WAC 415-103-215

What are the WSPRS Plan 1 retirement benefit options?

This section only applies to members commissioned before January 1, 2003.
(1) When retiring for service, a married member can choose either Option A (historic retirement option) under RCW 43.43.260 and 43.43.270 or Option B under RCW 43.43.278. Both options include a survivor feature that entitles the eligible surviving spouse and any eligible children to receive a monthly benefit after the retiree dies.
(2) Option A (historic retirement option and survivor benefit). The department pays the retiree a monthly retirement benefit in accordance with RCW 43.43.260 (Benefits). The department pays survivor benefits in accordance with RCW 43.43.270 (Retirement allowances).
(a) Surviving spouse. When the retiree dies, the department pays the retiree's surviving spouse a monthly retirement benefit equal to the gross monthly benefit then payable to the retiree, or a benefit equal to fifty percent of the average final salary (AFS) used to determine the retiree's benefit, whichever is less.
(b) Surviving children when there is a surviving spouse. If the retiree has a surviving spouse and surviving unmarried children under the age of eighteen years, each child shall be entitled to a benefit equal to five percent of the retiree's average final salary (AFS) at retirement. The combined benefits to the surviving spouse and all children cannot exceed sixty percent of the retiree's AFS.
(3) Option B (actuarially equivalent retirement option and survivor benefit). The department pays the retiree a monthly retirement benefit that is actuarially reduced from the benefit calculated under Option A. The department pays survivor benefits in accordance with RCW 43.43.278 using an actuarial reduction. See WAC 415-02-380 for more information on how your benefit is affected by choosing an optional survivor feature.
(a) Surviving spouse. When the retiree dies, the department pays the retiree's surviving spouse a monthly retirement benefit equal to the gross monthly benefit then payable to the retiree.
(b) Surviving children when there is a surviving spouse. If the retiree has a surviving spouse and surviving unmarried children under the age of eighteen years, each surviving unmarried child under the age of eighteen years shall be entitled to a benefit equal to five percent of the retiree's average final salary (AFS) at retirement.
(4) Benefits included in Option A and Option B.
(a) Cost-of-living adjustment. The retiree's annual adjustment every July is based upon the provisions in RCW 43.43.260(5). The annual adjustment applies to the eligible surviving spouse and any eligible children, who receive a monthly benefit after the retiree dies.
(b) Surviving spouse eligibility. To be eligible for a benefit, the surviving spouse of a retiree must either:
(i) Have been married to the retiree prior to his or her retirement and continuously thereafter until the retiree's death; or
(ii) Have been married to the retiree for at least two years prior to the retiree's death.
(c) Remarriage of surviving spouse. If a surviving spouse who is receiving benefits under this subsection marries another member of WSPRS and that retiree dies before the spouse, the spouse will receive only the higher of the two survivors' benefits for which he or she qualifies. The surviving spouse cannot receive more than one survivor benefit at a time under this subsection.
(d) Surviving children when there is no surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse or the surviving spouse dies, the unmarried child or children under the age of eighteen years shall be entitled to a benefit equal to thirty percent of the retiree's AFS for one child and an additional ten percent of AFS for each additional child. The combined benefits to the surviving children cannot exceed sixty percent of the retiree's AFS. Benefit payments under this subsection will be divided equally among the children.
(e) End of benefits. All benefits end when the surviving spouse dies or the youngest unmarried child reaches age eighteen, whichever occurs last.
(f) Distribution of remaining contributions. Any remaining balance of the retiree's accumulated contributions will be paid to:
(i) The person(s), trust, organization, or retiree's estate specified by the retiree on the appropriate department designated form, duly executed and properly on file with the department on or before the retiree's death; or
(ii) To the retiree's legal representative, if no person or entity designated in (f)(i) of this subsection is living or in existence at the time of the retiree's death.
(5) Pop-up provision.
(a) This subsection only applies to members retiring on or after July 1, 2000, who select Option B.
(b) If the retiree and spouse divorce, or if the spouse dies before the retiree, the retiree's monthly retirement benefit increases, effective the first day of the following month, to:
(i) The amount that the retiree would have received had the retiree chosen Option A at retirement; plus
(ii) Any cost of living adjustments (COLA) the retiree received prior to the divorce or the spouse's death.
(c) Pop-up recalculation example:
Option B: When Bob retired in September 2010, his Option A monthly benefit was $3,000. He selected Option B so that his spouse, Linda, would receive his monthly benefit and COLA after he dies. Bob is 5 years younger than Linda. For illustration purposes in this example, 0.967 is being used as the Option B actuarial reduction factor (actuarial factors change periodically). As a result, the department calculated Bob's Option B benefit amount by multiplying $3,000 (Option A) by 0.967. Bob's Option B monthly benefit amount at retirement was $2,901. Bob received his first COLA on July 1, 2012, in the amount of $87.03. Bob's monthly benefit amount with the COLA was $2,988.03.
Linda died in September 2012. Under the "pop-up" provision, Bob's monthly benefit increased in October 2012 to a total of $3,087.03. His new benefit amount included the $3,000 he would have received had he originally chosen Option A, plus the COLA he received in 2012 ($87.03).
(d) If a retiree whose benefit increases under this subsection dies and there is no eligible child, all benefit payments end. Any remaining balance of the retiree's accumulated contributions will be paid to:
(i) The person(s), trust, organization, or retiree's estate specified by the retiree on the appropriate department designated form, duly executed and properly on file with the department on or before the retiree's death; or
(ii) To the retiree's legal representative, if no person or entity designated in (d)(i) of this subsection is living or in existence at the time of the retiree's death.
(6) See chapter 415-02 WAC starting with WAC 415-02-300 for information on how the department uses factors and schedules to calculate retirement benefits.
(7) Terms used in this section:
"Pop-up" - See WAC 415-02-030.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 41.50.050(5). WSR 13-18-034, § 415-103-215, filed 8/28/13, effective 10/1/13; WSR 10-16-086, § 415-103-215, filed 7/30/10, effective 9/1/10. Statutory Authority: RCW 41.50.050(5), 43.43.260, [43.43.]270, [43.43.]278, [43.43.]280(1). WSR 02-23-037, § 415-103-215, filed 11/13/02, effective 1/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 41.50.050(5), 43.43.142, 43.43.278, 43.43.280. WSR 01-13-010, § 415-103-215, filed 6/8/01, effective 7/9/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.43.278 and 41.50.050. WSR 00-11-103, § 415-103-215, filed 5/18/00, effective 6/18/00.]