Retirement Planning Checklist

The earlier you begin planning for retirement, the better prepared you will be. If you haven't already sought financial planning advice, now is a great time. The checklist below can help you successfully transition into retirement. You might be able to increase your retirement income or even retire sooner than you had planned.

1-2 years before retirement

  • Sign up to access your retirement account at www.drs.wa.gov. If you are a Deferred Compensation Program (DCP) and/or Plan 3 member, you can also view your defined contribution account(s) through online account access.
  • Review your plan handbook for retirement eligibility rules.
  • Use online account access to verify the accuracy of your service credit. If you find information you think is incorrect, contact DRS.
  • Use the Online Benefit Estimator to estimate your future monthly benefit.
  • If interested, sign up for DCP or another employer-sponsored voluntary retirement plan. You might also consider using a "catch-up" savings option, if your chosen plan offers one.
  • If interested, contact DRS to find out whether you're eligible to purchase optional service credit.
  • Plan for health care coverage during retirement. Note options that are available to you.
  • Contact your employer to find out whether it participates in a health reimbursement arrangement with the Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Association (VEBA).
  • Register for a retirement seminar or watch a seminar video online.*

3-12 months before retirement

  • Request an official estimate of your monthly benefit payment. You can do this securely through online account access or by calling DRS.
  • Complete payment of any outstanding optional service credit invoices.
  • Ask your employer about which health care coverage options are available to you when you retire. If you are covered by the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program, or will be after you retire, contact PEBB Benefit Services.
  • Decide when you should apply for Medicare and retirement benefits available through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

30-90 days before retirement

  • Contact DRS if you need to make changes to your official estimate (for example, you want to change your retirement date or survivor option).
  • Apply for retirement through online account access.
  • Look over your acknowledgment letter to make sure it's accurate. This important letter summarizes the key options you picked. It also tells you which forms still need to be turned in so DRS can process your retirement application.
  • Pay any outstanding optional service credit invoices.
  • If you have Plan 3, decide when you want to begin receiving payments from your defined contribution account once you retire. Contact ICMA-RC to talk about your options.
  • If you're eligible for PEBB health care, send your PEBB retiree coverage election form to the Health Care Authority (HCA).
  • If you are a DCP member, consider contacting DCP to learn about deferring lump sum payments for any unused leave.
  • Tell your employer your intended retirement date.

At and during retirement

  • Make sure the retirement information on your benefit letter is correct. You will receive this letter once DRS calculates your monthly benefit.
  • Contact DRS if you do not receive your first payment within one week of the date listed in your benefit letter.
  • Ensure the deductions on your benefit statement are correct.
  • If you have a PEBB health plan, contact PEBB Benefit Services with any questions you have about health plan premium deductions.
  • Contact DRS if you have questions about other non-PEBB deductions.
  • Keep your address and beneficiary information current with DRS.
  • Enjoy your retirement!