Frequently Asked Questions

Quick resources

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Health care (PEBB or SEBB)

Social Security


2022 COLA

See the 2022 percentages

More about COLAs

With inflation headlines in the news, DRS has received a number of questions about how the Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) are calculated for our retirement plans each year. The numbers reported in headlines may be using different inflation measures or measuring over different time periods, so you could see differences in what is calculated by DRS. COLA percentages are provided to us by Washington State law. The references below are for PERS Plan 2, but other plans have similar descriptions.

RCW 41.40.010 (15) through (18) defines the “index” that is used for measuring COLAs. The index is the annual average for the Consumer Price Index for the greater Seattle area. To view the annual average for the past several years, select the CPI-W graph near the bottom.

Example: How the COLA is calculated

Divide the annual index number from the prior year by the index number for the year prior to that. For the COLA applied in 2018, the index for 2017 is divided by the index for 2016. In looking at the chart that would be:

258.847/250.523= 1.033

This means that the calculated COLA is 3.3%. Since most plans have a COLA that is capped at 3%, the COLA applied in 2018 would be 3%, with the remaining .3% banked for a future year when the COLA is less than 3%. For instance, if the calculated 2019 COLA was 1.5%, the 0.3% overage from 2018 would be added to give a total COLA of 1.8% for 2019.

LEOFF 1 Plan does not have a cap on their COLA. In the example above, they would receive the full 3.3% COLA in 2018.


Questions

Where is my 1099-R?

Tax statements are available to retirees online. You’ll also receive a paper copy in the mail. More IRS resources.

How do I retire with DRS?

  1. Request an official benefit estimate from DRS through your online account or by contacting us. The official benefit estimate from DRS takes about 6 to 8 weeks and is not the same as the benefit estimator tool available to all online accounts.
  2. Once you receive your estimate, complete a retirement application online or request a paper form.

More retirement information.

How do I update my information?

Make most information updates through your online account. You can also log in to confirm your information is correct.

  • Name change: If you are employed, make this change through your employer—they will update DRS. If you are separated, update your name by completing this form.
  • Beneficiary update: Update your beneficiaries through your online account. If you are already retired, there may be limits to how you can update your beneficiary or survivor.

How do I get a pension verification letter?

See the steps to get your letter instantly through your online account. You can download this letter any time after you receive your first pension payment.

What can you tell me about these deductions?

Health care: Contact your retiree health care provider for questions about health care deductions. This amount is not determined by DRS.

Combined Funds Drive (CFD) donations:  CFD policy automatically continues any recurring payroll contributions current state employees may have into their retirement. Update your selections through CFD.

Other deductions: If you have deductions from other organizations, such as RPEC, you will need to contact these organizations to change or remove the deductions.


More information

  1. Be sure to check your plan page for information.
  2. Try the search box at the top of the page.
  3. Find more popular topics covered in the DRS sitemap.
  4. View the DRS glossary for commonly mixed up terms.
  5. Not finding what you need? Contact us.

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