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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 163L
Category: Financial Services

Class Series Concept

The Retirement Specialist is a professional series that administers and provides services for customers of the public employee retirement system plans and the Deferred Compensation Program administered by the Department of Retirement Systems. This series is responsible for the administration of multiple recruitment systems and plans, including hybrid plans, covering nearly all public employees. This includes but is not limited to Fire fighters, City, county and state law enforcement officers, Teachers and school district employees, public safety officers, State and local government employees. This series is responsible for the collection of contributions as well as the disbursement of retirement benefit payments to members.


This is the entry level of the series. Performs entry-level to routine retirement or benefits program administration and assistance work. Incumbents learn regulatory rules, laws, policies, procedures and processes necessary to provide retirement services for customers of the public employee retirement system plans and the Deferred Compensation Program.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Positions work under close supervision, this is an in-training class designed to provide guidelines, training opportunities, and direct work experience through a comprehensive structured in-training program. Incumbents attend and complete required modules of the training program, assuming work of increasing complexity as skills develop. Performing more difficult and complex tasks associated with retirement calculations, interviewing members and explaining and interpreting regulations, policies and benefits.  

Upon satisfactory completion of the structured training program, incumbents will advance to the Retirement Specialist 2 classification.

Typical Work

Attend and complete required modules of the structured training program;

Interprets and applies state and federal guidelines, agency policies, procedures and regulations in the provision of retirement services administered by the department;

Participates in individualized counseling for active and retired members of all retirement system plans and the Deferred Compensation program;

Reads and interprets Washington Administrative Code (WAC), Revised Code of Washington (RCW) procedural manuals, policies and policy clarifications;

Researches member benefits; calculates retirement benefit estimates by analyzing member accounts and forecasting the impact of various scenarios on the member’s benefits;

Researches, initiates a response and/or responds to routine questions from members and employers related to service credit, membership eligibility, restorations, billings and/or reporting procedures;

Explains program requirements and services available;

Identifies customer needs, clarifies information, researches issues and provides solutions regarding benefits programs and services;

Resolves routine customer problems by identifying the issues, determining procedural steps necessary to bring resolution, working with program staff to implement resolution, and communicating results to the customer;

Maintains an updated working knowledge of all state and federal rules, laws, policies and procedures related to retirement plans and deferred compensation program;

Determines eligibility for membership and authorizes service credit;

Conducts audits of member records for completeness and accuracy;

Creates mandatory and optional billings;

Calculates initial and final retirement benefits for members;

Responds to routine telephone and written inquiries to resolve complaints; prepares correspondence of a routine nature, involving the application of various retirement laws for employers, clients, other entities, or general public;

Provides support to members on agency online tools and calculators;

Reviews and processes requests for withdrawals of contributions;

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: federal and state rules, laws, policies and procedures governing the retirement systems and plans, and the Deferred Compensation Program; math reasoning; written and verbal communication; and computerized systems and software. 

Ability to: interpret and apply state and federal rules, laws, policies and procedures related to retirement; communicate complex, technical information, both verbally and in writing, in a clear, concise, accurate and informative manner based on the knowledge and understanding of the audience; establish and maintain effective working relationships with customers, attorneys, financial advisors, physicians, fellow team members, and the general public; analyze and audit records and information, applying past and present law that is applicable to each individual account; perform accurate benefit calculations; reason, analyze, and comprehend information; make decisions; adapt easily to changing business needs; show commitment, dedication and accountability in work; utilize integrated database systems and agency online tools.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification.  It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

Four years of experience providing direct customer service in person, over the telephone and in writing that requires the reading, analyzing, interpreting and explaining of technical or complex information and/or processes. Experience in insurance, accounting, retirement or benefit program work is preferred. A Bachelor’s degree in a business-related field may substitute, year for year, for experience.

Class Specification History

New class: Adopted June 10, 1999. Effective July 1, 1999. Part of 6767 legislation #20 priority.
Replaces Retirement Benefit Specialist 1.
Revised distinguishing characteristics: 1-19-01
New class code: (formerly 13232) effective July 1, 2007
Revised title, definition, distinguishing characteristics, typical work, knowledge, abilities, desirable qualifications; adopted May 9, 2014.
Revise title, definition, distinguishing characteristics and increase salary range; adopted on an emergency basis May 8, 2014; effective May 9, 2014.
Revise Class Series Concept, Definition, Distinguishing Characteristics, Typical Work, and base salary range increase; adopted 11/14/2023, effective 11/15/2023. 42 professionals, 80148588, Range 44 (from 40), 27 positions.