Retirement Planning Checklist
The earlier you begin planning for retirement, the better prepared you’ll be. If you haven’t already sought financial planning advice, now is a great time. This checklist can help you successfully transition into retirement. You might be able to increase your retirement income or even retire sooner than you had planned.
- Sign up for an online account. Use your account to:
- Verify the number of service credit years you have.
- Calculate your retirement income through the Benefit Estimator.
- Review your plan for your retirement eligibility.
3-12 months before retiring
- Request an official estimate of your monthly benefit through your online account or by calling DRS. In most cases we will provide your estimate 5 to 8 weeks before your retirement date.
- Complete payment for any optional service credit.
1-3 months before retiring
- Contact DRS if you need to make changes to your official estimate
(for example, if you want to change your retirement date or survivor option).
- Apply for retirement through your online account (members of more than one plan will need to contact DRS to apply). You must complete a retirement application at least 5 weeks from the date you intend to retire (once you receive your official estimate).
- If you have Plan 3 or DCP, decide when you want to begin receiving payments from your contributions. See your withdrawal options for Plan 3 or DCP. Contact the record keeper at 888-327-5596 with questions.
Tell your employer your intended separation date.
At and during retirement
- The same month you retire, you’ll receive your first payment on the final business day of that month. If you don’t receive your payment, contact DRS.
- After you retire, we’ll mail you a letter with your monthly benefit information. Make sure your information on the letter is correct.
- When you receive your first monthly benefit payment, make sure the deductions on your statement are correct. Contact DRS if you have questions about any
non-medical insurance deductions.
Keep your address and beneficiary information up-to-date with DRS.
Tips for a better retirement
2-20 years before retirement
- Sign up for DCP to save even more for retirement. Over 50? DCP has a catch up savings option for you.
- Review your options for restoring or purchasing service credit to increase your benefit.
2-5 years before retirement
- Attend a Nearing Retirement Seminar online or in person.
Learn how and when to:
- request an official estimate
- restore or purchase service credit
- increase your retirement income with annuity options
- Want to increase your retirement income? Explore your annuity options or contact us.
- Plan for health care in retirement. Find out which options are available to you. Your employer may have additional information for you.
- VEBA – Volunteer Employees Beneficiary Association. They provide a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) which is an account you can use to reimburse your out-of-pocket expenses.
- SHIBA – Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors. A group of trained volunteers that can help you with Medicare questions and options.
- Decide when to apply for Medicare and Social Security retirement benefits.
3-12 months before retirement
- If you’ll be covered by the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) program health insurance, contact PEBB/SEBB services at hca.wa.gov.
30-90 days before retirement
- If you’ll be using PEBB health care, now is the time to send in your coverage election form.
- DCP customers, contact DRS to find out if you can apply any unused leave toward your account.
- If you qualify, apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). You must still be employed in the public sector when you apply. Visit wsac.wa.gov/pslf. You will lose eligibility for this program once you retire.
Here are some organizations customers commonly contact when retiring.
Deferred Compensation Program (DCP)
Plan 3 Record Keeper
Social Security Administration (SSA)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Health Care Authority (PEBB or SEBB)
Phone: 800.200.1004PEBB Phone: 360.725.0440 or 800.200.1004
Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (VEBA)