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Deferred Compensation

News Alerts

2015 Deferral Limit
The Internal Revenue Code announced the limits on contributions for the City's Voluntary Deferred Compensation (457) Plan and other retirement savings plans.

   • Contributions will increase to $18,000.

   • Employees who will be 50 or older by the end of the calendar year may also make
     "catch-up contributions" to their accounts. For 2015, the "Age 50 Catch-Up" limit will increase to
     $6,000.

   • The "Last 3 Year Special Catch-Up" provides for extra elective contributions during the three years
    before normal retirement age. The Last 3 Year Catch-Up allows for up to double the dollar limit
    ($36,000) depending on the contribution history of the participant. A special calculation will be
     required to determine how much you are allowed to catch up.

   • NOTE: If a participant is eligible for both the Age 50 Catch-Up and the Last 3 Year Special Catch-Up     option, the rule that allows for the greater catch-up contribution applies.

2015 Meetings of the City of Seattle Voluntary Deferred Compensation Plan Committee

All meetings are in room 4096 of the Seattle Municipal Tower unless otherwise noted

10:00am to 12:00pm on Thursday, January 15, 2015 – room 4070
10:00am to 12:00pm on Wednesday, March 11, 2015
10:00am to 12:00pm on Wednesday, May 13, 2015
10:00am to 12:00pm on Wednesday, July 8, 2015
10:00am to 12:00pm on Wednesday, September 9, 2015
10:00am to 12:00pm on Friday, November 20, 2015 – room 4070

The City's Deferred Compensation Plan is administered by Prudential Retirement. Prudential offers 24-hour, 7-day-per-week telephone service and on-line services where you can obtain your account information and conduct account transactions. Customer Service Representatives are available from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time Monday thru Friday, with the exception of holidays observed by the US Stock Exchange.


Locally, you can reach your Prudential Retirement Representative at:


Contacting your Deferred Compensation Plan Staff just got easier! Have questions about the plan’s administrative policies or processes? Feel free to review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document (link below) or send us an email by clicking the link below.

Email to Deferred Compensation City Staff

Deferred Comp FAQs

Accessing Your Account

By Telephone
Dial 1-800-833-5761 to reach Prudential Retirement. Prudential's Interactive Voice Response (IVR) service is available virtually 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

Prudential’s Customer Service Representatives are available from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time Monday thru Friday, with the exception of holidays observed by the US Stock Exchange. By phone you can enroll in the Plan, make exchanges among your investment options, redirect your contribution investment elections, change your contribution amount, obtain current quotes, prices, yields and account balances, apply for a loan, talk to a representative about the investment options, request literature such as distribution brochures, catch-up contribution brochures, prospectuses and statements, and create or change your personal identification number for the security of your account.

On-Line Access
Log on to Prudential's website www.retirement.prudential.com to view current balances and chart savings, obtain daily fund quotes and real-time market options, review historical fund performance information, view your 90-day transaction history, order literature and prospectuses, change your investment elections, obtain Plan information, change your contribution amount, and apply for a loan.

Transaction requests confirmed after the close of the market, normally 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time, or on weekends and holidays, will receive the next available closing price.

You can access your account Online by visiting www.cityofseattledeferredcomp.com and clicking on “Access Your Account”

Beneficiary

Designating a Beneficiary
As a Participant, you have the right and duty to designate a beneficiary to receive benefits under this Plan if you die.

You can add your beneficiary online, by calling our vendor Prudential Retirement, or by completing a beneficiary designation form.

If online:
  • Simply log on to your City Deferred Compensation account at www.retirement.prudential.com,
  • Once on the landing page, go to the "Personal Information" tab,
  • Then to the "Beneficiary Information" section
  • Complete all requested fields and remember to save the information before logging out.

If calling Prudential Retirement:
  • You can contact them toll-free at 1-800-833-5761 Monday thru Friday from 5:00AM to 6:00PM. Please press #1 to speak to a Participant Service Representative.

If by form:
  • Go to www.cityofseattledeferredcomp.com, select FORMS, and download the “Beneficiary Form”. Complete the form in its entirety and mail it to the address found located at the top of the form for Prudential Retirement.


If you are married, your beneficiary automatically will be your spouse. If you wish to designate another beneficiary, then your spouse must acknowledge in writing the effects of the election, and a Notary Public must witnesses the spouse's written consent.

The Plan Committee will accept as valid a consent which does not satisfy the spousal consent requirements if the Plan Committee establishes that you do not have a spouse, if the Plan Committee is not able to locate your spouse, if you are legally separated or have been abandoned (within the meaning of state law) and you have a court order to that effect, or if other circumstances exist under which the Secretary of the Treasury would excuse the consent requirements under applicable Tax Code rules. If your spouse is legally incompetent to give consent, your spouse's legal guardian (even if the guardian is you) may give consent.

If you fail to name a beneficiary in accordance with the above procedures, or if the beneficiary named by you predeceases you, then the Plan will pay your benefits in the following order of priority:

  • (a) The Participant’s surviving Spouse or state registered domestic partner (SRDP); and if no surviving Spouse or surviving SRDP to
  • (b) The Participant’s surviving children, including adopted children, in equal shares; and if none to
  • (c) The Participant’s surviving parents, in equal shares; and if none to
  • (d) The Participant’s surviving brothers and sisters, in equal shares; and if none to
  • (e) The Participant’s estate.

Beneficiary Designation Form

Distribution to Beneficiaries
If you die before drawing benefits or before all benefits are paid, benefits shall be paid to your beneficiary in the manner provided by administrative rule, [Regs. § 1.457-2(i)(3)]. Payments must be sufficiently rapid to satisfy the requirements of Code § 457(d)(2) and Code § 401 (a)(9).

When distribution begins prior to your death, then payout must be made at least as rapidly as it was being made to you. When your beneficiary is an organization, estate or trust, then payment will be payable in a lump sum in the next monthly payment cycle.

When distribution does not begin prior to your death, and is to be made to an organization, estate or trust, then payment will be payable in a lump sum within the next monthly payment cycle.

When distribution does not begin prior to your death, and is to be made to your surviving spouse, whether as designated beneficiary, or by default, then payment must begin prior to April 1st in the year after the end of the calendar year in which you would have attained age 70½ or, if your separation date occurs after 70½, prior to April 1st in the year after the end of the calendar year in which you separated from service, and payment may be made over the lifetime of your surviving spouse.

If your surviving beneficiary dies, then the balance of the account will be paid in a lump sum to the beneficiary's estate.


Contributions

Year Regular Contribution Limits Age 50+ Catch-up Contribution Limits Catch-up Contribution Limits
2014 $17,500 $5,500 $35,000

Annual Regular Contributions
To start, increase, decrease or stop your regular contribution(s), contact a Prudential Customer Service Representative toll-free at 1-800-833-5761, or access their website at www.retirement.prudential.com. Changes, including increasing, decreasing, starting or stopping contributions, generally take effect in the month following the change request.
Rollovers
You can consolidate your retirement assets into the City of Seattle Voluntary Deferred Compensation Plan. Rolling over accounts can potentially lower costs, make it easier to manage a single account, and obtain comprehensive asset allocation help. To roll over balances from other retirement Plans (e.g., Governmental 457(b), 403(a), 403(b), 401(k), 401(a), IRA, and Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Plan) into your City of Seattle Voluntary Deferred Compensation Plan account, please visit www.cityofseattledeferredcomp.com, select the Rollover Form and follow the instructions, or contact the local Prudential Retirement Representative located in the Seattle Municipal Tower at 206-447-1924.

Catch-up Contributions

Age 50+ Catch-Up Provision
If you are age 50 or older you are eligible to contribute an additional amount above the regular annual limit. The contribution limits are shown in the table above. To take advantage of the age 50+ catch-up provision, access your City Deferred Compensation account at www.retirement.prudential.com or contact a Prudential Customer Service Representative at toll-free at 1-800-833-5761 to make a contribution change. Changes, including increasing, decreasing, starting or stopping contributions, generally take effect in the month following the change request.

Three-Year Catch-Up Provision
If you are within three years of "normal retirement age" you are eligible to defer up to twice the regular annual limit, or the amount which you were eligible to contribute in previous years but didn't, whichever is less. To take advantage of the three-year catch-up provision, contact City Deferred Compensation Staff at deferredcompquestions@seattle.gov.

In order to take advantage of the three-year catch-up provision you must complete the Three-Year Catch-Up Deduction Authorization Form.

Domestic Relations Order

Segregation of Assets for Alternate Payees
The Plan will establish a sub-account for the Alternate Payee of a Participant upon the Plan Administrator's receipt and acceptance of a non qualified domestic relations order providing for the Participant's benefits under the Plan.

Acceptance of a Domestic Relations Order
No action to segregate or otherwise recognize the claim of a Participant's Alternate Payee will be taken unless the Plan Administrator is served with a certified copy of a court order providing for all of the following without reference to any separate document unless the separate document is attached:

  • The court order must state that it relates to the provision of child support, alimony, or distribution of marital property.
  • The court order must refer unambiguously to the City of Seattle Voluntary Deferred Compensation Plan by clearly defining the plan name.
  • The court order must clearly specify the name and mailing address of the Participant and the Alternate Payee. The taxpayer identifying number (i.e., Social Security number) of the Participant and Alternate Payee must also be provided to the Plan either in the court order or by separate cover.
  • The court order must specify the amount or percentage (or clearly state the method of manner in which the amount or percentage is to be determined) of the Participant's account to be segregated for the separate sub-account of the Alternate Payee.
  • The court order must specify the date of segregation (i.e., valuation date) if the Participant is not yet receiving payout under the Plan, or, if the Participant is currently receiving payout, the court order must specify the beginning date of transfer of the Participant's benefits and the amount or percentage (or clearly state the method by which the amount or percentage is to be determined).
  • The court order must specify if the Alternate Payee shall share in the Participant’s loan with the applicable valuation date, if applicable.

Domestic Relations Order-Provisions Not Acceptable
The Plan Administrator shall not accept a Domestic Relations Order that provides for any of the following:

  • The court order requires the purchase of investments or distribution of benefits in a form or method other than those provided by the Plan.
  • The court order does not clearly specify the amount or percentage, clearly describe a method of calculating the amount or percentage to be segregated, or clearly state treatment of the Participant’s loan.
  • The court order specifies a tax treatment of the benefits. The order may state that the tax characterization of the distribution may be determined by Internal Revenue Service regulations and rulings.
  • The court order assigns the benefits to the Alternate Payee in violation of the non-assignment provisions of the Plan.
If a domestic relations order contains any of the above provisions, the Plan Administrator may reject the order and require the Participant to obtain a new order conforming with these requirements.

Alternate Payee Sub-Account
When a domestic relations order has been accepted by the Plan Administrator, an Alternate Payee sub-account will be established in the Alternate Payee's name.

The assets will be segregated into a sub-account for the Alternate Payee, and the sub-account will be subject to the same terms and conditions of the Plan except the alternate. The Alternate Payee will be allowed to manage the sub-account, transfer its assets among the investment options offered by the Plan, and receive a separate account statement.

The Alternate Payee's sub-account will be subject to the same administrative fees, restrictions on investment transfers, and the ordinances and administrative rules established for the Plan.

The Alternate Payee assumes all risks inherent in participating in the Plan and its investment selections.

The Alternate Payee will be allowed to designate a beneficiary or beneficiaries for the sub-account.

The Alternate Payee will be responsible for keeping the Plan Administrator informed of changes in address, and the City or its Plan Administrator shall not be responsible for the failure to receive notices or the Alternate Payee's failure to timely exercise options under the Plan because of the Alternate Payee's failure to keep the Plan Administrator informed of address change.

Investment Options

City of Seattle Deferred Compensation Plan investment options

pdf document icon City of Seattle Investment Style Grid

pdf document icon Equity Funds

Leaving City Service

Vacation and Sick Leave Conversions
The Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP) allows an employee separating from City employment due to retirement, termination, or resignation to convert accrued vacation leave into their DCP account. In addition, retiring employees - if their union has not accepted or voted for HRA VEBA - may convert up to 35% or 25% of their accrued sick leave into their DCP. Other compensatory pay may also be available to convert. Click here for HRA VEBA voting status for unions who are part of the Coalition of City Unions.

Vacation and sick leave and other eligible compensatory pay conversions made to the DCP are considered a contribution and are subject to the maximum annual contribution limit. Separating employees can choose to convert all or part of their eligible accrued leave to their DCP account up to the maximum annual contribution limit.

If you are separating from City employment and want to convert eligible accrued leave to your DCP account you will need to:

  • Contact your department to determine the
    a. Value of accrued sick and vacation leave and other compensatory pay balances.
    b. Date your conversion will be processed.
  • One month before the conversion of your leave is to be processed, submit the leave authorization form Deferred Compensation Staff with the Seattle Department of Human Resources via email at deferredcompquestions@seattle.gov, by Facsimile at 206.615.0202, or via inter-department mail.
  • word document icon Leave Conversion


Leaving Your Money in the Plan – Leave all your funds in the Plan until you decide to withdraw them at a later date using one of the other options listed below.  To avoid substantial federal tax penalties, you must begin distribution no later than April of the year after the year in which you turn age 70½.  While the money remains in the Plan, your account will continue to be adjusted for investment earnings or losses on remaining funds, and you will receive the benefit of low administrative costs and City oversight.

Taking Some of the Money Out Soon – You may elect to receive taxable payments in a number of ways. Remember that your account will continue to be adjusted for investment earnings or losses on remaining funds. Although any distribution will be based on your account’s value as of the transaction date, let’s assume your account balance is $36,000 on the day you initiate action.

  • Take periodic, taxable payments (e.g., of $500 each) on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis until you exhaust your balance.
  • Take a partial, taxable lump sum payment (e.g., $15,000) followed by periodic taxable payments (e.g., of $300 each) until you exhaust your balance.
  •  Take a single taxable payment of part of the account balance (e.g., $5,000), with future distribution(s) delayed until a later time. To avoid substantial federal tax penalties, you must begin your second distribution no later than April of the year after the year in which you turn age 70½.
  • Take a taxable lump sum distribution of the entire account balance (i.e., all $36,000), thereby closing your account.

Note: Retired public safety officers are eligible to take a special pre-tax distribution. As permitted by federal law, retired public safety officers may direct that qualified health, accident and long-term care insurance premiums be paid directly from the individual's deferred compensation account; up to $3,000 annually can be exempted from taxation.

Electing an Option
Your funds will remain on deposit until you elect a distribution or rollover. When you are ready to elect a distribution or rollover, call Prudential at 1-800-833-5761 to speak to a Customer Service Representative.

If you take a distribution, you need to call Prudential at 1-800-833-5761 at least three business days prior to the date you want your payment to begin. Prudential can also provide additional information on the payment methods and the tax consequences of the option you select.

Until your account is distributed or rolled over it will remain active and will be subject to market-related earnings or losses, as well as regular quarterly fees. The distribution or rollover will consist of your account's value as of the date of the transaction. Until your account is entirely distributed, you may continue to transfer your money among the funds in the Plan and have on-line access to your account.

Moving Your Money to another Eligible Plan – You also have a number of options. A rollover will not be taxed if funds are transferred according to legal requirements.  The transfer or rollover will be based on your City account’s value as of the transaction date.
  • Roll over your account balance to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) held by a bank or other financial institution.
  • Roll over your account balance to another employer’s plan if your future employer’s plan is able to accept your funds. (It’s important to check first.) Funds rolled over to other employer plans become subject to the distribution tax provisions of the receiving plan. Depending on the type of employer you move to, the receiving plan may be a 401(a), 401(k), 403(b) or 457 Plan.

Required Minimum Distributions
The Internal Revenue Service requires that you begin distribution of your Deferred Compensation Plan account no later than April 1st of the year after the year you turn age 70½ . If you wait until this date, you will receive two taxable distributions; one for the year in which you turned age 70½ and the other for the year following the year you turned age 70½ . However, if you continue your service with the City beyond age 70½ , your distribution shall be no later than April 1st of the calendar year following the calendar year in which you leave City service.

Please call Prudential at 1-800-833-5761 to obtain more detailed information and for assistance with determining the minimum amount you are required to withdraw to avoid any tax penalties.


Loans

Loans
If you are a participant in the Plan, actively employed by the City of Seattle and on paid taxable status, and have an account balance of at least $2,000, you are eligible to apply for a loan. Please read the Participant Loan Policy for information on the loan limits and repayment terms.

Withdrawals

Unforeseeable Emergency
An unforeseeable emergency is a severe financial hardship to you resulting from a sudden and unexpected illness or accident to you or a dependent, loss of your property due to casualty, or other similar extraordinary and unforeseeable circumstances arising as a result of events beyond your control. No payment can be made to the extent that your hardship may be relieved through reimbursement, compensation by insurance or otherwise; a sale of your assets without causing severe financial hardship; or suspending your deferrals. The payment may not exceed the lesser of the current value of your account or the amount required to satisfy your emergency need [Regs. § 1.457-2(h)(4-5)]. Please speak to a Prudential Customer Service Representative at 1-800-833-5761 to apply for an unforeseeable emergency withdrawal. Your application will be reviewed by Prudential, and withdrawals are subject to approval by the City's Deferred Compensation Plan Committee.

Hardship Requests Limit

In-Service Cash Out
You may elect to receive a lump sum "in-service cash out" payment of a low balance, inactive account prior to your permanent separation from City service if you meet certain Code requirements which include the following:
  • No deferrals have been made to your account for the previous twenty-four (24) months
  • Your account balance is less than $5,000
  • You have not previously received an in-service cashout distribution under this Plan
  • You are an active employee of the City of Seattle


Payment will be made at least thirty (30) days after the City receives and approves your written request for payment. Only one in-service cashout election will be made available to you during your membership in this Plan [Code §457 (e)(9)(A)]. Complete the application to request a withdrawal for an in-service withdrawal.