Applying for Retirement
For Members of the VRS Plan 1 and the VRS Plan 2
Retirement is effective on the first of the month. Your monthly benefit will begin following a bona fide break in service of at least one full calendar month from your retirement date over a period you normally would work.
To begin receiving your benefit payments in a timely manner, submit your application and all required documents to your employer at least 60 days, but not more than four months (120 days), before you want to retire. Example: If you wish to retire on July 1, submit your application by May 1. You will receive your first benefit payment on August 1 for the month of July.
When you apply for retirement, you will elect a benefit payout option. Your election is irrevocable, meaning you cannot change it once you retire, with the exception of the Survivor Option under some circumstances.
If you need assistance applying for retirement, your human resource office, a family member or an individual authorized to act on your behalf, such as an agent named under a power of attorney or a legal guardian, may be able to assist you. For more information, call VRS toll free at 1-888-VARETIR (1-888-827-3847). Read more about the VRS durable power of attorney.
Once your retirement application has been processed, you will receive a retirement certificate and the Retiree Handbook 6053kb. The retirement certificate outlines your benefit payment information as well as your life insurance information, if applicable. Keep your certificate and handbook for future reference.
Select from the following links for what your retirement application must include:
Required Forms and Documents
Your application must include the following forms and documents. Read the directions on all forms carefully and provide all signatures and required documents. An incomplete or incorrect application will delay the processing of your retirement.
Application for Service Retirement (VRS-5) 22kb. Include acceptable legible evidence of your date of birth, such as a copy of your birth certificate. If you are married or separated, have your spouse complete the spouse certification section. Your spouse must sign on or after the date you sign the application.
Designation of Beneficiary (VRS-2) 22kb to ensure your beneficiary designation is up to date. If you elect the Survivor Option, you must submit a VRS-2 to designate a beneficiary for life insurance benefits. You may name your survivor or another individual as your beneficiary.
If you are a state employee, you also must submit the State Health Benefits Enrollment Form for Retirees, Survivors and VSDP/LTD Participants with your retirement application or within 31 days of your retirement date, whether you are electing or waiving coverage. Note: If you defer retirement, you will not be eligible to enroll in the program; if you waive coverage, you will not be able to enroll at a later date. For more information, visit the Department of Human Resource Management website.
If you are an employee of a school division or a political subdivision, contact your human resource office about retiree health insurance your employer may offer. Some employers have arranged with VRS to deduct the premiums from the monthly benefit payment.
Other Forms and Documents
If you are electing the Survivor Option, include acceptable legible evidence of your survivor's date of birth.
If you are electing the Advance Pension Option, you will need a Social Security benefit estimate. The estimate must be less than 12 months old, assume you will have no future earnings after leaving your position and be based on your Social Security earnings record. For more information, see Estimating and Electing the Advance Pension Option.
Request for Health Insurance Credit (VRS-45) 62kb. Submit this form if you are eligible for the health insurance credit and VRS will not be deducting retiree health insurance premiums from your monthly benefit payment. If VRS will be deducting premiums, you do not need to submit this form; VRS will apply the credit automatically to your benefit payment.
If you are a state employee enrolled in the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP), submit the VSDP Long-Term Care Plan Authorization of Coverage Retention (VRS-170) 27kb and VSDP Long-Term Care Plan Protection Against Unintentional Lapse (VRS-171) 26kb if you wish to continue your long-term care coverage into retirement. You will pay the premiums. Learn more about the VSDP Long-Term Care Plan.
- If you are not enrolled in the Commonwealth of Virginia (COV) Voluntary Group Long Term Insurance Program when you retire, you can apply as a retiree, provided you are under age 80. Learn more about the COV long term care program.
Submit your completed application and all required documents to your human resource office. Your employer will review your application, complete the employer certification section and submit your application to VRS. If you apply for retirement after 12 months from leaving employment or if you are retiring after being on long-term disability through the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP), submit your application to VRS.
Once your application has been processed, you will receive a retirement certificate and the Retiree Handbook 6053kb. The retirement certificate outlines your benefit payment information as well as your life insurance information, if applicable. Keep your certificate and your handbook for future reference.