Q & A on Retirement Security
Question #1 What is the average public employee pension benefit in Washington?
Answer: PERS 1’s annual average was $23,172, PERS 2’s average was $16,308, PERS 3’s defined benefit average was $9,420, SERS 2’s average was $9,780, and SERS 3’s defined benefit portion average was $5,220.
Question #2 Where will I get my health insurance?
Answer: While only a few county or municipal employers provide their retirees health insurance through the Public Employee Benefit Board (PEBB), all state retirees have that access. Most retirees who have access, choose to take part in the Uniform Classic plan which in 2015 cost them $578.51 per month ($6,942 per year) if they were not Medicare eligible, and $234.69 per month ($2,816 per year) if they were Medicare eligible.
Question #3 What is the financial standard for Retirement Security?
Answer: According to the Economic Opportunity Institute, the standard for a senior in Washington to be considered economically secure is $28,620 if the senior pays a mortgage. A senior couple would need to have $38,388 if they were paying a mortgage.
Question #4 Are our pensions fully funded?
Answer: Washington state pensions are 94% funded overall, though PERS 1 has the lowest funding level at 61% with other plans over 100% funded.
Question #5 Will I get an annual COLA to help keep up with inflation?
Answer: All retirees in plan 2 and 3 receive a base cost-of-living adjustment every year. The base COLA adjusts the benefit based on the change, if any, in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton area. There is no COLA for PERS 1 members.