We are working to resolve intermittent issues with online account access. If your log in is unsuccessful, please try again shortly.
Or contact us for assistance with your retirement information.

FAQs - LEOFF Plan 1

1. I plan to retire in two years. What should I do to prepare and when should I do it?

It’s never too early to begin preparing and we’re here to help. Be sure to take a look at our checklist of retirement planning steps that includes not only the “what,” but also the “when.”

2. When am I considered retired?

You’re considered retired once you begin receiving a retirement benefit. This is usually the day following the last day you work. If you separate from employment, but wait to start drawing a benefit, you’ll be considered retired once you do begin receiving it.

3. Can I return to public service in Washington state after I retire?

Yes. But if you return to work as a full-time fire fighter or law enforcement officer, your retirement benefit will be suspended and you will immediately resume your membership in LEOFF. If you think you might be returning to work after retirement, call us to see if your benefit will be affected. For more information, read the Thinking About Working After Retirement? publication.

4. I’m close to retiring. Can I increase the amount I contribute to my DCP account?

There are two catch-up options you can use to defer additional money to your DCP account. For details, call us at 1-888-327-5596 and select option 2.

5. How long will my benefit last?

You are guaranteed a retirement benefit for your lifetime and, if you have an eligible survivor, for the lifetime of your survivor.

6. Once I retire, when will I get my first benefit check?

Our goal is for you to receive your benefit payment by the end of the month.

  • If you choose direct deposit, and it has become effective,

    you will receive your first benefit payment by the last banking day in the month you retire (a banking day is any day the bank is open).

    Direct deposit example:
    You retired on March 1, and the last banking day of the month is March 31. You will receive your payment by March 31. See When am I considered retired?
    If you don’t choose direct deposit,
    we will mail your paper check with the intention of it reaching you by the end of the month.
    Paper payment example:
    You retired on March 1. You should receive your paper payment by March 31 or shortly after. Sometimes, the US mail can cause a delay. See When am I considered retired?

Please note: We’re only able to send your check to one bank account. If you would like your payment deposited in two accounts, be sure to arrange with your bank for an automatic transfer of funds.

7. What kinds of deductions can be taken from my benefit?

Deductions to your retirement benefit check can include:

  • Income tax authorized by the withholding form you submit with your retirement application
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Life insurance premiums
  • Combined Fund Drive contributions
  • Dues for retiree organizations
  • Any other approved deductions

The good news is some of the payroll deductions you currently see (Social Security, Medicare) will not be taken from your retirement benefit.

8. When is the earliest I can start receiving my benefit?

It depends on your age and your service credit.

You can begin drawing your retirement benefit at age 50 if you have at least five years of service credit.

9. When I retire, what will my monthly benefit be and how will it be calculated?

You can use online account access to estimate your benefit or, if you are within one year of retirement, please call us at 360-664-7000 or 800-547-6657 to request a written estimate. Here is the formula we will use to calculate your monthly benefit:

Service credit months ÷ 12 x 2% x Final Average Salary = Monthly Benefit

If you became a LEOFF member after Feb. 18, 1974, your service retirement benefit is limited to 60% of your final average salary, unless you retire on or after July 1, 2006.

10. How do I calculate my Final Average Salary (FAS)?

It depends on your employment situation before you retire. If you hold the same position or rank for at least 12 months before your retirement date, your basic salary at the time you retire will be your FAS.

If you separate from employment before you’re eligible to retire and you have at least five years of service, your basic salary at the time you separate will be your FAS.

If you’re disabled, your basic monthly salary at the time you retired will be your FAS. Contact your local disability board for more information.

11. When I cash out my annual leave or roll it over, will the cash out be included in my benefit calculation?
Cash outs are not included in your benefit calculation.
12. If I retire before my employment contract is settled, how will that affect my benefit?
We will calculate your benefit based on the initial information we receive from your employer. Once final information is reported to us, your benefit will be recalculated and, if appropriate, we will make a one-time payment that is retroactive to your original retirement date. Please allow several weeks after your employer reports any additional salary for this recalculation to be completed.
13. How do I start the retirement process?

You can retire online by signing up for your retirement account, or contact us for a paper application. The choice is yours.

Applying for retirement – online

Go to your online retirement account. Log in (or sign up if you haven’t already done so). The online retirement application will display only what you need based on your retirement system, plan and retirement eligibility rules. Follow the step-by-step instructions and electronically submit the application to us when you’re ready. If you encounter any issues during the process, don’t give up! Just give us a call and we will help walk you through it.

Applying for retirement – paper application packet

When you are ready to begin the process, request a retirement application from us. Be sure to submit the completed application with all required signatures and documentation, including proof of age for your survivor if you choose one of the options with a survivor benefit.

Remember, if you’re purchasing service credit, you’ll need to complete and turn in your purchase form with your retirement application.

If you prefer to talk with a Retirement Specialist in person, you can stop by our Olympia office anytime during our normal business hours of 8 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday, excluding holidays. It works best if you first request an estimate and retirement packet and have enough time to look it over before you visit. That will give your Retirement Specialist specific information to go over with you and also ensure your questions are answered.

You can reach us at 360-664-7000 or 800-547-6657. Here are directions and a map to DRS.

14. I received notification that says you have my application. When will I hear from you again?
During the month of your retirement, we will send you notification with the amount of your benefit and the date you can expect to receive your first payment. Any time you have questions, be sure to call.
15. I plan to move out of the country (or state) after retirement. Are there any special considerations I should be aware of?

Here are a few things to consider when moving outside the country or state:

  • Washington does not have a state income tax, but some states do. If you move to one of these states, be sure to check into the tax obligations for your retirement benefit.
  • Your health insurance coverage may be affected. To find out if it is, contact the insurance plan you intend to be covered by when you retire.
  • Direct deposits can only be made to banks within the United States. If you’re moving outside the country, be sure to find a bank that can process electronic deposits within the U.S.
16. Can service credit I earned in another state be used to qualify for retirement?
Your retirement system does not accept service credit from other states.

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.)