Keep career milestones in mind
As a member of one of the state’s retirement plans, there are quite a few milestones throughout your career.
First 90 Days of Service
For members of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and School Employees’ Retirement System (SERS), one of your first milestones occurs during your first 90 days of service: choosing between Plan 2 and Plan 3. If you are still considering this decision, you can find out more on the Choose a Plan section of the DRS website.
Apart from choosing a plan, another early milestone is the day you become “vested.”
What is vesting, you might ask? Vesting means that you qualify for a lifetime pension benefit.
Plan 1 and Plan 2 members
You become vested when you reach five years of service credit.
Plan 3 members
You become vested when you reach 10 years of service credit, but if any of your years of service occur after you reach age 44, you only need five years of service to be vested.
Another important career milestone occurs when you become eligible to retire.
For members of the PERS, TRS, SERS and the Public Safety Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) Plans 2:
- You are eligible for full retirement at age 65. (Age 60 for PSERS if you have 10 or more years of PSERS service credit.)
- You may retire as early as age 55 (age 53 for PSERS members), but your benefit will be reduced for each year you are under the full retirement age for your system.
For members of the Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ (LEOFF) Retirement System Plan 2, you are eligible to retire at age 53 with full retirement, and as early as age 50 with early retirement.
For the Washington State Patrol Retirement System (WSPRS) Plans you can retire at any age with 25 years of service.
Separating from employment, but not retiring (Plan 3 and LEOFF Plan 2 members)
Another milestone for Plan 3 and LEOFF Plan 2 members happens when you have 20 or more years of service credit and decide to separate from employment. If you leave your job but delay taking your pension benefit, your benefit will increase 3% for each year you delay retirement through the month before you reach age 65 for Plan 3 or, for LEOFF members, through the month before your 53rd birthday.
Learn more about each type of plan.
Seeing your DCP contributions as pennies on the dollar could lead to greater savings.
New public employees, school employees and teachers have 90 days to choose between two retirement plans: Plan 2 or Plan 3.