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, apply for retirement 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, apply 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.
Log in to your myVRS account and explore the Retirement Planning section. VRS members (with a few exceptions) can retire online. Exceptions include but are not limited to those retiring with:
Hazardous duty service.
Long-term disability in their record or retiring on disability.
Approved Domestic Relations Orders (ADRO) on file.
Ongoing purchase of prior service agreements.
Members eligible to retire using the online system will see the Apply Now button. If you do not see the button, you will see a message that VRS cannot accept your online application at this time, and you can submit a paper application directly to VRS.
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 1-888-827-3847. Read more about authorizing others to access your VRS accounts.
How to Complete Your Retirement Application:
Get step-by-step instructions and answers to common questions.
Once your application is approved, you will receive a letter confirming your selections and your benefit payment amount. When VRS makes your first payment, you will receive a letter that provides important details about your retirement payment as well as other eligible benefits. Keep this letter for future reference. Refer to your Retiree Handbook for more information after you retire.
Required Forms and Documents if Not Applying Online
If not applying online, 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). 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.
Remember to review and update your beneficiaries. Register or log in to your myVRS account to name your beneficiaries. If you elect the Survivor Option, you must 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 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. To complete an estimate of your VRS retirement benefit under the Advance Pension Option, log into your myVRS account and select Benefit Estimator.
If you are eligible for the health insurance credit upon retirement and VRS will be deducting your health insurance premiums, you do not need to apply for it; VRS will apply the credit automatically to your benefit payment. For any premiums VRS will not be deducting, or to report premium changes, you may log in to your myVRS account to manage your health insurance credit or you may submit a Request for Health Insurance Credit (VRS-45). Keeping your information current ensures you receive the proper credit amount and are not at risk for receiving an overpayment, which would require you to reimburse VRS.
If you are enrolled in the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP), submit the Authorization of Coverage Retention for the Long Term Care Plan (VRS-170) and Protection Against Unintentional Lapse of Long Term Care (VRS-171) 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.