Being vested in your plan is a huge milestone. It means you qualify for a lifetime pension. You need to work a certain amount of time to be vested in your retirement plan.
Here’s what it takes:
Plan 2 vesting
You need 5 years of service credit to qualify for a pension retirement under Plan 2. If you separate from service and withdraw your contributions, you forfeit your right to a pension. You only receive income from Plan 2 employer contributions when you retire through DRS.
Plan 3 vesting
You need 10 years of service credit to qualify for a pension retirement under Plan 3. However, if any of those years includes at least 12 months of service after age 44, you only need 5 years to qualify. Once you are vested, if you separate from service and withdraw your contributions, you can still qualify for a pension. This is because Plan 3 members have two separate accounts–an investment account you contribute to and a pension account funded by your employer. You only receive income from Plan 3 employer contributions in retirement. You must be vested to qualify for the pension part of your Plan 3 account.
What is service credit?
Service credit is used to calculate your pension retirement income. The years you’ve worked won’t necessarily equal the numbers of service credit years you have. Sometimes plan members take time off or have a gap in public employment. If you withdraw or miss service credit, you might have the option to buy it back, but it can be costly due to the interest your account would have earned over time.
Log into your account and select your plan to see your actual service credit years.
Do you meet these requirements? Congratulations! You are vested in your plan!
Once you are vested, you will receive a lifetime pension retirement payment–even if you separate from service before you reach retirement age.
So what now?
Estimate your payments
Your retirement income will grow the longer you remain in public service. Using the Benefit Estimator in your online account can give you an idea of how your pension might grow based on the number of years you work. And it takes just a few minutes.
Grow your retirement
You have options to increase the amount of money you’ll receive in retirement! DCP is one program where you can make a small change now to increase your retirement income. The DCP calculator can show you how much additional income you can have in retirement. Find out more about DCP.
No matter what you plan to do in retirement, adding DCP savings can help you get there.
This table includes the vesting requirements for all DRS plans.
DRS plan vesting requirements
|PERS 1||5 service credit years|
|PERS 2||5 service credit years|
|PERS 3||10 service credit years||5 years SC with at least 12 months earned after age 44||5 years SC earned in PERS 2 before June 1, 2003|
|TRS 1||5 service credit years|
|TRS 2||5 service credit years|
|TRS 3||10 service credit years||5 years SC with at least 12 months earned after age 44||5 years SC earned in PERS 2 before June 1, 2003|
|SERS 2||5 service credit years|
|SERS 3||10 service credit years||5 years SC with at least 12 months earned after age 44||5 years SC earned in PERS 2 before September 1, 2000|
|LEOFF 1||5 service credit years|
|LEOFF 2||5 service credit years|
|WSPRS 1||5 service credit years|
|WSPRS 2||5 service credit years|
|PSERS 2||5 service credit years|