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Survivor Benefit

Ok, for those who missed out on the window to include a post retirement spouse here is the new law that give you another chance.  Don't pass it up as you will probably not get another chance.  This does not apply to a new retiree or a member who is unmarried and now marries.  They have the opportunity to include the new spouse as a survivor.  This law just deals with those who missed out on the earlier window.

Effective June 9, 2016, qualified Law Enforcement Officers' and Fire Fighters' Plan 1 retirees have an opportunity to provide survivor benefits to their post-retirement spouse or registered domestic partner. The open window for making this change is June 9, 2016 to Sept. 1, 2016.

To qualify, you must have been married or registered in a domestic partnership after retirement. Even if a portion of your retirement benefit was awarded to an ex-spouse as a property division obligation in a divorce or legal separation, as long as a portion of your retirement benefit is payable to directly to you, you may qualify. You must also meet these additional requirements:

  • Your marriage or registration must span at least two years before Sept. 1, 2015
  • Your spouse or registered domestic partner cannot be already eligible for survivor benefits through any other provisions of LEOFF law
May 17 marked the first meeting of the SCPP since the end of the legislative session.  The SCPP was charged by that session to conduct a study on the proposed merger of LEOFF I and TRS 1.  The committee must report back to the legislature by January 9, 2017.

The bill creating this study assignment had some dollars allocated to fund the study, but those funds were vetoed by the governor.  Therefore we were concerned as to how the committee might approach the study.

See the full story to view the hearing.
The LEOFF I Coalition has just issued a newsletter.  It is not yet available on their website but evidently they have mailed it to many folks.  They should be complemented on this publication as it is one of their better ones in that it includes some real information about what went on in the last session of the legislature.  Nothing new for followers of LEOFF1.Net but useful for those out of contact with the ongoing legislative actions.

Survivor Benefits

A new law (ESB 5873) effective June 9, 2016, gives Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Plan 1 retirees an opportunity to provide survivor benefits to their post-retirement spouse or registered domestic partner. If a spouse or registered domestic partner is added, a retiree’s monthly benefit will be reduced to pay for the benefit. The open window for making this change is June 9, 2016 to Sept. 1, 2016.

LEOFF 1 Post Retirement Spouse

Urgent Issue – If you married after retirement and did not add your spouse to your pension, read the following:

In early April, Governor Inslee signed SHB 5873 into law. It reopens the window to sign up post-retirement spouses of those LEOFF I retirees (LEOFF II retirees already have this enabling legislation) that missed their original two year window between September 7, 2013 and September 1, 2015. The sign up process is expected to be in place 60 – 90 days after the signing-in law. If you missed the original two year window, call DRS (800-547-6657 or 360-664-7000 now and request to talk with a LEOFF analyst. The staff there will take your name and contact you when the process is functioning to enroll your post-retirement spouse as a lawful beneficiary. There will be an actuarial reduction to your pension in order to sign up your spouse as a surviving lawful beneficiary. You must work with DRS – Call them. Remember, this is very specific legislation. It is not a general opening for all post-retirement spouses, so call and see if you qualify.             

LEOFF 1 / TRS 1 Merger Study

During the 2016 legislative interim, the28select committee on pension policy shall study Senate Bill No. 6668 (LEOFF 1 & TRS 1 merger) and report on the tax, legal, fiscal, policy, and administrative implications. In conducting the study, the select committee on pension policy shall also update its 2011 study of law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system plans 1 and 2. In preparing this study, the department of retirement systems, the attorney general's office, the law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system plan 2 board, and the office of the state actuary shall provide the select committee on pension policy with any information or assistance the committee requests. The committee shall also receive stakeholder input on the bill as part of its deliberation. The select committee on pension policy shall submit this report to the legislature by January 9, 2017.

The RFFOW, the RSPOA and several other groups are seeking an opportunity to provide stakeholder input to the study.
This report was generated by WACOPS:  The 2016 legislative session ended on Tuesday, March 29th. The supplemental budget was passed out of both houses and is still awaiting the Governor's signature. A number of our priority bills have passed and are still awaiting the Governor's signature. An updated bill report can be found  here.

LEOFF 1 Merger: The LEOFF 1 merger with TRS 1 was not in the final budget. However, there was a related bill passed, SB 6668, that requires a study of the merger issue by the Select Committee on Pension Policy during the interim. The report will be submitted to the Legislature by 1/9/2017.
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