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Edited by LM 4/26/22 Apprvd by DB 4/22/22


Applying for Retirement


Ready to retire? Learn more about applying and receiving your retirement benefits.

You should know the eligibility requirement for your tier so you can request or download the application packet for retirement benefits at least 120 days before your anticipated retirement date. It is your responsibility to initiate the retirement process.

By law, your retirement date will be the first of the month after the following requirements are met:

  • You meet the minimum service and age requirements for retirement. You should not leave employment until you are absolutely certain that you are eligible to retire.
  • You have terminated employment. Note: If you terminate your employment on the first day of the month, you will not be appointed to retirement until the following month.
  • Your Application for Retirement Benefits is received by the Division of Retirement and Benefits prior to the date you plan to retire.

Pre-Retirement Checklist

  • Contact pre-retirement services and request an estimate of benefits and retirement application packet at least 120 days before your prospective date of retirement.
  • Arrange for a counseling appointment.
  • Fill out your packet and mail to the Division at least 60 days before your retirement effective date.
  • Required Item: Evidence of birthdate
  • Required Item: Spouse's evidence of birthdate (if applicable)
  • Required Item: Court certified copies of divorce or dissolution documents (if applicable)
  • Required Item: Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Required Item: Spouse's death certificate (if applicable)
  • Required Item: Dependent's evidence of birthdate (if applicable)

Retirement benefits are paid once at the end of each month. However, the processing of your first benefit check can take approximately six weeks from your retirement effective date. Once your application has been processed, benefit checks will be automatically issued at the end of each month.

Tier Eligibility Requirement

Visit the Defined Benefit Retirement Plan page for detailed information about eligibility in the PERS Defined Benefit Plan.

  1. Tier I - Entered service before July 1st, 1986

    Early retirement age 50 if vested, and normal - age 55 if vested. Any age with 30 years service or 20 years of police/fire service.

  2. Tier II - Entered service after June 30th, 1986 but before July 1, 1996

    Early retirement age 55 if vested, and normal - age 60 if vested. Any age with 30 years service or 20 years of police/fire service.

  3. Tier III - Entered service after June 30th, 1996 but before July 1, 2006

    Early retirement age 55 if vested, and normal - age 60 if vested. Any age with 30 years service or 20 years of police/fire service.

PERS Defined Benefit Calculation

Your pension benefit calculation is dependent on your years of service as well as your average monthly salary up to the maximum salary allowed under the IRS 401(a)(17) limits. If you terminate employment before working 115 days in your last year of employment, your last salary will not be included in your average monthly salary.

PERS Defined Benefit Health Benefits

New benefit recipients will be covered under the State of Alaska DB Retiree Health Plan (Alaska Care) as of the retirement effective date. Those who must pay for coverage are also covered as of the retirement effective date if they elect coverage prior to retirement.

Your application should be filed with the Division a minimum of 60 days prior to your retirement effective date. If the Division does not receive your application by this requested time, eligibility reporting to the health carrier may be delayed. To ensure a smooth transition with your health insurance coverage, please submit your application early.

When your application is received, a health plan welcome kit with information and forms will be sent to you. This will be confirmation that your eligibility is being reported to the claim administrator. Your health insurance identification cards will be mailed to you shortly after your eligibility has been reported. At that time, you will be able to file for reimbursement of any covered medical services that occurred since your retirement date.

You must enroll and pay the monthly premiums to be covered under the medical plan if you are a PERS member who:

  • first entered the PERS after June 30, 1986, and you are under age 60 with less than 25 years of police/fire service or less than 30 years of all other service, or
  • first entered PERS after June 30, 1996, have at least 10 years of membership service, and you are under age 60 with less than 25 years of police/fire service or less than 30 years of all other service.

Police/fire plan members who first entered the PERS on or after July 1, 1986, and who have at least 25 years of police/fire service, are not required to pay premiums for medical insurance, regardless of age.

Taxes

PERS benefits are taxable by the federal government as soon as they are received.

Tier Eligibility Requirement

Visit the Defined Benefit Retirement Plan page for detailed information about eligibility in the TRS Defined Benefit Plan.

  1. Tier I - Entered service before July 1st, 1990

    Early retirement age 50 if vested, and normal - age 55 if vested.

  2. Tier II - Entered service after June 30th, 1990 but before July 1, 2006

    Early retirement age 55 if vested, and normal - age 60 if vested.

TRS Defined Benefit Calculation

Your pension benefit calculation is dependent on your years of service as well as your average base salary. To include a year of salary in your three highest years, you must work and receive compensation during at least two-thirds of that school year (115 days) either full or part time.

Claiming Unused Sick Leave

Defined Benefit retirees may be eligible to receive additional TRS credit by claiming your unused sick leave (USL). To claim your USL, submit the Claim and Verification of Unused Sick Leave form found in the TRS application booklet , to your last TRS employer for verification.

To receive credit, the completed verification form must be received by the Division of Retirement and Benefits within one year of your retirement effective date. It is your responsibility to ensure this form is completed and returned.

Contributions are not required for USL credit. USL is credited on a day-for-day basis according to the current Membership Service Chart (only full days are creditable). For example, 172 days of USL equals 1.0 years of credit.

USL credit will be added to your TRS service, and your retirement benefit will be increased after you are on retirement for a period equal to the number of sick leave days claimed as long as the completed USL claim form is received in the Division at that time. The benefit increase will be effective on the first of the month following that date.

For instance, if you are claiming 94 days of sick leave, you will receive an additional .5-year credit on the first of the month after your 94th day of retirement. If you retired on July 1, your benefit would increase on November 1 (October 2 is the 94th day), and the benefit paid to you at the end of November would be larger.

The TRS does not administer the statute regarding the transfer of unused sick leave from one district to another. While you are actually employed you should contact the Department of Education and Early Development for information about transferring your unused sick leave if you are moving to a different school district.

Retired Defined Benefit members who return to work under the TRS may claim USL earned while they are reemployed in the TRS. USL earned while a member is participating in the University of Alaska’s optional retirement program is not creditable in the TRS.

TRS Defined Benefit Health Benefits

New benefit recipients will be covered under the State of Alaska DB Retiree Health Plan (AlaskaCare) as of the retirement effective date. Those who must pay for coverage are also covered as of the retirement effective date if they elect coverage prior to retirement.

Your application should be filed with the Division a minimum of 60 days prior to your retirement effective date. If the Division does not receive your application by this requested time, eligibility reporting to the health carrier may be delayed. To ensure a smooth transition with your health insurance coverage, please submit your application early.

When your application is received, a health plan welcome kit with information and forms will be sent to you. This will be confirmation that your eligibility is being reported to the claim administrator. Your health insurance identification cards will be mailed to you shortly after your eligibility has been reported. At that time, you will be able to file for reimbursement of any covered medical services that occurred since your retirement date.

If you are a TRS member who first entered the TRS after June 30 1990, and you are under age 60, you must enroll and pay the monthly premiums to be covered under the medical plan unless you have 25 years of membership service.

Taxes

TRS benefits are taxable by the federal government as soon as they are received.

Introduction

If you participated in the State of Alaska’s Select Life Insurance Plan as an active employee, you may elect to continue this coverage at the time before you are appointed to receive a retirement benefit from the Public Employees’, Teachers’, Judicial, or Elected Public Officers’ Retirement Systems. Only those State of Alaska and political subdivision employees currently participating in a State-sponsored life plan are eligible to enroll.

After retirement, your Select Life plan will be called Optional Life, with a couple changes in the benefits: the Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefit is not available after retirement, however the Optional Life Insurance does include some dependent coverage for eligible dependents as follows:

  • Spouse is covered for $1000
  • Dependent children are covered at a level based on the age at the time of death ($100 up to $500)

Select/Optional Life Plan Highlights

  • Premium is paid by the retiree
  • Available to retirees who had Select Life Insurance coverage as an active defined benefit employee.
  • Defined Contribution Retirement (DCR) Plan members are not able to continue Select Life as Optional Life, however it is possible to elect to continue Select Life through conversion or portability. Once a member has separated from employment, information will be sent by mail from MetLife regarding portability and conversion options.

Electing Coverage

You will have the opportunity to elect this coverage at retirement by electing to do so on your retirement application. You can elect to continue the same or a lower volume amount that you were receiving while active. You can elect to decrease the volume one time each calendar year after.

  • Decreases are allowed in $5,000 increments.
  • To request a decrease in coverage, complete and submit the Retirees Select/Optional Life Insurance Continuation/Waiver form (02-1858), or enter the desired level of coverage on page F-10 of the Retirement Application.
  • Coverage may not be decreased below a total of $5,000.
  • Once decreased, coverage may never be increased under this plan. Premium increases occur in January based on your age category.
    • Select Life is not the same as Supplemental Life. Supplemental Life is a separate life insurance offered under the Voluntary Supplemental Benefit Options.

You may elect to discontinue this coverage at any time by notifying the Division of Retirement and Benefits in writing. Once you have dropped your coverage, you may not reinstate it.

Retiree Optional Life Insurance Premiums

Premiums increase every January based on your age.

2020 Retiree Optional Life Insurance Premiums
Age Premium dollar amount per $1,000
Under 30 0.063
30-39 0.095
40-44 0.105
45-49 0.158
50-54 0.242
55-59 0.452
60-64 0.693
65-69 1.334
70-74 2.163
75-79 3.677
80-84 5.222
Over 85 8.033
Effective: January 1, 2020

Investment Accounts

Empower Retirement Services (Empower) processes all payments for the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan. Contact Empower at (800) 232-0859 for disbursement forms, information on how to complete them, and for the status of pending payments.

To schedule an appointment with an Empower Retirement Plan Advisor (at no cost) for a detailed review or your account(s), investment strategy, disbursement options, and potential retirement income, please call (800) 526-0560, or visit Empower’s online appointment scheduler .

Insurance Benefits and Health Reimbursement Arrangement

If you qualify and wish to enroll in the DCR plan medical, dental-vision-audio (DVA) and/or Long-term Care (LTC) insurance plans at retirement, you must make these elections by contacting the Division of Retirement and Benefits (Division). If you are eligible to access your Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), you will also need to contact the Division to activate the account. We recommend contacting the Division at least 120 days prior to termination to discuss your eligibility and options.

To discuss your eligibility, coverage options, and premiums, and/or make your elections for medical, DVA, LTC and HRA, and/or for an overview of your investment accounts and options, please schedule an appointment with a retirement counselor using our online scheduler or call (800) 821-2251.

Please note the Division is creating a new DCR plan retirement application, but currently your health elections must be made verbally by contacting the Division by the end of the month in which you separate employment. Once we are notified of your employment termination by your human resources office and we verify your eligibility, you will be sent the applicable forms to complete the enrollment process.

Eligibility Requirement

Visit the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan page for detailed information about eligibility in the DCR Plan.

  1. PERS DCR - First entered the PERS on or after July 1, 2006

    Funds in the PERS DCR Plan account are invested retirement funds. Therefore, taxes and penalties may apply if withdrawn prior to age 59-1/2.

  2. TRS DCR - First entered TRS on or after July 1, 2006

    Funds in the TRS DCR Plan account are invested retirement funds. Therefore, taxes and penalties may apply if withdrawn prior to age 59-1/2.

Benefit Calculation

The DCR Plan is an investment account. Members are 100% vested with their contributions plus the earnings they generate from the moment they are made. There is a vesting schedule for the employer’s contributions and associated earnings. Members vest in the employer contributions on a schedule that equals 100 percent vesting with five years of service. For more information about contributions and vesting in the DCR Plan, please visit the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan page.

Taxes

By saving before tax, your contributions can grow without being reduced by current federal taxes. You will have more money to save at the end of each pay period than if you were saving the same amount with after-tax dollars.

Page Last Modified: 06/20/22 13:18:11

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