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WAC 415-104-475

How does a firefighter who provides emergency medical services transfer PERS service credit to LEOFF Plan 2?

(1) Who may use this section? You may use this section if you are:
(a) A member of PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 eligible for membership in LEOFF Plan 2 as an EMT under RCW 41.26.030;
(b) Currently a LEOFF Plan 2 member who chose LEOFF membership after separating from service as an EMT in a PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 eligible position; or
(c) Currently a LEOFF Plan 2 member and were formerly employed providing emergency medical services in a PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 eligible position which was relocated by your employer to a fire department.
(2) How do I know if my job providing emergency medical services was "relocated" to a fire department? To be considered "relocated":
(a) The duties of the position must have required providing emergency medical services and the position must have been covered under PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2;
(b) The employer must have been a city, town, county, or district that transferred the position to a fire department; and
(c) The fire department must have determined the transferred position was eligible for LEOFF Plan 2.
(3) Who determines whether or not my job providing emergency medical services was "relocated" to a fire department? DRS will determine whether or not your job was relocated based on the criteria described in subsection (2) of this section. To do so, DRS will contact your former employer where you provided emergency medical services in a PERS eligible position and verify:
(a) That your position was relocated to a fire department; and
(b) The number of months you worked in that position.
(4) I formerly worked as an EMT for a PERS employer that relocated the job to a fire department. I was not working in the job at the time it was relocated. I am now in a LEOFF Plan 2 eligible position. Can I transfer my PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 EMT service to LEOFF Plan 2? Yes, whether or not you were working in the job at the time it was relocated, you can transfer your PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 EMT service as long as you are employed as a firefighter in a LEOFF Plan 2 eligible position at the time you request the transfer.
(5) What do I need to do if I have PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 EMT service that can be transferred to LEOFF Plan 2? If you have PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 EMT service that you want to transfer to LEOFF Plan 2, then you must do the following:
(a) Contact the LEOFF unit at DRS. Once DRS verifies you meet the criteria to transfer as described in subsection (1) of this section, DRS will provide you an EMT Transfer Packet that includes an "EMT transfer cost estimate" and an "EMT Request for Transfer" form. You may also request a benefit comparison. You must complete, sign, and return the form to the LEOFF unit to choose to transfer the service credit.
(b) You must pay the difference in the member contribution rates between the PERS rate and the LEOFF rate, plus interest, for each month of EMT service that you transfer. This bill must be paid in full within five years of your election to transfer your EMT service.
(6) Do I have to pay the bill in a lump sum? No, you do not have to pay the bill in a lump sum, you may make installment payments. Interest on the unpaid balance will accrue monthly, at a rate of eight percent annually.
(7) Is there a deadline for requesting to transfer? Yes, you must submit a completed "EMT Request to Transfer" form to the department no later than June 30, 2013.
(8) When will the EMT service be transferred into my LEOFF Plan 2 account? The EMT service will be transferred after:
(a) The bill is paid in full and five years have passed after DRS receives your request to transfer; or
(b) You meet one of the conditions described in subsection (15) of this section.
(9) What if I choose not to transfer my PERS EMT service into LEOFF Plan 2? If you do not choose to transfer your PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 EMT service, it will remain in PERS. You may either withdraw it or begin receiving a PERS retirement benefit when you are eligible. If you do not withdraw or retire from PERS, you will be a dual member of PERS and LEOFF Plan 2 under the provisions of chapter 41.54 RCW.
(10) Can I retire before the transfer of my PERS EMT service is completed? Yes, you may retire from LEOFF Plan 2 once you are eligible, but your retirement benefit will be calculated using only your LEOFF Plan 2 service.
Once the conditions described in subsection (8) of this section have been met, the PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 EMT service will be transferred into your LEOFF Plan 2 account and your retirement benefit will be recalculated and increased to include the transferred service. The increase will be prospective only from the day following the five-year waiting period.
For example, if you requested the transfer on September 15, 2006, made the required payment, and you retired on August 1, 2007, your retirement benefit would be increased on September 16, 2011.
(11) What if I request to transfer my PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 EMT service but change my mind before the transfer is completed? If you decide not to transfer your PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 EMT service into LEOFF Plan 2, you must notify the LEOFF unit at DRS within five years from the date you requested the transfer. LEOFF staff will cancel your request and refund any money you have paid on the transfer bill.
(12) Can I transfer non-EMT PERS service into LEOFF Plan 2? No, you may not transfer non-EMT PERS service into LEOFF Plan 2. Only the PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 service credit you earned working as an EMT can be transferred into LEOFF Plan 2.
(13) Can I transfer my PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 EMT service into LEOFF Plan 2 and withdraw my non-EMT PERS service? Yes, you may transfer your PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 EMT service into LEOFF Plan 2 and withdraw your non-EMT PERS service. You can withdraw your non-EMT PERS service as soon as the PERS EMT service is fully transferred to LEOFF Plan 2. To be fully transferred, the conditions described in subsection (8) of this section must be met.
(14) Can I transfer my PERS EMT service into LEOFF Plan 1? No, you may not transfer your PERS EMT service into LEOFF Plan 1. If you reentered LEOFF Plan 1 membership after your position was relocated to a fire department, you may choose to remain in PERS or return to LEOFF Plan 1 membership, but you may not transfer the PERS EMT service into LEOFF Plan 1.
(15) What happens if I die or retire for disability before the PERS EMT service is transferred into my LEOFF Plan 2 account? If you elect to transfer your PERS Plan 1 or Plan 2 EMT service to LEOFF Plan 2 but die or retire for disability before the transfer is complete, then one of the following will occur:
(a) If your EMT bill is paid in full but the five-year waiting period has not expired, and you are approved for disability or you die, then DRS will transfer your applicable service credit, accumulated contributions, and interest to your LEOFF Plan 2 account immediately. The transferred service credit, accumulated contributions, and interest will be used to calculate your benefit or, in the case of your death, the benefit your spouse or minor children will receive.
(b) If your EMT bill is not paid in full and you retire for disability, DRS will transfer your applicable service credit, accumulated contributions, and interest into your LEOFF Plan 2 account and use them to calculate your benefit. You will then have the following options:
(i) Pay the bill in full;
(ii) Choose to have your monthly benefit actuarially reduced to reflect the unpaid amount of the bill; or
(iii) Continue to make payments against the remaining amount of the bill. You must pay the bill in full no later than five years from your original election date.
(c) If the EMT bill is not paid in full and you die, DRS will transfer your applicable service credit, accumulated contributions, and interest into your LEOFF Plan 2 account and use them to calculate the benefit for your spouse or minor children. Your spouse or minor children will have the following options:
(i) Pay the bill in full;
(ii) Choose to have their monthly benefit actuarially reduced to reflect the unpaid amount of the bill; or
(iii) Continue to make payments against the remaining amount of the bill. Your spouse or minor children must pay the bill in full no later than five years from your original election date.
Note: If the EMT bill is not paid in full within the five-year period, the monthly benefit will be actuarially reduced to reflect the unpaid amount of the bill.
(16) Terms used:
(a) DRS - Department of retirement systems.
(b) EMT - Emergency medical technician or paramedic who provides emergency medical services.
(c) LEOFF - Law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system.
(d) PERS - Public employees' retirement system.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 41.50.050(5) and 41.26.547. WSR 09-05-011, § 415-104-475, filed 2/6/09, effective 3/9/09; WSR 04-04-039, § 415-104-475, filed 1/29/04, effective 3/1/04.]
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