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PDFWAC 415-112-504

What are the benefit options for Plan 1 members?

Upon retirement from Plan 1 for service under RCW 41.32.480 or disability under RCW 41.32.550 (1)(c), you must choose to have your retirement allowance paid to you by one of the options described in this section. You may also select an optional supplemental cost-of-living (COLA) adjustment.
(1) May I withdraw any of my contributions? You may withdraw some or all of your accumulated contributions as follows:
(a) If you retire according to the provisions of RCW 41.32.498, you may withdraw some or all of your accumulated contributions at the time of retirement. Your monthly retirement allowance will be actuarially reduced according to the amount you withdraw.
(b) If you terminate service due to a disability under the conditions of RCW 41.32.550 (1)(a), you may withdraw all your accumulated contributions in a lump sum payment. You will receive no monthly retirement allowance.
(2) Which option will pay my beneficiary a monthly allowance after my death? Options described in subsection (3)(c) through (e) of this section include a survivor feature. The person you name at the time of retirement to receive a monthly allowance after your death is referred to as your "survivor beneficiary." Upon your death your survivor beneficiary will be entitled to receive a monthly allowance for the duration of his or her life. Your monthly retirement allowance will be actuarially reduced to offset the cost of the survivor feature. See WAC 415-02-380 for more information on how your monthly allowance is affected by choosing a survivor feature.
(3) What are my benefit options?
(a) Maximum benefit allowance (no survivor feature). The department will pay you the maximum benefit allowed by statute. Under this option you will receive a monthly retirement allowance throughout your lifetime. Your monthly allowance will cease upon your death, and any remaining balance of accumulated contributions will be:
(i) Retained by the retirement fund if you retired for service under RCW 41.32.497 or 41.32.498; or
(ii) Paid according to subsection (9) of this section if you retired because of disability and were receiving a monthly retirement allowance under RCW 41.32.550 (1)(c).
(b) Option one: Standard allowance for service retirement (no survivor feature). The department will pay you a monthly retirement allowance throughout your lifetime. Your monthly allowance will cease upon your death, and any remaining balance of accumulated contributions will be paid according to subsection (9) of this section.
(i) This benefit option has a lower monthly allowance than the maximum benefit allowance in (a) of this subsection because, with this option, any remaining accumulated contributions will be paid to your beneficiaries upon your death.
(ii) If you are retiring because of disability under RCW 41.32.550 (1)(c), you will not benefit from this option because your beneficiaries will receive any remaining accumulated contributions under the maximum benefit allowance in (a) of this subsection.
(c) Option two: Joint and whole allowance. The department will pay you a reduced monthly retirement allowance throughout your lifetime. After your death, the department will pay your survivor beneficiary a monthly allowance equal to the gross monthly retirement allowance you were receiving.
(d) Option three: Joint and one-half allowance. The department will pay you a reduced monthly retirement allowance throughout your lifetime. After your death, the department will pay your survivor beneficiary a monthly allowance equal to one-half of the gross monthly retirement allowance you were receiving.
(e) Option four: Joint and two-thirds allowance (available to members retiring on or after January 1, 1996). The department will pay you a reduced monthly retirement allowance throughout your lifetime. After your death, the department will pay your survivor beneficiary a monthly allowance equal to two-thirds (66.667%) of the gross monthly retirement allowance you were receiving.
(4) Do I need my spouse's consent on the option I choose? If you are married, you must provide your spouse's notarized signature indicating consent to the retirement option you select. If you do not provide spousal consent, the department will pay you a monthly retirement allowance based on option three (joint and one-half allowance) and record your spouse as the survivor beneficiary as required by RCW 41.32.530(2). If your survivor beneficiary has been designated by a dissolution order according to subsection (5) of this section, which was filed with the department at least thirty days before your retirement date, spousal consent is not required.
(5) Can a dissolution order require that a former spouse be designated as a survivor beneficiary? Yes. A dissolution order may require that a former spouse be designated as a survivor beneficiary. The department is required to pay survivor benefits to a former spouse pursuant to a dissolution order that complies with RCW 41.50.790.
(6) What is the supplemental COLA option? In addition to choosing a retirement benefit option described in subsection (3) of this section, you may choose a supplemental annual COLA. If you select this option, your monthly retirement allowance will be actuarially reduced to offset the cost of this benefit.
(7) What happens if I choose a benefit option with a survivor feature and my survivor beneficiary dies before I do? Your monthly retirement allowance will increase, provided you submit proof of your survivor beneficiary's death to the department. The increase will begin accruing the first day of the month following the death.
(a) Members who retire on or after January 1, 1996: Your increased monthly allowance will be:
(i) The amount you would have received had you chosen the maximum benefit at the time of retirement;
(ii) Minus any reduction in the maximum allowance resulting from a withdrawal of contributions;
(iii) Plus any COLAs you received prior to your survivor beneficiary's death, based on your original option selection.
Example:
Lucinda retires from TRS Plan 1 in 1996. Lucinda withdraws some of her contributions, which actuarially reduces her maximum monthly allowance from $2,000 to $1,963.86. She chooses a benefit option with a survivor feature, and names Garth, her husband, as her survivor beneficiary. As a result, Lucinda's monthly allowance is further reduced from $1,963.86 to $1,846.03. Garth dies in January 2001. Lucinda's monthly allowance will increase to $1,963.86, the amount she would have received had she chosen the maximum benefit option (after reduction for her withdrawals). The total amount of the COLAs she received (based on her prior monthly allowance) will be added to the $1,963.86.
(b) Members who retired before January 1, 1996: Your monthly retirement allowance will be adjusted according to the provisions of RCW 41.32.530(3).
(8) May I change my benefit option after retirement? Your choice of a benefit option is irrevocable with the following three exceptions:
(a) Return to membership. If you retire and then return to membership, you may choose a different retirement option upon your subsequent retirement. See RCW 41.32.044.
(b) Postretirement marriage option. If you select the maximum benefit option or the standard allowance option at the time of retirement and marry after retirement, you may select a benefit option with a survivor feature and name your current spouse as survivor beneficiary, provided that:
(i) Your benefit is not subject to a property division obligation pursuant to a dissolution order. See WAC 415-02-500;
(ii) The selection is made during a one-year window, on or after the date of the first anniversary and before the second anniversary of your postretirement marriage;
(iii) You provide a copy of your certified marriage certificate to the department; and
(iv) You provide proof of your current spouse's birth date.
(c) Removal of a nonspouse survivor option. If you select a benefit option with a survivor feature and name a nonspouse as survivor beneficiary at the time of retirement, you may remove that survivor beneficiary designation and have your benefit adjusted to a standard allowance. You may exercise this option one time only.
(9) Who will receive the balance of my accumulated contributions, if any, after my death?
(a) If you do not have a survivor beneficiary at the time of your death, and you die before the total of the annuity payments paid equals the amount of your accumulated contributions at the time of retirement, the balance will be paid according to this subsection.
(i) Except as provided in (a)(ii) of this subsection, any remaining balance will be paid to the person or entity (i.e., trust, organization, or estate) you have nominated by written designation, executed and filed with the department.
(ii) If you retired for service and chose the maximum benefit option, any remaining balance will be retained by the retirement fund.
(b) If you have a survivor beneficiary at the time of your death, and your survivor beneficiary dies before the total of the retirement allowance paid equals the amount of your accumulated contributions at the time of retirement, the balance will be paid to the person or entity (i.e., trust, organization, or estate) your survivor beneficiary has nominated by written designation, executed and filed with the department.
(10) For more information, see RCW 41.32.530 and 41.32.550.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 41.50.050(5). WSR 13-18-034, § 415-112-504, filed 8/28/13, effective 10/1/13. Statutory Authority: RCW 41.50.050(5), 41.32.530, 41.32.550. WSR 05-23-062, § 415-112-504, filed 11/14/05, effective 12/15/05.]
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