Planning for Retirement

District Separation Information

Once you have made the decision to retire, please complete the district’s Separation of Employment Form and return it to Human Resources as far in advance of your retirement date as possible. If you have any questions about the separation form, please call HR at (509) 354-7265.

In determining your separation date, please keep in mind your resignation timing affects your health and pension benefits. The Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) has some helpful information regarding the timing of your separation and factors to consider in choosing your retirement date: DRS Notice-Resignation Timing Health Benefits

Sick Leave Sell Back

As a separating employee, you may be eligible to sell back sick leave. Eligibility is determined by your age and number of years of service credit at the time of separation. If you are in TRS or SERS Plan 2 or 3, and separating employment but NOT collecting a retirement benefit and NOT transferring to another school district, please contact the Payroll office to determine if you are eligible for sick leave sell back.

If you are eligible, the completed Request for Sick Leave Sell-Back form must be returned to the Payroll office prior to Jan. 1 of the calendar year following your last date of employment. If your last day of employment was during the last three months of the calendar year, you have until March 31 of the following year to submit your request. Please email SPSBenefits@SpokaneSchools.org for the form.

NOTE:  If your employee group has selected the VEBA III retirement option, your sick leave sell-back will be subject to VEBA III procedures. Review the current year’s VEBA Sick Leave at Retirement page to verify your bargaining group’s payout option.

Vacation or Personal Leave Sell Back

Any eligible personal or vacation time will be paid out in the month after separation.

VEBA

If enrolled and eligible, your VEBA Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) can be used to pay your post separation medical premiums before and after age 65 – including Medicare and Medicare supplement premiums. You may even be able to set up automatic premium reimbursement through VEBA.

Find more information here, call 1-888-828-4953 or email customercare@veba.org.

Retirement Income Resources

Department of Retirement Systems

Be sure to review the retirement eligibility criteria for your DRS Plan. This information can be found in the Plan handbooks on the DRS website.

Once you have made the decision to retire, you will want to contact DRS at 1-800-547-6657 or go to their website How do I retire with DRS? to review the resources available. DRS also has a comprehensive  Retirement Planning Checklist to help guide you through the process.

You should create or log into your DRS online account to access a calculator that lets you estimate your pension benefit at retirement. You can also call DRS for an official estimate of your monthly benefit payment.

DRS also has several webinars available on Early Retirement, Getting Ready for Retirement and Applying for Retirement. They also have Medicare and Social Security Basics webinars.  

 

Social Security Administration

Learn about your Social Security retirements benefits online where you can access a benefit estimator, create or login to your account and apply for retirement benefits.

 

Deferred Compensation Plan

If you have been participating in the Deferred Compensation Program (DCP) you will want to contact VOYA Financial at 888-327-5596 to see what your retirement income options are.

 

403(b)

If you have established a 403(b) Tax Sheltered Annuity, you will want to contact your personal Financial Advisor regarding your options for retirement income. You can reach US OMNI directly at 877-544-6664.

Health Insurance Information

Retiree Health Insurance Webinars:

If you are considering retiring in the near future and are interested in learning about Retiree Health Insurance offered through the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program, you can now register to attend a free webinar.

Monthly webinars, hosted by Outreach and Training staff from the Health Care Authority (HCA), will provide an overview of retiree health insurance available through the PEBB Program. Learn about eligibility criteria, medical and dental plan availability, monthly premiums, and the enrollment process.

While retiree health insurance is not offered through the SEBB Program, it is available to eligible school employees through the PEBB Program. 

PEBB Insurance Information

You may be able to enroll in the PEBB retiree insurance coverage if you meet the eligibility requirements. To be eligible you must be a vested member and meet the eligibility criteria to retire from a Washington state-sponsored retirement plan when your employer coverage, COBRA coverage or continuation coverage ends.

Call the PEBB at 1-800-200-1004 to request the PEBB Retiree Enrollment Guide for more information. The PEBB Retiree Benefits webpage  has information on preparing for retirement, PEBB eligibility information, plan choices and costs, as well as Medicare and PEBB program benefit information. PEBB also has a Preparing for Retirement Health Options Checklist.

If you are eligible for the PEBB coverage, you may be able to defer that coverage until a later date if you meet the deferral requirements and return the required forms within the 60-day time limit. 

Webinars are available for an overview of the PEBB Retiree Insurance to provide information on eligibility, plan availability and premium costs.  Select from the available dates under the School Employees section of this link.  

The Health Care Authority (HCA), also has a timeline for those planning to retire from a DRS Plan. 

SEBB Insurance Continuation

If you do not meet the DRS criteria for retirement or choose not to retire when your employment ends, you may have the option to enroll in COBRA coverage as a bridge to the PEBB retiree coverage.

COBRA continuation can last up to 18 months. Each individual (employee or dependent) who lost their SEBB employer-based group health plan due to a qualifying event has an independent election right to SEBB Continuation Coverage (COBRA).  The HCA will mail COBRA enrollment information directly to your home address.

The SEBBs COBRA site has information on the eligibility and costs of the various plans. 

You may be eligible to continue some or all of your life insurance by applying for the portability or conversion option no later than 60 days after employer-based group medical insurance coverage ends.  Contact MetLife directly at 1-833-854-9624 for more information.

Medicare

Find information on Medicare eligibility and plans here. If you are already enrolled in Medicare Part A and want to enroll in Medicare part B due to loss of employment or group health coverage, you may be required to have the district complete the CMS-L654 Form. If so, you can e-mail the form to the Benefits department at SPSBenefits@SpokaneSchools.org to be completed and returned to you to submit to Social Security.

Education Resources & Webinars

Department of Retirement Systems

PEBB Retirement Health Insurance

Thinking About Retirement? Lessons to avoid common retirement mistakes. Article by Fred Yancey and Mike Moran from The Nexus Group who cover pension/retirement/health insurance issues on behalf of WASA and AWSP. 

 

Social Security Retirement

Medicare

 

Washington State School Retirees’ Association

The WSSRA (formerly the Washington State Retired Teachers’ Association) aims to provide leadership and promote action relevant to all retired and active school personnel. They offer annual "101-level" Pre Retirement Webinars that cover the basics of the “Big Five” of retirement planning—DRS, HCA/PEBB, Social Security, Medicare and VEBA. More information can be found at WSSRA's website under Events.