How to apply for retirement

If you’re thinking about retirement, DRS recommends using the estimate calculator in your online retirement account, which offers lots of information to help you plan your retirement and to consider beneficiary and survivor options.

If you’re planning to retire within the next three months, your first step is to request a benefit estimate from DRS.

You can do this by logging into your online retirement account and providing your planned retirement date. If you are a member of multiple DRS retirement systems or if you prefer to complete a paper application, DRS will mail you an application with your benefit estimate.

A Retirement Specialist will review your account and provide a document that shows your estimated retirement benefit. This will also include information about how your benefit will be reduced if you select a survivorship option. Expect the official estimate to arrive five weeks before the planned retirement date; please contact DRS if you’ve not received your estimate by that time.

While DRS prioritizes applications for upcoming retirement dates, it’s best to complete your retirement application at least 30 days before you plan to retire.

The application will ask you to answer a series of questions and to provide some personal information, including:

  • your current marital status and whether any portion of your retirement has been awarded as part of a divorce or separation;
  • the date you will separate from employment and the date you will begin your retirement;
  • whether you will choose the Single Life Benefit (Option 1) or take a reduced benefit to provide a survivorship option (Option 2, 3 or 4);
  • the Social Security number and date of birth for any survivor or beneficiary selected;
  • if you select a survivorship, a copy of a document that confirms their date of birth, such as a driver’s license or passport;
  • federal income tax withholding – similar to when you start a new job and fill out a W-4, you will select “Married” or “Single” and the number of allowances. You can use this calculator to determine how much will be withheld;
  • whether you would like to purchase an additional supplementary annuity
  • routing and account number for your bank or credit union for direct deposit; payments will always be made on the last banking day of the month;
  • if completing a paper application, your signature will need to be notarized; and
  • if married and not providing a survivorship option to your spouse, your spouse will need to sign an acknowledgement and have their signature notarized.

After completing your retirement application, DRS will send you a confirmation email or letter.

All of the above is for your monthly pension payments. If you are a member of Plan 3 and you would like to learn more about withdrawals from your investment account, visit your plan guide: PERSSERS or TRS. Consider attending a DRS seminar. Or watch this step-by-step online application guide: 

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