How do I log into my account?

Need to reset your password? Or having trouble logging into your account? See this help page for assistance.

How do I retire with DRS?

Start by requesting an official benefit estimate from DRS 3 to 12 months prior to your retirement date. See more steps to retire.

What are the DCP Roth and pretax limits?

2023 maximum: $22,500

2024 maximum: $23,000

These annual limits apply to DCP Roth and pretax contributions. This means whether you contribute to Roth, pretax or both, the combined totals must fall within these IRS annual limits for the DCP 457(b) program.

What if I have health care questions?

DRS does not provide retiree health care. These health care resources might help you find what you need.

More FAQ

What is DCP? Find out.


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News A piggy bank with money. March 5, 2024

COLA rates established for 2024

A cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is an annual adjustment applied to your retirement income to reflect changes in the economy (inflation). Most DRS retirement plans offer a COLA, but Plan 1 members in PERS and TRS only have a COLA if they selected it during retirement. View the 2024 COLA percentages by retirement date and plan. When will I receive the 2024 COLA? LEOFF Plan 1 COLAs take effect April 1 and start with April 30 benefit payments. All other DRS Plan COLAs take effect July 1 and start with July 31 benefit payments. You need to be retired by July 1 for at least one year to be eligible for a COLA. Once you’re eligible, you’ll receive any COLA starting with the pension payment issued at the end of July, and every year after. You don’t need to apply to receive the COLA – it’s automatic. How much will the COLA be? The maximum annual COLA you can receive for most DRS plans is 3%. If inflation that year is above 3%, the additional amount is applied to future adjustments (called COLA banking). Any year inflation is lower than 3%, the COLA can pull from banked percentages in prior years. This happens automatically and the adjustment is made for you. You could receive a different adjustment each year, depending on the amount available in your COLA bank. Will PERS 1 and TRS 1 receive a benefit increase? Certain retirees in Plan 1 of the Public Employees’ Retirement System and Plan 1 of the Teachers’ Retirement System (PERS 1 and TRS 1) will receive a one-time benefit increase in July 2024 as a result of House Bill 1985 (pending the governor’s signature). More about COLAs [reblex id='14232']

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News April 18, 2024

Retirement Taxes FAQ

These are the tax questions we’re asked most often. Keep in mind you’ll need to work with a tax advisor if you have questions beyond the information we can provide. DRS and the investment record keeper Voya are not able to offer tax advice. Will my monthly DRS pension payments be taxed? Yes. Whether you are in Plan 1, 2 or 3, your retirement contributions are generally deducted from your before-tax salary. This means these amounts have not been federally taxed. When you withdraw these funds, you will pay federal income tax on the money you receive. When we issue payment, DRS withholds any required IRS federal income taxes for your distribution type. Will Social Security taxes be withheld from my pension or DCP payments? No. Since you pay Social Security taxes when you make pension and DCP contributions into those accounts, Social Security taxes will not be withheld from those payments when they are paid to you in retirement. Any benefits you expect to receive from Social Security will not be impacted by your pension or DCP income. How do I change my pension withholding amount? You can change your withholding amount by completing a W4P form.  Use this form for periodic (monthly/annual) payments. You can send this to the DRS mailing address (Department of Retirement Systems, PO Box 48380, Olympia, WA 98504-8380). View this short W4P Withholding video for tips on using the withholding calculator to estimate your tax withholding amount. Will my Plan 3 investment withdrawals be subject to income tax? Yes. You make these contributions before tax and you will owe federal income tax for these payments when you receive them. Depending on the type of withdrawal, we will withhold a percentage required by the federal government. Sometimes customers ask whether their Plan 3 contributions can be made as Roth, or taxed contributions. The answer is no. Plan 3 is a governmental 401(a) hybrid plan with a pension and investment. The 401(a) does not allow taxed contributions. If you want to make Roth contributions, check out DCP. Will my DCP withdrawals be subject to income tax? If your contributions were pretax, yes. These withdrawals will have federal income tax. October 2023, DCP introduced a Roth option. With DCP Roth, you will pay the tax when you make the contribution. As long as you meet withdrawal requirements, DCP Roth withdrawals will be tax-free. The tax-free requirements include a five-year holding period from the year of your first contribution and a minimum age of 59½. If you withdraw before meeting these requirements, any investment earnings will be taxed. More about DCP. What tax form will I receive in retirement? While you are employed, you receive a form W-2 for tax season. After you retire, the form you receive is a 1099-R. You can download this form from your online account each tax season. You will also receive a copy in the mail, so it is important to keep your contact information up to date—even in retirement (update your address online or use this form). If you have DCP or Plan 3 investments in addition to a DRS plan pension, you will also receive a 1099-R form for any withdrawals you make from those accounts. You also might want to read this article about deductions in retirement, or listen to this podcast episode. If I live in another state, will state income tax be withheld? Washington does not have state income tax, and outside of DCP withdrawals, DRS does not withhold state income tax. If you live in a state with state income tax, you will be responsible for determining any additional taxes owed when you receive a withdrawal or monthly pension payment. As of March 2024, there are nine states that do not have state income tax: Washington, Texas, Florida, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota and Nevada. If you aren't sure where you will live when you retire, add this information to your retirement planning. How can the Washington Deferred Compensation Program (DCP) help you save on taxes? It depends on whether your DCP contributions are pretax or Roth. Pretax contributions lower your overall taxable income in the year you make the contributions. Roth contributions are taxed when you make them, but tax-free in retirement when you meet the minimum requirements. Find out more about the differences between the DCP options. There is also something called the Federal Tax Savers credit where you can write off a portion of your annual DCP contributions if you qualify. Visit the IRS website to find out more about this credit. If your employer doesn't offer Washington's DCP, find out what retirement savings options you do have, such as a 457 or 403b. Or look into opening a traditional or Roth IRA. [reblex id='14232']

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News March 28, 2024

Retirement preppers sleep better

April is Financial Literacy month and spring break, and that means it’s a great time to look at your budget and set some financial goals now so you’re prepared for the future. If you’ve been thinking it’s too soon or too difficult – or too late – here’s a best kept secret: those who start planning now, no matter what life stage they’re in, have fewer worries, less anxiety and they sleep better at night. Here are eight things you can do to be better prepared for retirement. Even if you apply only one of these, your future self will look back and thank your present self. If you’re a school employee, find out about the difference between retiring in July vs September. And be sure to see the list of webinars in April. Automate everything The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically. Start by setting a goal for how much you would like to save each month. Then, set up a monthly transfer from your checking to your savings account. Most utility bills can be automated. You can also set up automatic payments for your credit card to avoid late fees. Increase your DCP contribution If you have a DCP account with the state of Washington, consider increasing your monthly contribution amount by 1 or 2 percent. For example: if you’re currently contributing 3% of your salary, bump it up to 4%. Your future self will thank you. You can use the DCP calculator to see how much your contributions could grow. A small change can make a big difference over time. Not sure how much to save? Get started with the Retirement Planner. Estimate your retirement benefit Even if you just started your career in public service, you can use the DRS Benefit Estimator tool to get an idea of your retirement income. This calculator will allow you to see a private preview of what your monthly income might look like. Log into your account and select ‘Benefit Estimator’ to see your estimate. Knowing how much you can expect for retirement can help you make more informed retirement plans early on in your career. Read a finance book or listen to a money podcast The best way to reach your money goals is to hear what other people are doing. Find an interesting book, article or podcast about money. Did you know DRS has a podcast? Fund Your Future with DRS is a new podcast created for public employees in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Episodes are released on a regular basis and focus on easy things you can do to understand your money and improve your finances. Listen now. Talk about your finances Society often tells us that it’s impolite to talk about money. But in reality, asking advice or sharing money tips can open up new possibilities. Try having a conversation with your spouse, siblings, your kids, or your grandkids. Talk about what’s helped you in your financial journey and know that it’s ok not to have all the answers. The important part is that you explore the topic together. Know where you stand If you have any outstanding debt, take some time to know how much you owe — especially when it comes to credit cards. Write down what the APR (annual percentage rate) is for each credit card or loan. Generally, it’s a good idea to focus on paying down the debt with the highest APR first. Track your spending Seeing where your money is going can help you understand the big picture. Do you already have a budget? That’s great! Take a moment to review your expenses from last month and see if you want to make any changes to your purchases this month. Get started with the Voya budget calculator. Set some financial goals Would you like to buy a house? Go on a cruise? Pay off your debts? Set short-term and long-term goals. Then, make a plan for how you’re going to meet those goals. Spring break webinars – getting ready to retire If you’re thinking about retiring in the next few years, now is the perfect time to dig in and find out more. Sign up for a free webinar this April. Find specific information for your plan, including how to withdraw from your DCP savings and how to pick a benefit option. Should I attend a webinar or a seminar? Webinars Webinars are 30 to 60 minutes and focus on one topic. They are online so you can attend from the comfort of your own home. Some webinars focus on retirement, while others are for those who are starting their career. These live sessions generally have a smaller group and allow time for your questions. [table id=351 /] DRS webinar schedule – See the full schedule. Seminars Designed for customers who are approaching retirement, the retirement seminar is a half-day program running from 9:00 am – 1:30 pm with several breaks. Currently available online. The sessions cover everything you need to know about getting ready to retire including how to apply, what to know about social security and health care. DRS seminar schedule – See the full schedule Online resources Watch this video about resources available to you on the DRS website: <video embed Online Resources on Vimeo > Video highlights: 3:50 – How to access your online account 7:45 – Using the benefit estimator 10:15, 15:55 and 20:45 – DRS calculators 18:20 – Annuities More resources: Financial wellness video library from VOYA America Saves – A nonprofit that encourages and supports low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt and build wealth. Check out America Saves week April 8-12 at the Department of Financial Institutions. [reblex id='14232']

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Beyond the numbers

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Members and annuitants

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