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    Retirement Information 

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    Retirement

    As Washington state employees, eligible Seattle Public Schools employees participate in the State retirement plan, which includes an employer contribution rate.  Visit the Department of Retirement Systems for more information. 

    Tax sheltered annuities - 403b

    Seattle Public Schools tax sheltered annuities program is administered by Carruth Compliance Consulting.


    How Do I Retire?

    If you are planning to retire from Seattle Public Schools and are eligible for a pension, follow these steps:

    You must formally request a benefit estimate and complete a pension application with the WA State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS). It is preferable to do this via the member login on the DRS website, www.drs.wa.gov. As an alternative, you may request that these items be mailed to you by calling DRS at 1-800-547-6657. A 3-6 month lead time is recommended for timely processing.

    Complete a Notice of Separation form and submit a copy to Human Resources as well as your supervisor. After your notice is received and processed:

    • You will receive a confirmation email and link to an optional exit survey
    • Payroll Services will mail you a retirement packet with VEBA and Sick Leave Cash Out forms included

    Important Facts Affecting Your Decision

    • Sick leave cash outs do not affect your pension; vacation leave cash outs affect TRS/PERS Plan 1 pensions only.
    • After your final pay is reported, DRS will conduct an audit and your final benefit amount will be determined. This is generally done within 6 months.
    • TRS/SERS Plan 3 members have many options regarding defined contributions. Informational pamphlets are available on the DRS website.
    • If you are a member of Plan 2 or 3 and work a reduced work year, the date you choose for your DRS retirement date will affect your pension.

    Please refer to the July vs. September comparison below:

    July 1 retirement example

    If you retire July 2017, your cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) starts the following year on July 1, 2018. Because you chose July over September, you forfeit service credit for the months of July & August (approx. 2 months), which is minimal.

    September 1 retirement example

    If you retire September 2017, your COLA won’t go into effect until July 2019. That’s one year and 10 months after your retirement. This is because you must be retired for an entire year before receiving your first COLA payment. And since COLAs only go into effect on July 1, you must wait for the next July 1 in 2019. You will earn approx. 2 more months of service credit by waiting until September to retire, but you will delay receiving your COLA benefits for nearly two years.

    So what’s best? The fact is, if you wait until September, the increase in your benefit is generally minimal. By retiring July 1st you will start receiving pension payments two months earlier plus be eligible for the COLA nearly one year sooner. You will also continue to receive your salary along with your pension in July & August. These are the reasons most school year employees retire July 1st.

    There may be other factors to consider that are unique to your situation. You should ultimately consult a DRS retirement analyst for assistance in determining the most appropriate retirement date for you.

    Medical Coverage

    If you retire during the school year and your last day is on or before the 15th of the month, your coverage ends the last day of that month. If your last day is on or after the 16th of the month, your coverage ends the last day of the following month.

    Employees working in a school year position will receive medical benefits through September 30th if they work until the last day of their contract position.

    A COBRA notification regarding continuation of District benefits will automatically be mailed to your home before your coverage ends. For more information, please contact the district benefit brokers, Sprague Israel Giles Inc., via the benefits helpline at 206-957-7066.

    TRS, PERS or SERS retirees and vested plan 3 members, may have the right to medical or Medicare supplemental coverage under the Health Care Authority K-12 Retiree program, also known as PEBB. For more information please contact the Health Care Authority at 1-800-200-1004 or visit www.pebb.hca.wa.gov.

    Please Note: If you wish to join a PEBB plan, you must enroll no later than 60 days after your district or COBRA coverage ends. If you choose an alternate qualified health plan, you must notify the Health Care Authority that you are waiving your right to the PEBB program at this time or you give up all rights to the program at a later date.

    SHIBA (State Health Insurance Benefit Advisers), a non-profit organization, is available to assist with your PEBB choices. You may contact them at 1-800-562-6900 to set up an appointment.

    Social Security

    Full retirement age is 65 for those born prior to 1938 and age 67 for those born 1960 or later. You may receive social security benefits as early as 62, but your benefit will be permanently reduced. Medicare is available if you are 65 or older, disabled or have kidney failure. For more information about Social Security or Medicare, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.