References

Acronyms Used in the Handbook

Acronyms are abbreviations constructed from the first letters of the words of a phrase or group of words. The following list includes acronyms frequently used in your Employer Handbook, and that are commonly used at DRS.

AFC—Average Final Compensation

AR—Account Receivable

CIS—Center for Information Services

CJTC— Criminal Justice Training Commission

CT—Contribution Transmittal

DBR—Defined Benefit Record

DCP— Deferred Compensation Program

DCR—Defined Contribution Record

DIS—Department of Information Services

DRS—Department of Retirement Systems

EFT—Electronic Fund Transfer

EIP—Employer Information Processing

EIR—Employer Information Record

ERF— Early Retirement Factor

ERU—Employer Relations Unit

ESS—Employer Support Services

FAS—Final Average Salary

FCR—Final Compensation Report

HERP—Higher Education Retirement Plan

HRISD—Human Resource Information System Division

JBM—Judges Benefit Multiplier Program

JRF—Judges' Retirement Fund

JRS—Judicial Retirement System

JV—Journal Voucher

LEOFF—Law Enforcement Officers' & Fire Fighters' Retirement System

MIF—Member Information Form

MPR—Member Profile Record

MMHS—Minimum Medical & Health Standards

MRL—Multiple Record Layout

MRV—Member Reporting Verification

OFM—Office of Financial Management

PA—Participation Agreement (DCP)

PCR—Plan Choice Record

PERS—Public Employees' Retirement System

PERS JBM — Public Employees' Retirement System – Judges Benefit Multiplier Program

PSERS—Public Safety Employees' Retirement System

RCW—Revised Code of Washington

RMS—Receivables Management System

RRTW—Retiree Return to Work

SCERS—State-wide City Employees' Retirement System

SCPP—Select Committee on Pension Policy

SELF—Self-Directed Investment Program

SERS—School Employees' Retirement System

SFT—Secure File Transfer

SR—Summary Record

SRL—Single Record Layout

TC—Transmittal Correction

TIAA/CREF—Teachers' Insurance & Annuity Association/College Retirement Equity Fund

TPA—Third Party Administrator

TRI—"Time, Responsibility, or Incentives"

TRS—Teachers' Retirement System

TRS JBM — Teachers' Retirement System – Judges Benefit Multiplier Program

VOE—Verification of Employment

WAC—Washington Administrative Code

WBET—Web Based Employer Transmittal

WSIB—Washington State Investment Board

WSPRS—Washington State Patrol Retirement System

DRS Contact Information

Local telephone number (360) 664-7000
Toll-free telephone number
(Available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for long distance callers.)
1-800-547-6657
TTY Users (for the hearing impaired)
Dial 711 for the Washington Relay service.
711
Accounts Receivable (360) 664-7864
1-800-547-6657, option '6', then '1'
E-mail: drs.ar@drs.wa.gov
Deferred Compensation 1-888-327-5596, option '1'
(TDD line - 1-877-847-6041)
Email: DCP
Employer Support Services (ESS) (360) 664-7200, option '2'
1-800-547-6657, option '6', then '2'
E-mail: employersupport@drs.wa.gov
Insurance (Health Care Authority) 1-800-200-1004
Fax Numbers  
Accounts Receivable (360) 664-7400
Deferred Compensation (360) 586-5474
Employer Support Services (360) 753-1090
LEOFF, PSERS (360) 664-7975
PERS, SERS (360) 664-7336
TRS (360) 753-3429
Ordering Forms-Bulk Only (360) 664-7066
Email: drsforms@drs.wa.gov
Member Retirement Planning Seminars & Workshops
(For Employer Workshops see Employer Support Services)
(360) 664-7300
1-888-711-6676
Email: Registration

Glossary of Terms

Terms Used in the DRS Employer Handbook

A | B | C | D | E | F | I | J | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | V | W | Y


Some of the terms used in retirement system law have varying definitions in different systems. Unless noted for a specific plan or system, the glossary provides general definitions that are applicable to all systems. For specific legal definitions, see the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) and the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).

active member

An employee working in an eligible position covered by one of the WA State Retirement Systems, who is not a substitute working in a school district or Educational Service District and who is not a retiree who has returned to work. TRS Plan 1 has a different definition for active membership. For additional information, see the respective plans in Chapter 2: Membership. For information, see Chapter 2: Membership.

annuity

A term used in PERS and TRS; means the money payable per year during the lifetime of a retired member by reason of the member's accumulated contributions.

arrears billing (AB)

An adjustment to a member's account for prior earning periods. (Effective January 1999, AB has been replaced by the Employer Correction (CT) invoice.)

average final compensation (AFC)

A term used in PERS and TRS; means the average final compensation used to calculate a member's retirement benefit. For Plan 1, the AFC is calculated from the member's 24 consecutive highest-paid service credit months. For Plan 2, the AFC is calculated from a member's 60 consecutive highest-paid service credit months.

basic salary

A term used in LEOFF; means the same as compensation.

begin date

Identifies the date a member begins retirement-covered employment. Required on the monthly transmittal when an employee becomes eligible for retirement system membership or when a LEOFF member begins certain leaves lasting more than three days. For information, refer to Chapter 8: Transmittal Reporting.

benefit multiplier

See PERS Definitions

billing month and year

The month and year in which a billing obligation was incurred. (For the CT billing, this is the same as the reporting period for the monthly transmittal report.) Payments are applied to the billing year and month entered on the Payment Advice form.

CT billing

The contribution transmittal billing (the bill created from the monthly transmittal report) is identified on the Statement of Account Activity with a CT.

calendar year

The time period beginning January 1 and ending December 31.

cash out code

A specific status code used on the monthly transmittal to report lump sum payments of leave cash outs. Cash out codes are used only for PERS Plan 1, TRS Plan 1 and WSPRS members. For information, refer to Chapter 8: Transmittal Reporting.

compensation

That portion of scheduled payment of salaries, wages, or benefits paid to a member that is reportable on the monthly transmittal report. Certain non-monetary benefits are defined as compensation in PERS Plan 1 and TRS Plan 1. Refer to Chapter 4 - Reportable Compensation for more information.

compensation earnable

Compensation that is reportable to DRS. Refer to Chapter 4 - Reportable Compensation for more information.

contributions

Any payment made to DRS by an employee or employer to one of the Washington State retirement systems. Except for a small percentage of employer contributions which pay for administrative expenses of the system, the contributions are deposited in a trust fund to pay for future retirement benefits

contribution rate

The percentage rate of member compensation required to be contributed to a retirement system each month. Members pay a percentage of their compensation. In addition, employers pay contributions based on a percentage of each member's compensation. Contribution rates vary for the different systems and plans. For information, refer to Chapter 6: Contributions.

credit redistribution

A process used to correct or move outstanding items on the Statement of Account Activity. The Credit Redistribution allows credits shown on the statement to be moved to a billing month, system, or plan in which there is a debit or balance due. A Credit Redistribution occurs by using the Credit Redistribution Form or by calling an Account Manager.

DCP

Deferred Compensation Program, an Internal Revenue Code Section 457 plan administered by DRS.

department number

Now referred to as reporting group number.

DRS-The Department of Retirement Systems

The Washington State agency that administers PERS, PSERS, SERS, TRS, LEOFF, WSPRS, JRS, Judges Retirement Fund, and the Deferred Compensation Program.

DRS Notices

The official word from DRS about specific areas of concern to employers, including rate changes, new legislation and policy and procedural changes.

defined benefit plan

A term used to describe retirement benefits for Washington State retirement systems. In a defined benefit plan, a vested member will receive a retirement benefit based on the accumulated service credit and average final compensation. The amount a member has contributed is not a factor in the calculation of the retirement benefit.

defined contribution

Plan 3 member contributions.

deferral

The amount of the DCP participant's compensation, upon which the participant and the employer shall mutually agree (prior to the date on which such compensation is earned), which will be deferred.

dual member

Someone who is currently a member of one of the dual member systems and previously contributed to one of the dual member systems, other than the one to which they now belong.  To be a dual member you can’t be retired and can’t be receiving disability leave benefits from any DRS administered retirement system. Dual member systems include: PERS, TRS, SERS, PSERS, LEOFF Plan 2, WSPRS, and the city retirement plans for Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma.

Note: If you are employed at the same time in a SERS-eligible position and a PERS-eligible position, a different set of rules apply. Contact Employer Support Services for more information.

early retirement factor

A fraction expressed as a decimal or percentage that DRS uses to reduce a member’s or beneficiary’s retirement benefit when payment of the benefit begins before the member is eligible for a normal benefit. The reduction offsets the cost of paying the benefit over a longer period of time.

earnable compensation

A term used in TRS; means the same as compensation.

earning period

The calendar month and year in which an employee earns compensation. This may be different from the month in which the compensation was paid to the employee.

edit reports

See transmittal edit reports.

education employers

For the purpose of PERS service credit, includes school districts, higher education institutions, community and technical colleges, the State School for the Deaf, and the State School for the Blind. In addition, effective September 1, 1990, educational service districts are considered education employers.

elected or governor-appointed officials

For the purpose of determining participation in a Washington State retirement system, includes elected officials, direct appointees of the governor, appointees to fill vacant elective offices, and city managers or chief administrative officers.

eligible position

A term used to define an employee's eligibility for membership. The definition of eligible position has been changed by law over the years and differs by system and plan. For information, refer to Chapter 2: Membership.

employer invoices

Billings or adjustments to correct employer contributions for taxed earning periods, or to correct employee and employer contributions for non-taxed earning periods. See the list of invoice codes and descriptions.

end date

The date a member ends employment in a position eligible for retirement coverage. An end date is required to separate (or stop reporting) a member from the monthly transmittal or to report a LEOFF member ending certain leaves longer than three days. For information, refer to Chapter 8: Transmittal Reporting.

excess compensation

A portion of compensation used for benefit calculation for which the extra benefit derived must be paid for by the employer rather than by the retirement system.

final average salary, or FAS

A term used in LEOFF; means the basic salary used to calculate a member's retirement allowance. For LEOFF Plan 2, the FAS is the monthly average of the member's 60 consecutive highest-paid service credit months. For LEOFF Plan 1, the FAS varies according to length of service and conditions of separation. For more information, members should refer to the LEOFF Member Handbook.

final compensation report

A form which provides information needed to calculate benefits for retiring members of PERS Plan 1.

fiscal year

A term used in TRS Plan 1, means the period from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.

full-time
  • For TRS Plan 1, means regular service for four-fifths or more of a school day or an assignment to duties which are the equivalent of four-fifths or more of a full time assignment.
  • For LEOFF and PSERS means an employee who is regularly scheduled to earn basic salary from an employer for a minimum of one hundred sixty hours each calendar month.
fully compensated employment

For LEOFF, means employment which is paid at the rate regularly afforded an employee in that position.

inactive member

A term used for a person who is not currently contributing to their retirement plan. For TRS Plan 1, there is an additional requirement that the person must not have withdrawn contributions.

ineligible position

A term used in PERS, SERS, and TRS Plan 2 and Plan 3 which means the position is not eligible for retirement coverage. For information, refer to Chapter 2: Membership.

invoice number

the unique 8-digit invoice number that appears on the invoice. Refer to Working with Employer Invoices for additional information.

Judges Benefit Multiplier

See PERS Definitions

JRF

Judges' Retirement Fund

JRS

Judicial Retirement System

LEOFF

Law Enforcement Officers' and Fire Fighters' Retirement System

LEOFF-covered employer

For LEOFF Plan 1, the legislative authority of any city, town, county, or district or the elected officials of any municipal corporation that employs any law enforcement officer or firefighter in the state of Washington. For LEOFF Plan 2, the legislative authority of any city, town, county, or district, or the elected officials of any municipal corporation, or the governing body of any other general authority law enforcement agency that employs any law enforcement officer or firefighter in the state of Washington.

member

Any employee enrolled in and contributing to a retirement system.

member information form (MIF)

The MIF is a form used to enroll new PERS, SERS or TRS members; for Plan 2 members who choose to transfer to Plan 3; or for Plan 3 members returning to eligible employment.

member invoice

Formal notification from DRS to a member of money due. Member invoices are mandatory member obligations such as an Employer Correction (CT) billing, refund overpayments, or pension overpayments. See also optional bills.

minimum medical and health standards (MMHS)

For LEOFF Plan 1 members, means the legislatively mandated medical and health standards which determine eligibility for coverage under the LEOFF retirement system.

non-taxed (or tax-deferred) contributions

Employee retirement contributions for which federal income taxes have not been withheld. See also taxed contributions.

optional bills

An invoice which the member may pay if he or she wishes to obtain certain service credit. For example, optional bills may be issued to members who are restoring service credit or purchasing service credit for an authorized leave of absence.

organization number

Each employer has a unique organization number, which is inclusive of all reporting group numbers assigned to your organization.

partial service credit

Credit earned for working fewer than the number of hours required for a full month of service credit. This applies to PERS, SERS, and TRS Plan 2 or Plan 3 members in eligible positions and to full time, fully-compensated LEOFF Plan 2 members. Effective with the September 1991 earning period, members can earn either 1/4 or 1/2 month of service credit.

participant

Any eligible employee who executes a participation agreement with DRS assenting to the provisions of the Deferred Compensation Program (DCP), once the agreement has been approved by DRS or its designee.

payment advice

A form used to tell DRS how to apply payments. The Payment Advice form must accompany all payments to DRS. See the alphabetical list of Employer Forms for the three types of Payment Advice forms and descriptions of the forms. Refer to the ePay section of Using the DRS Web-Based Services for how to create a preprinted Payment Advice form or how to submit an electronic payment via the Internet. See Submitting the Payment Advice for payment procedures.

PERS

Public Employees' Retirement System

PERS education member

A PERS member employed by a school district, higher education institution, community or technical college, the State School for the Deaf, or the State School for the Blind. Effective September 1, 1990, includes service in an educational service district also.

PERS service after October 1, 1977 is transferred to SERS if the member is working in a SERS eligible position and the member was previously PERS Plan 2 or Plan 3.

Plan 1

Plan 1 is a defined benefit plan structured under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. This means members will receive a benefit based on service credit and average final compensation when they retire. Plan 1 (PERS, TRS, LEOFF, WSPRS) refers to the funding and benefit provisions covering persons who first became members of a retirement system prior to October 1, 1977.

Plan 2

Plan 2 is a defined benefit plan structured under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. This means members will receive a benefit based on service credit and average final compensation when they retire. Plan 2 refers to the funding and benefit provisions covering persons who first became members of a retirement system on or after:

  • October 1, 1977 for PERS, SERS if the member was previously a PERS Plan 2 member, TRS, and LEOFF
  • July 1, 2003 for commissioned WSPRS
  • July 1, 2006 for PSERS
Plan 3

Plan 3 is a dual-component benefit plan structured under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Member contributions finance a defined contribution component, and employer contributions finance a defined benefit component. Plan 3 refers to the funding and benefit provisions covering persons who first became members of a retirement system on or after:

  • July 1, 1996, for TRS Plan 3
  • September 1, 2000, for SERS Plan 3
  • March 1, 2002 or September 1, 2002 for PERS Plan 3 - New members of PERS have the option of choosing Plan 2 or Plan 3. Refer to PERS Membership for more information.
political subdivision

Any political entity other than a state agency, a higher education institution or a school district.

potential member

Someone who has worked in an ineligible or substitute position at a school district or educational service district, but hasn't purchased their substitute service credit and hasn't established membership.

prelist

A preprinted transmittal report which DRS provides to an employer who does not report by automated means. The employer verifies or corrects the report and resubmits the original copy to DRS. For information on when to use the prelist, refer to Procedures for Manual (Paper) Reporting.

PSERS

Public Safety Employees' Retirement System

reportable work hours calendar

A calendar provided by DRS for employers who need to know the number of reportable work hours each month.

reporting group number

A unique number assigned to an employer which identifies the retirement system in which the employer participates.

restoration

The process of restoring a member's service credit for prior periods. A member who has left service and withdrawn contributions can, upon reestablishing membership, receive service credit for earlier service. The member must repay all withdrawn contributions plus interest accumulated since the time of withdrawal.

retirement allowance

A term used in TRS Plan 1, means the benefit to which a TRS Plan 1 member is entitled. This allowance includes the member's pension benefit plus his or her annuity amount.

retirement benefit

The benefit to which a retired member is entitled based on the accumulated service credit and average final compensation. The amount a member has contributed is not a factor in the calculation of the retirement benefit. For information, see Chapter 3: Service Credit.

school day

The number of hours in a day that make up a complete day of work, as defined by the employer. In the absence of an employer definition, WAC defines the school day as seven hours long.

SERS

School Employees' Retirement System

school year

For the purpose of calculating service credit for TRS Plan 2 and Plan 3 and PERS Plan 1 and Plan 2 education members, means the period from September 1 through August 31 of the following year.

separated

No longer employed in a retirement-covered position.

separation date

-See end date.

service

The number of hours or days for which an employee receives compensation. Service is reported in days for TRS Plan 1 members and in hours for members of all other systems and plans.

service credit

Months or years of employment credited toward an eventual retirement benefit.

Statement of Account Activity (formerly Accounts Receivable Statement)

Statement issued to employers once each month, providing a summary of all payment and billing activity in the employer's account.

status code

A one-character code which identifies the status of compensation, contributions, and/or service reported on the monthly transmittal. For information, refer to Chapter 7: Status Codes.

TRS

Teachers' Retirement System

tax-deferred (or non-taxed) contributions

Contributions on which taxes have not yet been paid. See also taxed contributions.

taxed contributions

Contributions for which federal income taxes have been withheld. All contributions for earning periods prior to September 1984 are taxed. See also non-taxed contributions.

teacher

Any individual qualified to teach who is engaged by a public school or an institution of the state of Washington in an instructional, administrative or supervisory capacity. Among other requirements, an individual must meet this definition to be eligible for membership in TRS. For information, see Chapter 2: Membership.

transmittal edit reports

The DRS transmittal system uses a single edit report to provide information to you about your reporting. The edit report lets you know if information has not been reported, if information has been reported incorrectly, or if information you have reported has been rejected. See the Edit Specifications by Field for additional information.

transmittal report

Report submitted to DRS by each employer. Report contains compensation, contributions, and hours or days worked by each member. For information, refer to Chapter 8: Transmittal Reporting.

type code

A two-digit code used on the monthly transmittal report to identify the type of employer or type of job an employee performs. For information, refer to Chapter 7: Type Codes.

vested member

An individual who has accumulated the required years of service credit within  their retirement plan and has not withdrawn (exception is Plan 3) contributions. A vested member is eligible to receive a retirement allowance when qualified for retirement. Refer members to their Member Handbook for the plan requirements.

WSPRS

The Washington State Patrol Retirement System

year

As used in the definition of an eligible position, means any 12 consecutive month period established, and applied consistently, by an employer to evaluate the eligibility of a specific position. In the case of ongoing positions, the year used by the employer must be the same for all positions. In the case of a project or temporary position, the year used may be specific to the position. The term may include, but is not limited to, a school year, calendar year or fiscal year. Employers should document the 12-month period used to define a year for a given position; e.g., January through December, September through August, April through March, etc.

Links to Retirement Tables and Charts

Contribution Rate Tables Index

Edit Fields

Excess Compensation (Actuarial Table)

Invoice Types

Reportable Compensation Charts

Reporting Charts

Service Credit Rules

Status Code Charts

Transmittal Field Descriptions

Type Codes by System

Chapters

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