The basics of retiring with DRS

Once you’ve reached the required age and years of service for your plan, you can apply for your pension retirement through DRS. We have a complete retirement checklist as well as seminars to guide you through the retirement process, but basically it goes like this:

1. Make sure you qualify for retirement. Are you old enough? Do you have the number of service years needed for your plan? See your plan page for age and service requirements.

2. Request an official estimate. You can make this request through your online account or by calling DRS. During this time, DRS will review your service history information and calculate your retirement benefit. The estimate takes about 8 weeks.

3. Apply for retirement. The fastest way to do this is online through your account. If you are a member of multiple retirement plans under DRS, you will need to request paper applications to submit. The retirement application is only available to you when you are eligible to retire. You won’t find it in your account before this time.

4. Consider your DCP income. If you have a DCP account, you will need to withdraw these funds separately. You can also complete this withdrawal online or by using a paper form. See DCP withdrawals for more.

If you are Plan 1 or Plan 2, that’s it! If you are Plan 3, you’ll have completed your pension retirement, but you have one more source of retirement income to consider: Your investment account.

Plan 3 has two accounts

If you are in Plan 3 you have two sources of retirement income:

  1. The investment account you contribute to throughout your career.
  2. Your employer-funded pension account.

Plan 3 members withdraw these income sources separately.

This means you will submit two separate requests for withdrawing the funds in retirement. You’ll have your pension retirement application you complete with DRS (step 3 above) and you’ll set up withdrawal for your investment funds.

Here is the convenient part about having two Plan 3 accounts – You don’t have to collect this retirement income at the same time. You can choose to postpone receiving either. When you reach age 72, the IRS requires you to begin withdrawing funds from your retirement account—otherwise, the timeline is up to you.

Customers sometimes start withdrawing their retirement contributions from their investment account and delay submitting for the pension retirement—usually because they want to start the pension income when they reach full retirement age (early retirement with an unreduced pension). See this two-minute video about delaying retirement.

The timelines for withdrawing your Plan 3 investments can vary depending on where your contributions are invested. Find out more about withdrawing from your plan on your plan guide page.

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