. The DCP mandatory contribution is approximately 7.5% of salary. By default, funds will be deposited to the UC Savings Fund, but you have the option of redirecting your contributions to other UC or Fidelity Funds. Postdoc employees also have the option to enroll in a 403(b) and/or 457(b) retirement savings plan.

If you are a postdoc employee with assets in a DCP, you have some options when you separate from the University.

  1. Keep your money in the plan. If your balance is at least $2,000, you may elect to leave your money in the plan. You may no longer contribute to the plan after separating from UC; however, you may still change the way your money is invested.
  2. "Roll over" some or all DCP assets to a traditional IRA or to an employer plan that accepts rollovers. Balances greater than $1,000 but less than $2,000 will be rolled over into an IRA in the participant’s name unless the participant provides alternative distribution directions.
  3. Request periodic distributions without having to make a specific request for withdrawals each time.
  4. Cash out. If your balance is less than $1,000, the University will automatically pay the balance to you, unless you request the money to be rolled over to another retirement account. Regardless of the amount, you may cash out all or part of your balance if you wish. Important: Distributions are usually taxed as ordinary income in the year they are issued. Distributions may also be subject to early withdrawal penalties if they are taken before age 59½.

UCSF must have your current address to assure delivery of any distribution. Tell your HR administrator if you are moving. 

To access DCP funds or to enroll in the retirement savings plan, or for more information about the tax treatment and potential penalties of plan distributions, contact Fidelity Retirement Services online or call the toll-free number: 1-866-682-7787. Fidelity representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific Time.

Postdocs in All Other Title Codes

Postdocs appointed under any other postdoc title code (3253, 3254, 3255, 3256) are not eligible for participation in the Defined Contribution Plan nor any other plan through UCSF. These postdocs are advised to consult with a financial adviser about non-employer retirement savings options.