Last Updated: 2009-11-23

So You've Made the Decision to Retire.. Now What? Handbook

Step 1

When you have decided on your retirement date, request an estimate of your benefits at least six months before your prospective retirement date. This will allow you sufficient time to determine which benefit payment option is best for you. A description of each benefit payment option is included at the end of this section.

Step 2

Members (active and deferred) must complete a retirement application in order to receive a monthly benefit from the RRS. Applications may be submitted no more than 90 days, but no less than 60 days, before the effective retirement date, which must be the first day of the month.

For those applications not submitted within this 60 - 90 day window, payment of benefits may be delayed and payment made retroactive to the retirement date. Retirements are effective the first day of the month.

Step 3

Once you have finalized your decision to retire, you may schedule a counseling session to complete your retirement application or you may mail it to the following address.

Richmond Retirement System
900 E. Broad St., Room 400
Richmond, VA 23219

If you schedule a counseling session, you should bring the following documents and/or information with you to your counseling session:

  • Proof of age, preferably your birth certificate
  • If you select a survivor option, you must also provide a copy of your survivor's birth certificate.
  • Photo Identification
  • Social Security number, birth date and address for your beneficiary(ies)
  • A voided check or a savings account deposit slip for direct deposit

The application packet consists of the following forms:

View a sample of a completed application

The completed application must be received in the RRS 60 to 90 days prior to the effective retirement date. Also, you must submit documentation for proof of your age, preferably your birth certificate. If you do not have a copy of your birth certificate, please submit one of the documents from the List of Acceptable Documents for Proof of Age.

Benefit Payment Options

When you elect to retire, you must determine how you would like your retirement benefit paid from the options described below. If you do not elect an optional benefit payment, your benefit will be automatically paid to you through a life annuity, i.e. the Basic Benefit.

Basic Benefit

This form of payment provides a monthly benefit to you for life. However, when you die, all benefits stop. There are no monthly payments to a beneficiary after your death.

Social Security (Smooth-Out) Option

This form of payment provides an increased monthly benefit prior to age 65. When you reach age 65, your retirement benefit will be reduced by the projected amount of your primary Social Security benefit. The purpose of this option is to provide for a more nearly level total retirement income before and after age 65, taking into account the federal Social Security benefits. There are no monthly payments to a beneficiary after your death. Note: This option is not available for service retirements.

Joint and Survivor Benefit Option

This form of payment provides a reduced benefit during your lifetime. Upon your death, the same amount or a designated fraction (25%, 50%, 75% or 100%), will continue to be paid to a designated beneficiary, if living. Your benefit remains reduced if your beneficiary precedes you in death.

Pop-Up Joint and Survivor Benefit Option

This form of payment provides a benefit reduced more than in the previous option, with the same amount or a designated fraction (25%, 50%, 75% or 100%), continuing after your death to your designated beneficiary. However, if the beneficiary predeceases you, the benefit is increased to the amount you would have received under the Basic Benefit, as if you had not elected an optional form of benefit.

If you elect either the Joint and Survivor Option or the Pop-Up Joint and Survivor Option at retirement, the designated beneficiary does not have to be a spouse or relative. Please be reminded, however, that once your retirement is effective, the designated beneficiary for either of these payment options cannot be changed.

Level Benefit Option

This form of payment provides a level monthly benefit for your lifetime which is less than the basic benefit before age 65 and greater after age 65. This is available only to firefighters and police officers or former vested members who separated from the city prior to March 1, 1997.


Contact Information:

Richmond Retirement System
City of Richmond
730 E. Broad Street, Suite 900
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
Phone: (804)646-5958
Fax: (804)646-5299

Toll-Free (Outside Central Virginia): (888)288-2781
Office Hours: By Appointment Only
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Walk-in Visits:
Monday - Friday
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
and 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

More Contact Information

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