As a current Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ (LEOFF) Retirement System member, you are eligible (but not required) to continue participating in LEOFF Plan 2 if you are elected or appointed to a statewide office (including the state Legislature).
You also might be eligible to switch from LEOFF Plan 2 to Plan 2 or Plan 3 of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) if you choose.
If you are a former rather than current LEOFF Plan 2 member at the time of your election, you are not eligible to resume LEOFF Plan 2 membership. However, you might be eligible to become a PERS member (see PERS Plans 2 and 3 Rules for State Elected Officials).
You are not required to belong to a retirement system while serving in office.
To remain a member, you must tell DRS you are taking a leave of absence to serve in elected office and want to keep your LEOFF Plan 2 membership active.
Give DRS the following information:
Once DRS receives the information, we will send you a letter and application for membership.
Once you reestablish retirement system membership, you must remain a member throughout your term. If you are elected to additional terms in office and want to continue your membership, you must reapply to DRS before each new term starts.
The amount of service credit you earn helps determine the amount of your monthly retirement benefit. As a state elected official, you earn one month of service credit for each month in which you earn compensation in your elected position.
You cannot earn more than one month of service credit per month regardless of whether you’re simultaneously employed with another LEOFF-covered employer.
Service in any state elective position is considered full-time service. For each full year of elected service, you are eligible for one year of service credit.
If you chose not to participate in LEOFF Plan 2 during your term in elected service, you cannot purchase credit for that service at a later date. However, you can become a PERS member and recover previous credit that way.
As a Plan 2 member, your monthly benefit will be based on this formula:
Service credit years x 2% x Final Average Salary (FAS) = monthly benefit
Your Final Average Salary (FAS) is the average of your 60 consecutive, highest-paid service credit months. Any type of severance pay, such as lump sum payments for deferred sick leave, vacation time or annual leave, isn’t included.
You, your employer and the state each contribute a percentage of your salary or wages to help fund the plan. The LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Board adopts contribution rates and periodically adjusts them to reflect the plan’s overall cost.
For any year in which you serve in the Legislature, you may choose between:
If you pick the option with the higher basic salary, you must pay the employee and employer contributions based on that higher compensation.
If you are a retired LEOFF Plan 2 member, you can receive your monthly benefit while serving in office unless you chose PERS membership.
If you chose PERS, your benefit will be suspended at the beginning of your term and reinstated when your elected official employment ends. You will receive payment, including any Cost-of-Living Adjustments that would have applied during that period, for the period of suspension. When your benefit is reinstated, you will be notified of your options for the retroactive payment.
To discuss applying these rules to your specific case, contact DRS and ask to speak with a Retirement Specialist on the legal team.
This content is a summary. It isn't a complete description. State retirement laws govern your benefit. If a conflict exists between the information here and what is contained in current law, the law governs.