Last Updated August 2016
The Judicial Benefit Multiplier (JBM) Program provides judicial members of the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) with an increased retirement benefit multiplier.
A benefit multiplier is the percentage used, along with your service credit years and Average Final Compensation (AFC), to set your retirement benefit.
The JBM Program increases the multiplier for Plans 1 and 2 to 3.5% and for Plan 3 to 1.6%. The multiplier for non-JBM service is typically 2% for Plans 1 and 2, and 1% for Plan 3. Plan 1 members could have a different benefit multiplier in certain circumstances.
You must participate in the JBM Program if you established PERS membership in a judicial position on or after Jan. 1, 2007, in one of the following courts:
You must join PERS first. Once a member, you must participate in the JBM Program and will begin accruing service credit at the higher benefit multiplier.
You won't be able to increase your benefit multiplier for any judicial service you might have earned before joining PERS.
If you are in an elected judicial position, joining PERS is optional. However, if you are in an appointed judicial position, you are required to be in PERS if your position is eligible for PERS membership. Your employer determines whether your position is eligible.
If you are in the JBM Program, you:
If you are a past member of PERS, you will continue in your previous plan. If you were not a member of PERS before Jan. 1, 2007, you will be required to be a member of Plan 2.
If you were a Plan 2 member, as a JBM Program participant, you might have the option to transfer to Plan 3 during the annual January transfer window.
Here are the requirements:
If you joined the JBM Program between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2007, you will have a chance when you retire to increase the multiplier for prior judicial service.
However, if you were mandated into the program after Jan. 1, 2007, you can't increase the multiplier for any periods of judicial service before joining the JBM Program.
It applies only to the judicial service credit you earn after you begin participating in the JBM Program. Any service earned before you joined JBM will be calculated using the multiplier for that system and plan.
Yes. If you are Plan 1 or Plan 2, your benefit will be capped at 75% of your AFC. If you are in Plan 3, your defined benefit will be capped at 37.5% of your AFC.
The retirement benefit formula is:
Benefit multiplier x years of service credit x AFC = retirement benefit
Here are the benefit multipliers:
The AFC used in your calculation:
JBM benefit cap:
|Plan 1 and Plan 2||You have 20 years of service credit when you retire, and your AFC is $10,000. You earned 10 years of service credit before entering the JBM Program. Then you earned 10 years in the JBM Program.||Non-JBM Service:
2% x 10 years (20%) x $10,000 = $2,000
3.5% x 10 years (35%) x $10,000 = $3,500
Total Benefit = $5,500
|Plan 1 and Plan 2 (with Benefit Capped at 75%)||You have 30 years of service credit when you retire, and your AFC is $10,000. You earned 15 years before entering the JBM Program. Then you earned 15 years in the JBM Program.||Non-JBM Service:
2% x 15 years (30%) x $10,000 = $3,000
3.5% x 15 years (52.5%) x $10,000 = $5,250
Uncapped Benefit = $8,250
(75% x $10,000) Total Capped Benefit = $7,500
|Plan 3 (Defined Benefit Portion)*||You have 20 years of service credit when you retire, and your AFC is $10,000. You earned 10 years before entering the JBM Program. Then you earned 10 years in the JBM Program.||Non-JBM Service:
1% x 10 years (10%) x $10,000 = $1,000
1.6% x 10 years (16%) x $10,000 = $1,600
Total Defined Benefit = $2,600*
* Plan 3 members have both defined benefit and defined contribution components to their retirement benefits. For more information, visit the DRS website.
JBM participants must contribute a portion of their compensation, as reported by their employers to DRS (see the table below).
|PERS Plan||Supreme Court
Court of Appeals
|PERS Plan 1||9.76%
(Plan 1 rate + 3.76%)
(Plan 1 rate + 6.26%)
|PERS Plan 2||12.8%
(250% x Plan 2 rate - 2.5%)
(250% x Plan 2 rate)
|PERS Plan 3||At least 7.5%||At least 7.5%||Minimum 5%|
* The Plan 1 member contribution rate is set in statute. The Plan 2 rate is variable. For more information on member contribution rates, see your plan handbook.
If you are an active member when you become a judge and do not change employers, your contribution rate will increase to 7.5%. If you are an inactive member or change employers when you become a judge, you will have a choice of contribution rates ranging from 7.5% to 15%. For more information, see the PERS Plan 3 Member Handbook.
Yes. Regardless of whether you choose to join the JBM Program, you may purchase up to five years of additional service credit at the time you apply for retirement. The additional service credit you purchase isn't considered actual membership service credit and can only be purchased once you qualify for retirement. This increase is in addition to the 75% maximum benefit and will be calculated at the 3.5% multiplier.
Buying service credit increases your monthly benefit. For more information, read the Purchasing Additional Service Credit brochure.
How you earn service credit as a judge or justice is based on whether you are in an appointed or elected position.
Plan 1 member: You receive service credit as stated below.
Plan 2 or Plan 3 member: You receive service credit as stated below.
Plan 1 member: You earn one month of service credit for each month in which you earn compensation in your elected position, even if you are appointed to your elected position. You cannot earn more than one month of service credit for any month even if you are employed by another PERS-covered employer.
Plan 2 or Plan 3 member: For each month you earn more than 90 times the state minimum wage, you receive service credit as stated below.
Note: This brochure is not a complete description of the law. If there are any conflicts between what is written here and what is contained in the law, the applicable law will govern. The Judicial Benefit Multiplier Program is described in the Revised Code of Washington and the Washington Administrative Code.