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Preparing to Retire
Retiring Under PERS 3 Rules

UNDERSTAND

PERS Plan 3 is a two-part, hybrid retirement plan that pairs a secure formula-based income (defined benefit) with your own contributions and investment earnings (defined contribution) to provide your retirement income.

Under the defined benefit portion of this plan, your age and length of service determine when you can retire from active UW service. You are also eligible to retire from the UW and begin a PERS income if you meet the following criteria:

Type of Retirement Retirement Age & Benefit
Normal retirement Age 65 if you have at least:
  • 10 service-credit years,
  • 5 service-credit years provided that at least 12 months were earned after age 44, or
  • 5 service-credit years were earned in PERS Plan 2 before June 2003 and transferred to PERS Plan 3.
Early retirement

Age 62 with at least 30 service-credit years: Unreduced benefit.

Age 55 or older with at least 10 service-credit years: Reduced benefit.
Table 2 on page 3 of the DRS Benefits Estimate Worksheet shows the Early Retirement Factors that apply to early retirement options.

To review all PERS 3 early retirement options and estimate the defined benefit you will receive at retirement, download the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) Benefit Estimate Worksheet.

ACT

Purchasing Service Credit

If you are eligible, you may purchase additional service credit to increase your monthly retirement benefit. Consider the following:

Review the DRS website for more information about this option:
www.drs.wa.gov/publications/member/multisystem/purchase.htm

Steps to Retire

Use the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) Planning Checklist to create a personal planning calendar that includes DRS's recommended steps, preferably at least two years from retirement.

Use the UW Retirement Check List to add important UW recommended steps, preferably at least one year from retirement. Contacts and resources are listed on page 2 of the Check List. (Disregard steps tagged "for UWRP Participants" unless you are a current participant in the UWRP.)

Please keep both check lists for your reference.

EXPLORE

Do you know how much your retirement benefit will be? Do you know what other income will you have available to you in retirement? See the DRS Lifetime Retirement Planning website for answers to these and other questions. Use the benefits estimator tool and/or download checklists and publications here too.

Refer to the Social Security Office Retirement Estimator Benefit Calculator for an estimate of your social security retirement benefit.

Learn about additional retiree insurance options available to you.

Are you considering post-retirement UW employment? If so, note that this requires a minimum of one full calendar month break in service after retirement—no exceptions—as well as other post-retirement employment restrictions. Failure to understand and track post-retirement employment limits can result in the retiree’s loss of pension. Learn more about returning to work as a DRS retiree.

Retirement Compensation Calculation for July 2009–June 2011:
Laws of 2009; Chapter 30

In calculating average final compensation under this law for a member of PERS plan 1, 2, or 3, the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) shall include any compensation forgone by the member during the 2009-2011 fiscal biennium as a result of reduced work hours, voluntary leave without pay, or temporary furloughs if the reduced compensation is an integral part of the employer's expenditure reduction efforts, as certified by the employer. At retirement, certification for UW retirees will be provided by the Benefits Office directly to DRS. Neither retirees nor their departments need to provide special information to facilitate this certification. Please contact DRS directly for more information.