How to Retire

When your retirement date is approaching, we can help make sure your benefits will be ready for you on that big day.

Ninety Days:  First, you will need an up-to-date benefit estimate.  If you don't already have a benefit estimate for your desired retirement date, request one at least 90 days ahead of your desired retirement date.

Sixty Days:  Next, you will contact us at least sixty days before your proposed retirement date to schedule a retirement appointment.

Thirty Days Your retirement appointment must be at least thirty days* prior to your planned retirement date.  At your appointment, you will:  choose a benefit option; decide if you want the death benefit, if eligible; choose or update your beneficiaries; receive information about health plan options; and file your retirement application.

If you are eligible and interested in enrolling in a retiree medical plan, this is done through Seattle Department of Human Resources (SDHR) Benefits Unit.  The SDHR Benefits Unit requires that you enroll at least thirty days prior to your retirement date.  We provide an SDHR Benefits Unit packet of enrollment information at the retirement appointment, but it's important that you check the dates and contact the SDHR Benefits Unit earlier than that if necessary.  If you or your spouse are sixty-five or over, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B through the Social Security Administration prior to enrolling in a retiree medical plan.  You can reach the SDHR Benefits Unit at 206-615-1340 or email benefits.unit@seattle.gov.

Two Weeks:  It is your responsibility to notify your department at least two weeks before retiring.

*Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 4.36.600 requires that members complete such application at least 30 days prior to date of retirement

Eligibility

You are eligible to retire if you have reached:

  • 5 years of service and 62 years of age
  • 10 years of service and 57 years of age
  • 20 years of service and 52 years of age
  • 30 years of service and any age

*Please note that members enrolled in SCERS Plan 2 have different minimum retirement ages.

Request a benefit estimate

Please complete a Benefit Estimate Request Form.  Once completed, the form can be emailed to retirecity@seattle.gov or faxed to 206-386-1506. Members planning to retire should have an estimate completed within a year of their expected retirement date.  At the latest you should request an estimate at least three months before your target retirement date. The request can take approximately four to six weeks to process.

Know your options

Prior to retirement, you will need to decide how your retirement money will be paid out.  All options provide a monthly benefit to the retiree for life.  Most options also provide for a beneficiary.  To review the options, see the Retirement Options Overview document below.  Your Benefit Estimate will tell you what your benefit will be for each option.

Retirement Options Overview PDF

Make an appointment for your retirement consultation

Call our office to make an appointment with a retirement specialist for an in-person retirement meeting and to complete your retirement application. Be sure to schedule this meeting for at least thirty days prior to your date of retirement.*

At this meeting, the retirement specialist will review your benefit options and answer your questions. If you are ready to select your options, you will fill out, sign, and file your application for voluntary retirement. If you have a spouse or domestic partner, that person should attend the meeting as well. If that is not possible, your spouse or domestic partner can sign the form separately if the signature is notarized.

If you decide to change your date for retirement after you have completed your retirement meeting and filed your application for voluntary retirement, do not worry. Your retirement date can be changed any time up to the date designated by you on your application by contacting the retirement office.

Please note: if you decide to delay your retirement it is your responsibility to ensure that your employment is extended with your work unit.

You can use the table in the document below  to determine when your first benefit check will arrive: