LEOFF 1 Rules for State Elected Officials and Full-time Local Officials

Last Updated March 2016

As a current Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ (LEOFF) Retirement System member, you are eligible (but not required) to continue participating in LEOFF Plan 1 if one of the following is true:

  • You are elected or appointed to a statewide office (including the state Legislature).
  • You are elected or appointed into a full-time position in a local or political subdivision office.

If you are a former rather than current LEOFF Plan 1 member at the time of your election, you are not eligible to resume LEOFF Plan 1 membership. However, you might be eligible to enroll in the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). For more information, see PERS Plans 2 and 3 Rules for State Elected Officials or PERS Plans 2 and 3 Rules for Local Elected Officials.

How do I continue LEOFF Plan 1 membership?

To remain a member, you must tell DRS you are taking a leave of absence to serve in elected office and want to keep your LEOFF Plan 1 membership active.

Give DRS the following information:

  • Name
  • Social Security number
  • Address and phone number
  • Position title and employer
  • Beginning and ending dates of all state and local elected official service

Once DRS receives the information, we will send you a letter and application for membership.

Once you reestablish retirement system membership, you must remain a member throughout your term. If you are elected to additional terms in office and want to continue your membership, you must reapply to DRS before each new term starts.

How much service credit will I earn?

The amount of service credit you earn helps determine the amount of your monthly retirement benefit.

  • For each full year of legislative service, you receive 12 months of service credit.
  • For each month of service in a full-time local or political subdivision office, you receive one month of service credit.

Can I receive service credit for past elected service?

If you chose not to participate in LEOFF Plan 1 during your term in elected service, you cannot purchase credit for that service at a later date.

How much will my monthly benefit be?

The formula for a monthly service retirement benefit varies according to length of service. The following formulas apply:

  • Fewer than 10 years of service: 
    Service credit years x 1% x Final Average Salary (FAS)
  • At least 10 years but fewer than 20 years of service: 
    Service credit years x 1.5% x FAS
  • 20 or more years of service: 
    Service credit years x 2% x FAS

What will my FAS be?

If you hold the same position or rank for at least 12 months preceding your retirement, your Final Average Salary (FAS) will be the basic salary for that position or rank at the time of your retirement.

If you don’t hold the same position or rank for at least 12 months preceding your retirement, your FAS will be the average of your 24 highest-paid, consecutive months within your last 10 years of credited service.

If you become disabled, your FAS will be your basic salary at the time of your disability retirement.

If you are a vested member who separates from employment before becoming eligible to retire, your FAS will be your basic salary at the time you left service.

Can I retire from LEOFF Plan 1 while in elected office?

No, you must separate from service to become eligible to receive retirement benefits.

How much will I contribute to my retirement plan?

You could be required to contribute a percentage of your basic salary to LEOFF. A payment is considered basic salary if it is part of the monthly rate of salary or wages attached to your position.

What if I’m a retired LEOFF member when elected?

If you are a retired LEOFF Plan 1 member when elected to office, you cannot return to active LEOFF Plan 1 status while serving in office. Your retirement benefit will continue with no restrictions.

If you were a PERS or TRS member before March 19, 1976, you have the option of returning to membership in the system to which you belonged.

If you had fewer than 15 years of service in LEOFF when you retired and did not retire for disability, you are eligible to enroll in PERS Plans 2 or 3.

This content is a summary. It is not a complete description for LEOFF Plan 1 membership while in elected office. State retirement laws govern your benefit. If a conflict exists between the information shown in this document and what is contained in current law, the law governs.

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.)