Retirement and Separation Steps
- Fill out the “Notice of Separation” request form.
- Make sure to include a legible, valid email address to receive your acknowledgment of separation reply.
- Print the form and sign your name on the signature line.
- Send your signed “Notice of Separation” to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Complete the SHSD Exit Survey
How Do I Retire?
If you are planning to retire from Steilacoom Historical School and are eligible for a pension, follow these steps:
You must formally request a benefit estimate and complete a pension application with the WA State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS). It is preferable to do this via the member login on the DRS website, www.drs.wa.gov. As an alternative, you may request that these items be mailed to you by calling DRS at 1-800-547-6657. A 3-6 month lead time is recommended for timely processing.
Complete a Notice of Separation form and submit a copy to Human Resources as well as your supervisor. After your notice is received and processed:
- You will receive a confirmation email and link to an optional exit survey.
- Payroll Services will mail you a retirement letter with additional information.
Important Facts Affecting Your Decision
- Sick leave cash outs do not affect your pension; vacation leave cash outs affect TRS/PERS Plan 1 pensions only.
- After your final pay is reported, DRS will conduct an audit and your final benefit amount will be determined. This is generally done within 6 months.
- TRS/SERS Plan 3 members have many options regarding defined contributions. Informational pamphlets are available on the DRS website.
- If you are a member of Plan 2 or 3 and work a reduced work year, the date you choose for your DRS retirement date will affect your pension.
Please refer to the July vs. September comparison below:
July 1 retirement example
If you retire July 2018, your cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) starts the following year on July 1, 2019. Because you chose July over September, you forfeit service credit for the months of July & August (approx. 2 months), which is minimal.
September 1 retirement example
If you retire September 2018, your COLA won’t go into effect until July 2020. That’s one year and 10 months after your retirement. This is because you must be retired for an entire year before receiving your first COLA payment. And since COLAs only go into effect on July 1, you must wait for the next July 1 in 2020. You will earn approx. 2 more months of service credit by waiting until September to retire, but you will delay receiving your COLA benefits for nearly two years.
So what’s best? The fact is, if you wait until September, the increase in your benefit is generally minimal. By retiring July 1st you will start receiving pension payments two months earlier plus be eligible for the COLA nearly one year sooner. You will also continue to receive your salary along with your pension in July & August. These are the reasons most school year employees retire July 1st.
There may be other factors to consider that are unique to your situation. You should ultimately consult a DRS retirement analyst for assistance in determining the most appropriate retirement date for you.
Full retirement age is 65 for those born prior to 1938 and age 67 for those born 1960 or later. You may receive social security benefits as early as 62, but your benefit will be permanently reduced. Medicare is available if you are 65 or older, disabled or have kidney failure. For more information about Social Security or Medicare, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.