DCP Automatic Enrollment

This page provides information about the automatic enrollment provision of the Washington State Deferred Compensation Program (DCP). DCP automatic enrollment appies to newly hired, full-time employees of qualifying state employers.

Welcome to DCP – the Deferred Compensation Program! As a new Washington public employee, you will be automatically enrolled in the program if you work for a participating employer. DCP is a tax-deferred savings plan administered by the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems. It’s designed to help you realize your retirement goals by offering a convenient way to build retirement income beyond your regular pension.

Because DCP is voluntary, there are actions you can take once you receive your enrollment notification letter in the mail. For example, you can change your contribution amount or your investment options. You can also opt out of DCP under the procedures listed below, with the option to rejoin later.

Enrollment timeline

    • Day 1 You are hired
    • About 30 days after hire You receive a mailed DCP notification letter (the timing is dependent on your employer’s payroll cycle)
    • Within 30 days of date on notification letter You have 30 days to opt out of DCP enrollment if you do not want to participate
    • 3 months after your hire date Your 3% paycheck contributions begin if you make no changes to your DCP account
    • Within 90 days of your first contribution You can still withdraw your automatic enrollment contributions and stop your deferrals.

Example: Someone hired in February will begin DCP contributions in May and will have until August to stop and withdraw these contributions

  • 90 days after your first contribution At any time during your employment, you can change or stop your contributions, and you can change investment options. Only normal withdrawals are permitted after this point (normal withdrawals are when you leave DCP-covered employment).
Frequently asked questions
Why have I been enrolled?

Your organization participates in automatic enrollment.

Are any employees exempt from automatic enrollment?

Yes. Automatic enrollment does not include student employees or retirees returning to work, even if they fit the newly hired/full time employee status.

How do I change my DCP options or opt out of automatic enrollment?

Once you receive a DCP notification letter you can choose to opt out, change your contribution options or select another investment. Make these changes through your online account or call 888-327-5596.

How much will I contribute with automatic enrollment?

3% of pretax income is the default deferral rate.

When will I make my first contribution?

Approximately three months after your hire date. The time varies due to your employer’s payroll cycles. Changes made during the initial automatic enrollment period make you an active DCP participant, which means your contributions may begin sooner AND you can no longer withdraw any contributions made under automatic enrollment.

What kinds of changes make me an active participant?

If you change your investment option or contribution amount, this will make you an active participant (which means you can no longer withdraw any contributions made during automatic enrollment).

Can I make changes after the opt-out deadlines have passed?

Yes. At any time during your employment, you can stop your deferrals or change your contribution amounts. You can also change investment options.

Will my contributions be pretax or post tax?

DCP contributions are pretax.

Where will my contributions be invested?

Your contributions will be invested in the Retirement Strategy Fund that assumes you’ll retire at age 65.

How do I designate a beneficiary for this account?

Once you are enrolled, designate beneficiaries through DRS using online account access or the beneficiary form; if you don’t designate a beneficiary, the payment would go to your estate.

If I opt out, can I join DCP later?


Can I withdraw contributions made during automatic enrollment?

Yes. If you make this choice within 90 days from your first contribution, you can withdraw your contributions from DCP as long as the record keeper receives your withdrawal form within the 90 days. Call Empower Retirement at 888-327-5596 to request a form.

Are my contributions subject to tax withholding if withdrawn?

Yes, because your contributions are pretax dollars. The tax withholding is 10%.

Where can I find out more about DCP?

The DCP Enrollment Guide is a great place to start. You can also visit the DCP website.


Beneficiary Designation

Members, you can update your beneficiary information from your online retirement account. Select “My Account” in the navigation menu and then “View/Edit” beside “Beneficiary.”

(If you prefer to fill out and mail in a printed form, select this link.)