WSPRS Rules for State-Elected Officials

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The rules in this guide apply to state legislators who choose to be covered by WSPRS while in office. The rules that govern all WSPRS members are summarized in the WSPRS Member Handbook.

You are eligible to participate in WSPRS while in office if:

  • You were elected to the state legislature, and
  • You are a WSPRS member when elected to office.

As a member of the state legislature, you are eligible, but not required, to continue your WSPRS membership while serving in office.

If you are a former WSPRS member but are not a currently active WSPRS member at the time of your election, you are not eligible to resume WSPRS membership. However, you may be eligible to enroll in PERS Plan 2.

How do I continue WSPRS membership?

To continue your WSPRS membership while serving as an elected official you must notify the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) that you are taking a leave of absence to serve in elected office and complete and submit an enrollment form.

For each legislative term during which you wish to remain a member of WSPRS, you must re-enroll at the beginning of that term.

Your Membership Decision is Final: Once you have established retirement system membership, you must remain a member until you separate from all eligible public employment.

Can I retire from WSPRS while holding elected office?

You must separate from service to become eligible to receive retirement benefits.

How much service credit will I earn?

You receive one month of service credit for every calendar month in which you receive compensation for 70 or more hours.

  1. You will not receive more than one month's service credit in a calendar month;
  2. Employer contributions will be paid by the legislature;
  3. Your contributions will be based on the regular compensation that you would have received had you not served in the legislature;
  4. Service and compensation credit will be granted only for periods during which the legislature is in session; and
  5. No service credit for service as a legislator will be allowed after you separate from employment with the Washington State Patrol.

What will my retirement benefit be?

Your monthly service retirement benefit is calculated using the following formula:

Months of service ÷ 12 x 2 percent x Average Final Salary =Yearly benefit

Average Final Salary is the average of your two highest-paid years for WSPRS Plan 1, and the average of your five highest-paid years for WSPRS Plan 2.

The maximum retirement benefit is 75 percent of your average final salary.

How much will I contribute to my retirement fund?

You will contribute a percentage of your salary each month to your retirement plan. Your contributions will be based on the regular compensation that you would have received had you not served in the legislature. WSPRS contribution rates are set periodically by the Legislature.

What if I am retired when elected to office?

If you are a retired WSPRS member who is elected to office, you cannot return to WSPRS member status while serving in office. However, you may be eligible for membership in other retirement systems under the following circumstances.

How do I Enroll?

Contact DRS and provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Social Security number
  • Address and phone number
  • Position title and employer
  • Beginning and ending dates of all elected official service

DRS will verify your service and previous elected official terms of office, and send you an enrollment letter and application. You may also request an estimate of the cost of purchasing credit for previous service.

Questions?

To discuss the application of these rules to your specific case, contact DRS. Be prepared to provide the beginning and ending dates for all of your elected service.

Summary

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.