Retiring Under the PERS 3 Plan

Retirement Eligibility

PERS Plan 3 is a two-part, hybrid retirement plan that pairs a secure formula-based income (defined benefit) with your own contributions and investment earnings (defined contribution) to provide your retirement income.

Under the defined benefit portion of this plan, your age and length of service determine when you can retire from active WWU service. You are also eligible to retire from WWU and begin a PERS income if you meet the following criteria:

Type of Retirement Retirement Age & Benefit
Normal retirement Age 65 if you have at least:
  • 10 service-credit years,
  • 5 service-credit years provided that at least 12 months were earned after age 44, or
  • 5 service-credit years were earned in PERS Plan 2 before June 2003 and transferred to PERS Plan 3.
Early retirement

Age 62 with at least 30 service-credit years: Unreduced benefit.

Age 55 or older with at least 10 service-credit years: Reduced benefit.
Table 2 on page 3 of the DRS Benefits Estimate Worksheet shows the Early Retirement Factors that apply to early retirement options.

To review all PERS 3 early retirement options and estimate the defined benefit you will receive at retirement, download the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) Benefit Estimate Worksheet

Top of Page

Purchasing Service Credit

If you are eligible, you may purchase additional service credit to increase your monthly retirement benefit. Consider the following:

  • You can only purchase additional service credit when you are qualified for retirement.
  • You cannot purchase additional service credit in order to qualify for retirement. 
  • Purchasing additional service credit increases your monthly retirement benefit for the rest of your life.
  • If you choose a survivor option, the DRS will continue paying the increase to your survivor after your death. 

Review the DRS website for more information about this option:

Top of Page

Prepare to Retire

  1. Contact the Department of Retirement Systems within six (6) months of your projected retirement date to request an estimate of your retirement benefit and the PERS Retirement Income Election forms. Complete and return the forms to DRS.
  2. If you are retiring at age 65 or greater and you wish to enroll in the PEBB Retiree Medical Insurance benefit (Medicare Parts A and B), contact the Social Security Office. We recommend enrolling in this program three (3) months prior to your retirement date.
  3. Notify your supervisor, department chairman, or dean of your projected last day of work.
  4. Within 30 to 60 days of your retirement date, complete and return the WWU Retirement Application and the VEBA Enrollment Form—both forms may be found in your retirement packet.
  5. Complete and return additional online retiree forms to make further elections or changes.
  6. Complete the Life Insurance Portability Form (optional).
  7. For life insurance conversions , please contact the Benefits Office.

Do you know how much your retirement benefit will be? Do you know what other income will you have available to you in retirement? See the DRS Lifetime Retirement Planning website for answers to these and other questions. Use the benefits estimator tool and/or download checklists and publications here too.

Refer to the Social Security Office Retirement Estimator Benefit Calculator for an estimate of your social security retirement benefit.

Are you considering post-retirement WWU employment? If so, note that this requires a minimum of one full calendar month break in service after retirement—no exceptions—as well as other post-retirement employment restrictions. Failure to understand and track post-retirement employment limits can result in the retiree's loss of pension. Learn more about returning to work as a DRS retiree.

Top of Page

Retirement Compensation Calculation for July 2009–June 2011:
Laws of 2009; Chapter 30

In calculating average final compensation under this law for a member of PERS plan 1, 2, or 3, the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) shall include any compensation forgone by the member during the 2009-2011 fiscal biennium as a result of reduced work hours, voluntary leave without pay, or temporary furloughs if the reduced compensation is an integral part of the employer's expenditure reduction efforts, as certified by the employer. At retirement, certification for UW retirees will be provided by the Benefits Office directly to DRS. Neither retirees nor their departments need to provide special information to facilitate this certification. Please contact DRS directly for more information.

Top of Page

2013 Great College to Work For          AHA 2012 Platinum Achievement 2014 Leaders In Health Care Award Western Sustainability Office Certification
Page Updated 11.08.2013