Congratulations on your retirement!

Please ensure that you turn in your separation of employment with the school district to HR.

 The Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) is the agency that manages your retirement. DRS has webinars, checklists, resources and information regarding your retirement plan. The best resource to ask about your retirement is directly to DRS. They are very friendly and helpful on the phone, so please reach out to them and ask them your retirement questions. 800-547-6657

There are many steps to ensure you are coordinating your retirement correctly. DRS has resources to help you. There are timelines to consider when applying for Social Security, Medicare, retiring with DRS and opting in or deferring your PEBB retiree benefits. Be sure to do your homework on the dates to your retirement.

Sick Leave

If you are certificated, you will be contacted by Payroll to cash out your sick leave. Your sick leave is cashed out at a 1:4 ratio and is sent to Nationwide Retirement Solutions. They will partner with you on investing your funds, beneficiary information and how to take a distribution to cover your health insurance premiums. Sick leave cash out happens in the month after school ends, and it can take Nationwide up to 6-8 weeks to process your paperwork and get your distribution set up. Please plan accordingly.

If you are classified, you have two options: VEBA Reimbursement Plan or Cash out disbursement to staff.

  • VEBA Reimbursement Plan- Classified bargaining unit has voted in the VEBA III Health Reimbursement Plan which allows your sick leave cash out to be tax-exempt. Your sick leave is cashed out at a ratio of 1:4 with the dollars being sent to VEBA III to be used for out-of -pocket healthcare costs, including premiums. You must complete the enrollment form and return the completed form to the Payroll department.
    • Please provide the Payroll department with a copy of the letter you will receive from DRS stating that you will be receiving benefits. The District needs to receive the letter within 90 days of your retirement date and will use this letter as verification of your retirement so we may release your sick leave dollars to VEBA III. (The dollar amounts on the letter from DRS are not needed and may be crossed out.)
  • Cash Out Disbursement to Employee-If you do not participate in the VEBA III Program, then print your name on the VEBA enrollment form and write across the front “Not Participating”. Be aware that if you choose not to participate and choose to have your sick leave paid directly to you, you will forfeit 12 days of sick leave and the cash out is subject to federal taxes.

*PSA: As you near retirement age, you will notice that you will receive sales calls, emails and mail that may say things like the example below.  Keep in mind that our information is public and usually DRS gets records requests from agencies wanting to sell insurance. The ONLY agency the school district works with for your retirement is DRS. So, anyone else that contacts you is a solicitation. Please ensure that you research them if you choose to participate with their agency. These organizations write their correspondence in a way that make you think they are partnering with the district and they are not.

Example of sales solicitation that is NOT endorsed by Tahoma so you can see an example:

As an employee of Tahoma School District No. 409, each year you are eligible to receive a complimentary appointment with a licensed representative for answers to your specific state, federal and individual retirement benefit questions.

You will receive the following information at your appointment:

  1. What your potential income can be when you retire.
  2. How much longer you may have to work.
  3. Options to help you save more money for retirement, without affecting your take home pay.
  4. Which providers' 403(b) options have Guaranteed income when you retire.

I would suggest that you reach out to your financial advisor to help you answer these questions for you and not a company soliciting your information.

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