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What to do when a death occurs

Surviving family members must deal with important details, including settling the estate. To help make a difficult time less stressful, we offer the following information:

Death of a retired member

It is important that you contact DRS as soon as possible. If the retiree chose to have a survivor receive benefits, we must update the account for the payments to continue. If the retiree did not select a survivor option, we will need to stop monthly benefits to avoid an overpayment. When you contact DRS, please be ready to provide the deceased retiree’s full name and Social Security number.

Death of an active, or formerly active, member

If the deceased was a member actively working in a public service position in Washington state or ever did work in such a position, it is possible that payment is due to the survivor(s).

When you contact DRS, be ready to provide the deceased member’s full name and Social Security number. If the death was potentially work-related, please also let us know.

Death of a beneficiary

If you are an active member, you can update your beneficiary designation at any time by logging into your online account or by filling out Beneficiary Designation form and returning it to DRS.

If you are a retiree and your beneficiary dies before you do, please contact DRS. For more information, see Can I Change My Benefit Option or Beneficiary Designation After I Retire?(Note: LEOFF Plan 1, WSPRS Plan 1, JRS and JRF retirees should contact DRS.)

If you are managing the estate of a deceased beneficiary who was receiving a monthly benefit, please contact DRS.

Updating Your Address and/or Name

Retirees, inactive members, beneficiaries and legal-order payees: You can update your address from your online retirement account. Just select “Address” from the welcome screen. If you need to update your name, fill out and send in a printed form as well as a copy of documentation showing the change.

Active members: Update your name and/or address through your employer. That new information will soon appear in your online retirement account.

Direct Deposit

Set up and manage direct deposit of your benefit payments from your online retirement account. Just follow the “Direct Deposit” directions under “My Account” in the navigation menu.

(If you prefer to fill out and mail in a printed form, select this link.)

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.)