WSR 04-01-049

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

RETIREMENT SYSTEMS

[ Filed December 11, 2003, 10:46 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 03-07-062.

Title of Rule: WAC 415-104-475 How does a fire fighter who provides emergency medical services transfer PERS service credit to LEOFF Plan 2?

Purpose: Implements the "EMTS into LEOFF" legislation, chapter 293, Laws of 2003 (SHB 1202).

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 41.50.050(5).

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 41.26.547.

Summary: Implements "EMTS into LEOFF" legislation.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Implement chapter 293, Laws of 2003 (SHB 1202).

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Merry A. Kogut, P.O. Box 48380, Olympia, WA 98504-8380, (360) 664-7291; Implementation and Enforcement: Dorothy Bailey, P.O. Box 48380, Olympia, WA 98504-8380, (360) 664-7291.

Name of Proponent: Department of Retirement Systems, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Please see Purpose above.

Proposal does not change existing rules.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. These amendments have no effect on businesses.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. The Department of Retirement Systems is not one of the named departments in RCW 34.05.328.

Hearing Location: Department of Retirement Systems, 6835 Capitol Boulevard, Conference Room 115, Tumwater, WA, on January 27, 2004, at 9:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact the rules coordinator by seven days before the hearing, if possible, phone (360) 664-7291, TTY (360) 586-5450, e-mail merryk@drs.wa.gov.

Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, Merry A. Kogut, Rules Coordinator, Department of Retirement Systems, P.O. Box 48380, Olympia, WA 98504-8380, e-mail Merryk@drs.wa.gov, fax (360) 753-3166 by 5:00 p.m., on January 27, 2004.

Date of Intended Adoption: No sooner than January 28, 2004.

December 10, 2003

Merry A. Kogut

Rules Coordinator

OTS-6848.1


NEW SECTION
WAC 415-104-475   How does a fire fighter who provides emergency medical services transfer PERS service credit to LEOFF Plan 2?   (1) Who may use this section? You may use this section if you:

(a) Are currently employed in a law enforcement officers' and fire fighters' (LEOFF) Plan 2 covered position working for a fire department;

(b) Were formerly employed in a position providing emergency medical services and the position was covered under PERS Plan 1 or 2; and

(c) Worked for an employer that relocated your position to a fire department.

(2) How do I know if my job providing emergency medical services was "relocated" to a fire department? To be considered "relocated":

(a) The duties of the position must have required providing emergency medical services and the position must have been covered under PERS Plan 1 or 2;

(b) The employer must have been a city, town, county, or district that transferred the position to a fire department; and

(c) The fire department must have covered the transferred position under LEOFF Plan 2.

(3) I worked as an emergency medical technician/paramedic (EMT) and I am now enrolled in LEOFF Plan 2. Can I transfer my EMT service into LEOFF Plan 2? Yes. You may transfer your EMT service into LEOFF Plan 2 if:

(a) You provided emergency medical services as an EMT; and

(b) You are in a LEOFF Plan 2 position with the fire department as a result of your employer relocating your position as described in subsection (2) of this section.

(4) Who determines whether or not my job providing emergency medical services was "relocated" to a fire department? The department of retirement systems (DRS) will determine whether or not your job was relocated based on the criteria described in subsection (2) of this section. To do so, DRS will contact your former employer that covered your job providing emergency medical services under PERS and verify:

(a) That your position was relocated to a fire department; and

(b) The number of months you worked in that position.

(5) I formerly worked as an EMT for a PERS employer that relocated my job to a fire department. I was not working in the job at the time it was relocated, but am now working for the fire department in the same job. Can I transfer my PERS EMT service to LEOFF Plan 2? Yes. Even though you were not working in the job at the time it was relocated, you can transfer your PERS EMT service as long as you are employed with the fire department covered under LEOFF Plan 2 at the time you request the transfer.

(6) Can I transfer PERS EMT service into LEOFF Plan 2 if I worked for an employer that did not "relocate" the position to a fire department? No. To transfer PERS EMT service to LEOFF Plan 2, you must have worked in a position that was relocated as described in subsections (1) and (2) of this section.

(7) What do I need to do if I have PERS EMT service that can be transferred to LEOFF Plan 2?

(a) Contact the LEOFF unit at DRS. Once DRS verifies you meet the criteria to transfer as described in subsections (1) and (2) of this section, DRS will provide you an EMT Transfer Packet that includes an "EMT transfer cost estimate and benefit comparison." DRS will also provide you an "EMT Request for Transfer Form." You must complete, sign and return the form to the LEOFF unit to choose to transfer the service credit.

(b) You must pay the difference in the member contribution rates between the PERS rate and the LEOFF rate, plus interest, for each month of EMT service that you transfer.

(8) How is the interest calculated? Interest is calculated at eight percent annually, compounded monthly, and is based on the difference between the required PERS contribution amount and the required LEOFF Plan 2 contribution amount for each month you transfer. DRS calculates the interest for the rate difference for each month being transferred, beginning with the oldest month, then totals each month's interest calculation for the "interest" portion of the bill.

Example: DRS creates a bill in October 2003 to transfer the months of June and July 2002. The member contribution rate difference for each month is $35.00. The interest for June would be $4.18, and for July $3.92. The total interest charge for these two months is $8.10; the total bill is $78.10 ($35.00 x 2 + $8.10). The interest calculated for June 2002 is more because it includes one more month of interest than the month of July 2002. The chart below shows how the interest is calculated:


Month/Year of Interest Calculation Interest for June 2002 @ .006671 Interest for July 2002 @ .00667
June 2002 $35.00 .23
July 2002 $35.23 .23 $35.00 .23
August 2002 $35.46 .24 $35.23 .23
September 2002 $35.70 .24 $35.46 .24
October 2002 $35.94 .24 $35.70 .24
November 2002 $36.18 .24 $35.94 .24
December 2002 $36.42 .24 $36.18 .24
January 2003 $36.66 .24 $36.42 .24
February 2003 $36.90 .25 $36.66 .24
March 2003 $37.15 .25 $36.90 .25
April 2003 $37.40 .25 $37.15 .25
May 2003 $37.65 .25 $37.40 .25
June 2003 $37.90 .25 $37.65 .25
July 2003 $38.15 .25 $37.90 .25
August 2003 $38.40 .26 $38.15 .25
September 2003 $38.66 .26 $38.40 .26
October 2003 $38.92 .26 $38.66 .26
Total
October 2003 $4.18 $3.92

(9) Do I have to pay the bill in a lump sum? No. You may make installment payments. Interest will be recalculated each month against the unpaid balance.

(10) What is the time frame for transferring? You must make the decision to transfer no later than June 30, 2008. You must complete the transfer by June 30, 2013.

(11) When will the EMT service be transferred into my LEOFF Plan 2 account? The EMT service will be transferred after:

(a) The bill is paid in full; and

(b) Five years have passed after DRS receives your request to transfer.

(12) What if I decide not to transfer my PERS EMT service into LEOFF Plan 2? Your EMT service will remain in PERS and you may either withdraw or begin receiving a PERS retirement benefit when you are eligible. If you do not withdraw, you will be a dual member of PERS and LEOFF Plan 2 under the provisions of chapter 41.54 RCW.

(13) Can I retire before the transfer is completed? Yes.

(a) You may retire from LEOFF Plan 2 once you are eligible, but your retirement benefit will be calculated using only your LEOFF Plan 2 service.

(b) After the conditions described in subsection (11) of this section have been met, the PERS EMT service will be transferred into your LEOFF Plan 2 account and your retirement benefit will be recalculated and increased to include the transferred service. The increase will be prospective only from the day following the five-year waiting period. For example, if you requested the transfer on September 15, 2003, and you retired on August 1, 2007, your retirement benefit would be increased on September 16, 2008.

(14) What if I request to transfer but change my mind before the transfer is completed? If you decide to not transfer your PERS EMT service into LEOFF Plan 2, you must notify the LEOFF unit at DRS within five years from the date you requested the transfer. LEOFF staff will cancel your request and refund any money you have paid on the transfer bill.

(15) Can I transfer non-EMT PERS service into LEOFF Plan 2? No. Only the PERS service credit you earned working as an EMT for an employer that relocated your EMT position to a fire department can be transferred into LEOFF Plan 2.

(16) Can I transfer my PERS EMT service into LEOFF Plan 2 and withdraw my non-EMT PERS service? Yes. You can withdraw your non-EMT PERS service as soon as the PERS EMT service is fully transferred to LEOFF Plan 2. To be fully transferred, the conditions described in subsection (11) of this section must be met.

(17) Can I transfer my PERS EMT service into LEOFF Plan 1? No. If you reentered LEOFF Plan 1 membership after your position was relocated to a fire department, you may choose to remain in PERS or return to LEOFF Plan 1 membership, but you may not transfer the PERS EMT service into LEOFF Plan 1.

(18) What happens if I die before the PERS EMT service is transferred into my LEOFF Plan 2 account?

(a) If your bill is not paid in full at the time of your death, the transfer will be canceled and any payments made will be refunded to your designated beneficiary.

(b) If the bill is paid in full at the time of your death, but the five-year waiting period has not expired, then the following rules will apply.

(i) If you die with less than ten years of service, or you have at least ten years of service but you don't have an eligible surviving spouse or minor children, the contributions in your LEOFF 2 account, including any payments made on the EMT optional service bill, will be refunded to your designated beneficiary.

(ii) If you die with at least ten years of service and have an eligible surviving spouse or minor children and if your spouse or children choose a monthly benefit payment instead of a lump sum payment, the monthly benefit will be increased the day following the end of the five-year waiting period.

(iii) If you die after retirement and chose a survivor option, your survivor's benefit will be increased the first day following the expiration of the five-year waiting period.

(19) Terms used:

(a) DRS - Department of retirement systems.

(b) EMT - Emergency medical technician or paramedic who provides emergency medial services and is covered under LEOFF Plan 2 working for a fire department.

(c) LEOFF - Law enforcement officers' and fire fighters' retirement system.

(d) PERS - Public employees' retirement system.

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