Preparing to Retire
Retiring Under PERS 2 Rules


Overview

Your age and length of service determine when you can retire from active WWU service. You are also eligible to retire from the 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 5 service-credit years: Full benefit.
Early retirement

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

Age 55 or older with at least 20 service-credit years: Reduced benefit. See below.*

*If you are age 55 through 61 and retire on or after July 1, 2008 with 30 years or more of service credit, you can choose between two sets of Early Retirement Factors (ERF) to use at retirement. The factors you choose will impact both the amount of your retirement income, and your ability to return to work for any PERS employer after retirement:

  • The 3% ERF: This reduces your benefit by 3% for each year before age 65 that you retire. If you wait at least 30 calendar days after retiring, you can return to work for a DRS-covered employer for up to 867 hours per year without impacting your benefits;

OR

  • The 2008 EFR: This provides a smaller benefit reduction; you CANNOT return to work in ANY capacity for a DRS-covered employer before age 65 or you will not receive your benefit for any month in which you work.

You can review all PERS 2 early retirement options and do a self-estimate of benefits. Download the Benefit Estimate Worksheet, which includes EFR’s that apply to your early retirement options.

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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:
www.drs.wa.gov/publications/member/multisystem/purchase.htm

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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. Contact the Benefits Office to request a Retirement Packet.
  4. Notify your supervisor, department chairman, or dean of your projected last day of work.
  5. Within 30 to 60 days of your retirement date, complete and return the the VEBA Enrollment Form—it will be found in your retirement packet.
  6. Complete and return additional online retiree forms to make further elections or changes.
  7. Complete the Life Insurance Portability Form (optional).
  8. For life insurance conversions , please contact the Benefits Office.

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Additional Information

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.

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 WWU 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.

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Page Updated 11.26.2013