Retirement is an exciting time but it can also be puzzling, especially when retiring from a state agency. There are many pieces that don't seem to fit together. The more familiar you are with the plans and options, the easier the retirement process will be.

Many Lower Columbia College employees have a Washington state-sponsored retirement plan through one of two administrators. The Washington State Department of Retirement (DRS) administers the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) for classified and exempt employees and Teachers Retirement System (TRS) for faculty. The Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) administers the State Board Retirement Plan for exempt and faculty. Plan handbooks are available online and provide important details about your specific retirement plan. Agency websites also have several brochures and tools to help plan and forecast retirement income. The following resources should help you become familiar with your retirement plan and other retiree benefits.

DRS Retirement Planning Seminars

If you are a member of WA State Retirement Systems (PERS, TRS) and within five years of retirement, review the seminar information and register online! Any seminars that are held at Lower Columbia College will be listed on the Public Web Calendar under the Special Events filter.

Retirement Plan Resources for Classified & Exempt

PERS Plans 1, 2, and 3

  • Plan Administrator: Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS)
  • Contact: 800-547-6657
  • Type of Plan: Defined Benefit; (Plan 3 is a hybrid plan)
  • Supplemental Contribution Plan Available? Yes, Deferred Compensation
  • Available to: Classified, Admin & Exempt

Washington State Higher Education Retirement Plan (HERP) / TIAA-CREF

  • Plan Administrator: Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund
  • Contact: 800-842-2252
  • Type of Plan: Defined Contribution, 401(a)
  • Supplemental Contribution Plan Available? Yes, State Board Voluntary Investment Plan
  • Available to: Faculty, Admin & Exempt (Supplemental for Classified)

Retirement Plan Resources for Faculty

TRS Plans 1, 2, and 3

  • Plan Administrator: Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS)
  • Contact: 800-547-6657
  • Type of Plan: Defined Benefit; (Plan 3 is a hybrid plan)
  • Supplemental Contribution Plan Available? Yes, Deferred Compensation
  • Available to: Faculty

Washington State Higher Education Retirement Plan (HERP) / TIAA-CREF

  • Plan Administrator: Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund
  • Contact: 800-842-2252
  • Type of Plan: Defined Contribution
  • Supplemental Contribution Plan Available? Yes, State Board Voluntary Investment Plan
  • Available to: Faculty, Admin & Exempt (Supplemental for Classified)

Voluntary Supplemental Retirement Plan Resources

Deferred Compensation

  • Plan Administrator: Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS)
  • Contact: 888-327-5596
  • Type of Plan: Supplemental Plan, 457(b)
  • Available to: Any employee type

State Board Voluntary Investment Plan (SBVIP) / TIAA - CREF

  • Plan Administrator: Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund
  • Contact: 800-842-2252
  • Type of Plan: Supplemental Plan, 403(b)
  • Available to: Any employee type

Retiree Benefit Resources

PEBB Retiree Medical and Dental Insurance

  • Plan Administrator: Health Care Authority
  • Contact: 800-200-1004
  • Type of Plan: Medical and Dental Plan
  • Available to: Eligible Retirees (WAC 182-12-171)
    • Eligible retiring public employees:
      • Have access to comprehensive health insurance coverage
      • Have a one-time opportunity to enroll in or defer coverage
      • Must complete an enrollment form no later than 60 days after employer-sponsored or COBRA coverage ends

Medicare

  • Plan Administrator: U.S. Social Security Administration
  • Contact: 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227)
  • Type of Plan: Medical Program for age 65 and older
  • Available to: Mandatory for most employees

Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA)

  • Plan Administrator: Meritain Health
  • Contact: 888-828-4953
  • Type of Plan: Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)
  • Available to: Eligible Retirees
    • Eligible retiring public employees:
      • An HRA is not an insurance plan and you do not pay a premium
      • Funded by 25% of your sick leave cash-out upon retirement
      • As a retiree, you and your eligible dependents can use it to pay qualified health expenses after your retirement
      • Common qualified expenses include co-pays, deductibles, prescription drugs, and retiree insurance premiums

Essential Retirement Resources

Social Security

DRS Retirement Planning

TIAA-CREF Advice & Guidance

Other Retirement Resources

  • AARP Retirement Calculator - Calculate how much you need to save to retire.
  • Retirement Toolkit - U.S. Department of Labor's online retirement toolkit in cooperation with Social Security Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
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