Retirement Planning Checklist

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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.

Start planning

  • 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.
Enjoy retirement!

Tips for a better retirement

2-20 years before retirement

  • Sign up for DCP to save even more for retirement.
  • Age 50 or older? You can contribute a higher annual limit to DCP. And you can contribute up to twice the maximum during the three years before your normal retirement age. More about DCP.
  • Review your options for restoring or purchasing service credit to increase your benefit.

2-5 years before retirement

3-12 months before retirement

  • DCP customers, contact DRS to find out if you can apply any unused leave toward your account.
  • If you’ll be covered by the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) program health insurance, contact PEBB/SEBB services at

30-90 days before retirement

  • If you’ll be using PEBB health care, now is the time to send in your coverage election form.
  • If you qualify, apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). You must still be employed in the public sector when you apply. Visit You will lose eligibility for this program once you retire.


Here are some organizations customers commonly contact when retiring. 

Department of Retirement Systems
Phone: 360.664.7000 or 800.547.6657 (TTY dial 711)
Visit the DRS contact page for more options to reach us. 

Deferred Compensation Program (DCP)
Phone: 888.327.5596 

Plan 3 Record Keeper
Phone: 888.327.5596 

Social Security Administration (SSA)
Phone: 800.772.1213 

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Phone: 800.829.1040 

Health Care Authority (PEBB or SEBB)
Phone: 800.200.1004PEBB Phone:  360.725.0440 or 800.200.1004 

Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (VEBA)
Phone: 888.828.4953

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