New Rules

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(Note: Adopted rules may be different from the proposed rules.)

Rules Adopted WA State Register Citations
Emergency Rulemaking Order: Public Records

To amend the department’s rule concerning fees for copying and providing public records, in compliance with EHB 1595 (Chapter 304, Laws of 2017).

Adoption: 17-16-030
Effective: July 23, 2017

Law Enforcement Officers' and Fire Fighters' Plan 2 (LEOFF 2) Disaster Coverage Death and Disability Benefits

Implements Chapter 115, Laws of 2016 (SB 6263), which provides enhanced benefits for a LEOFF Plan 2 member who dies or is disabled before returning to LEOFF employment, after leaving membership to enter federal service in response to a natural disaster or other emergency.

Preproposal: WSR 16-18-090
Proposal: WSR 17-07-117
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 17-10-035
Effective: May 27, 2017

LEOFF Plan 1 Annuity Purchase

Chapter 222, Laws of 2016 (SSB 6264) provides the opportunity for members of the Law Enforcement Officers' and Fire Fighters’ (LEOFF) Plan 1 Retirement System to purchase an annuity. This amendment incorporates the new provisions into the existing rule concerning annuity purchases.

Preproposal: WSR 16-20-042
Proposal: WSR 17-04-044
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 17-07-021
Effective: April 7, 2017

2008 Early Retirement Factors (ERFs)

EHB 2391, passed in 2007, provided optional enhanced Early Retirement Factors (2008 ERFs) for Plan 2 and Plan 3 members in the state's retirement systems, with restrictions on post-retirement employment. This new rule clarifies how the department interprets those provisions.

Preproposal: 16-12-065  
Proposal: 17-01-030
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 17-04-050
Effective: Feb. 26, 2017

Purchased Service Credits for Substitutes

To allow TRS and SERS members who work as a substitute, and then are hired permanently, to purchase service credit if they worked more than five months of 70 hours as either a substitute or eligible employee.

Proposal: 16-23-071
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 17-02-032
Effective: Jan. 28, 2017

Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ (LEOFF) Plan 1 Flexible Survivor Options

This amendment implements ESB 5873, which provided a new window of time for qualified LEOFF Plan 1 retirees to select a survivor option for a postretirement spouse or registered domestic partner. The amendment also corrects WAC 415-104-202 to reflect that more than one postretirement survivor option may be permitted.

Preproposal: 16-10-095
Proposal: 16-23-070
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 17-02-033
Effective: Jan. 28, 2017

Deferred Compensation Program Auto-Enrollment

Recent legislation, ESSB 5435, will require state agencies to automatically enroll new full-time employees into the state’s Deferred Compensation Program (DCP) unless the employee opts out. This rule-making action revises the DCP rules to include administrative details. Local employers will continue to have the option to make DCP available to their employees, and may also elect to provide automatic enrollment. DCP enrollment will remain optional for eligible current employees and new employees who are not covered by the automatic enrollment provisions.

Preproposal: 16-13-140
Proposal: 16-21-075
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 16-24-013
Effective: Jan. 1, 2017

Birth evidence

Updating rules to reflect current administrative practice to only require a member to submit proof of age if the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) has any questions about a member's age.

Preproposal: 16-08-089
Proposal: 16-18-055
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 16-21-059
Effective: Nov. 14, 2016

Eligibility for membership in the Public Safety Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS)

Membership in PSERS is defined in RCW 41.37.010 and 41.37.020. This amendment clarifies how the department interprets the statutes to determine eligibility. 

Preproposal: 16-10-096
Proposal: 16-15-054
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 16-17-128
Effective: Sept. 23, 2016

Retiree return to work

These amendments clarify retiree return-to-work rules and align them with current statutes.

Preproposal: 12-06-003
Proposal: 16-14-105
Concise Explanatory Statement  
Adoption: 16-17-047
Effective: Sept. 11, 2016

Deferred Compensation Program enrollment and default investments

Updates the enrollment process and establishes the default investment.

Preproposal: 16-05-081
Proposal: 16-09-051
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 16-12-050
Effective: June 25, 2016


Clarifies how the department determines whether a member has separated from service or employment, as required by state laws and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) interpretations.

Preproposal: 16-05-080
Proposal: 16-09-053
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 16-12-052
Effective: June 25, 2016

Petitions for review of administrative decisions

Clarifies how the department processes stakeholders’ petitions for review of administrative decisions.

Preproposal: 16-05-082
Proposal: 16-09-054
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 16-12-051
Effective: June 25, 2016

Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ (LEOFF) Plan 2 disability payments

RCW 41.26.476, enacted in 2010, invalidated a clause in WAC 415-104-380 concerning shared leave. This rule amendment strikes the invalid clause.

Notice of Expedited Rule Making: 16-06-097
Adoption: 16-10-122
Effective: June 4, 2016

Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ (LEOFF) Retirement System definitions

To provide further clarity to the department’s interpretation of terms used in the administration of LEOFF retirement benefits. Terms being clarified include “full-time employee,” “fully compensated employee,” and “supervisory firefighter personnel."

Preproposal: 15-24-124
Proposal: 16-05-037
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 16-08-007
Effective: April 24, 2016

Retirement allowance computations

When a LEOFF 2, PERS 3, SERS 3 or TRS 3 retirement plan member has at least 20 years of service credit and leaves employment, that member’s defined benefit increases by about 3 percent for each year the member delays receiving it. This rule clarifies how the department applies this benefit when a member retires from more than one retirement plan.

Preproposal: 15-20-126
Proposal: 16-05-036
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 16-08-008
Effective: April 24, 2016

Catastrophic disability allowance

To clarify how the agency administers adjustments to a catastrophic disability allowance for Plan 2 of the Law Enforcement Officers' and Fire Fighters' (LEOFF) Retirement System. Other changes are to ensure consistency with the LEOFF Plan 2 duty disability rule and document existing practices.

Preproposal: WSR 15-09-133
Proposal: WSR 16-03-074
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 16-06-069
Effective: March 27, 2016

Purchasing additional annuities and service credits

To define, document and clarify how the agency administers statutes that provide for the purchase of additional annuities and service credits in certain retirement systems.

Preproposal: WSR 15-09-137
Proposal: WSR 16-01-199
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 16-04-048
Effective: February 27, 2016

LEOFF 2 Duty Disability – Adoption withdrawn

To codify the department's existing practice of granting a LEOFF Plan 2 duty disability benefit. The rule clarifies that the work actions and activities defined in WAC 415-104-480(2) must be the proximate cause of the member's disability (but need not be the sole cause of the member's disability).

Preproposal: WSR 15-15-145
Proposal: WSR 16-01-197
Adoption: 16-04-049
Withdrawal from Publication: 16-04-049

Plan 3 defined contribution account distributions

Clarifies how the department will administer distributions from a Plan 3 defined contribution account in the event of a terminal illness or unforeseeable emergency.

Preproposal: 15-13-114
Proposal: 15-16-114
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 15-19-027
Effective: October 9, 2015

Plan 3 contributions – WAC 415-111-220 How do I choose a defined contribution rate?

Eliminating contribution rate flexibility for members of Teachers' Retirement System Plan 3. This change is necessary to meet plan qualification requirements in the Internal Revenue Code.

Preproposal: 14-14-107
Proposal: 14-17-100
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 14-20-036
Effective: October 25, 2014

Emergency Rule-Making – WAC 415-111-220 How do I choose a defined contribution rate?

Removes the provision that allows members of the Teachers’ Retirement System Plan 3 to select a new contribution rate option each year. WAC is being amended to ensure compliance with the Internal Revenue Code requirements and continued plan qualification. (Extends the effect of the previous emergency rule making until the permanent rule change is effective.)

Adoption: 14-20-037
Effective: September 24, 2014
Emergency Rule-Making – WAC 415-111-220 How do I choose a defined contribution rate?

Removes the provision that allows members of the Teachers’ Retirement System Plan 3 to select a new contribution rate option each year. WAC is being amended to ensure compliance with the Internal Revenue Code requirements and continued plan qualification.

Adoption: 14-13-007
Effective: June 5, 2014

Deferred Compensation Plan general rules review

Updates the rules as part of a general review. Removes annual deferral limits from rule; the current limits will be maintained on the department’s DCP Web site. Adds a rule to describe how and when participants may make up contributions that were missed during a period of uniformed service. Removes references to the Employee Retirement Benefits Board.

Preproposal: 10-11-049
Proposal: 14-03-130
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 14-10-045
Effective: June 1, 2014

Administrative Factors – Purchasing service credit past deadline date, and purchasing service credit in Teachers Retirement System Plans 2 and 3 for out-of-state teaching

Factors are being updated and the formula for calculating the cost for the purchased service credit will change.

Preproposal: 13-23-091
Proposal: 14-03-120
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 14-06-053
Effective: October 1, 2014

Distribution of Plan 3 defined benefits after the death of a member who has not yet retired; and removing the witness signature requirement on the beneficiary designation form

This rule-making activity clarifies when a member's eligible surviving spouse and minor children will be entitled to receive the defined benefit portion of Plan 3. These amendments also update the rules to reflect current agency policy no longer requiring a witness signature on the beneficiary designation form.

Preproposal: WSR 13-23-092
Proposal: 14-03-121
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 14-06-056
Effective: March 30, 2014

WAC 415-02-300 - How does the department adopt and use actuarial factors?

Legislation passed in 2012 (SB 6378) gradually lowers the long-term assumed rate of return for most of the pension systems over the next three biennia, which may result in more frequent updates to actuarial factors used in the calculation of retirement costs and benefits. Removing the factors from WAC, and establishing in rule a process for adopting and publishing the factors, will allow the Department to maintain transparency and remain responsive to its customers’ and stakeholders’ interests while updating the factors as necessary. This rule-making activity also revises or repeals thirty-two other rules that include or refer to actuarial factors.

Preproposal: WSR 13-12-056
Proposal: WSR 13-15-171
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: WSR 13-18-034
Effective: October 1, 2013

Revising WAC 415-110-685 Am I eligible for membership and service credit as a classified substitute? and 415-112-140 Am I eligible for membership and service credit as a substitute teacher?
Repealing WAC 415-110-605 Do I qualify for retirement from Plan 3?, 415-112-501 Do I qualify for retirement from Plan 2?, and 415-112-502 Do I qualify for retirement from Plan 3?

Implements the provisions of 2ESB 6378 related to changing the retirement allowance reductions for members who begin membership in PERS, SERS or TRS on or after May 1, 2013, and subsequently retire after reaching age fifty-five and completing thirty or more years of service. These changes are necessary to clarify when membership begins for substitutes who establish membership by purchasing service credit on or after May 1, 2013.

Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version: The text being adopted reflects minor revisions from the text proposed in WSR 13-05-080. The changes relate to eligibility for membership based on work performed in prior periods.

(See WSR 13-08-055 for text of the new rules as adopted.)

Preproposal: WSR 12-22-077
Proposal: WSR 13-05-080
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: WSR 13-08-055
Effective: May 1, 2013

WAC 415-02-177 - May I purchase additional service credit?

Corrects the administration of retirement benefits when a retiree who has purchased additional service credits returns to work and exceeds the hours limit for continuing pension payments. Retirees who exceed the return-to-work limits will have their retirement benefit suspended, including any portion that is attributable to purchased service credit.

Preproposal: WSR 12-22-063
Proposal: WSR 13-03-154
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 13-06-025
Effective: April 1, 2013

Internal Revenue Code compliance (permanent rules)

Amending rules that define limitations on maximum benefits and maximum contributions (WAC 415-02-740) and compliance with Internal Revenue Code (IRC) rollover rules (WAC 415-02-751). These changes codify existing practices, and are necessary to ensure the Department's continued compliance with IRS requirements for plan qualification.

Preproposal: 12-06-014
Proposal: 12-18-073
Concise Explanatory Statement
Adoption: 12-12-036
Effective: November 10, 2012

Emergency Rule-Making - WAC 415-02-740, What are the IRS limitations on maximum benefits and maximum contributions?

WAC is being amended to ensure compliance with the Internal Revenue Code requirements and continued plan qualification.

Adoption: 12-15-037
Effective: July 13, 2012

WAC 415-02-130, Will I receive retirement and account information?

WAC is being reviewed to ensure it is accurate, up-to-date, and written in "Plain English".

Preproposal: 11-18-091
Proposal: 12-08-056
Adoption: 12-12-047
Effective: July 2, 2012

Engrossed Substitute House Bill (ESHB) 1981, Chapter 47, Laws of 2011

Requires the Department of Retirement Systems to collect employer contributions from each state institution of higher education and deposit those contributions into a newly established higher education retirement plan supplemental benefit fund. Newly created and amended rules will ensure compliance with ESHB 1981.

Preproposal: 11-23-183
Proposal: 12-06-078
Adoption: 12-10-057
Effective: June 1, 2012

Default investment option for Plan 3

The Washington State Legislature has enacted legislation which changes the default investment option for new members of the defined contribution portion of the plan 3 retirement systems.

Preproposal: 11-11-033
Proposal: 11-15-039
Adoption: 11-18-018
Effective Date: September 26, 2011

Internal Revenue Code (IRS) Section 401(h) retiree medical accounts

The Washington State Legislature has enacted legislation providing for the payment of medical benefits for retirees of the Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters' (LEOFF) Plan 2 who are totally disabled in the line of duty and survivors of LEOFF Plan 2 and the Washington State Patrol Retirement System Plans 1 and 2 who are killed in the line of duty. The Department will create a rule to implement retiree medical accounts established under Internal Revenue Code 401(h).

Preproposal: 11-07-066
Proposal: 11-15-011
Adoption: 11-18-017
Effective Date: September 26, 2011

Internal Revenue Code (IRC) compliance

The purpose of this proposal is to update and rewrite rules to comply with the Federal Internal Revenue Code.

Preproposal: 06-12-045
Proposal: 10-21-069
Adoption: 10-24-099
Effective Date: January 1, 2011