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Employers

Employer Bulletin

All WRS Employers
Vol. 20, No. 6
April 18, 2003

WRS Annual Statements of Benefits Enclosed

A personalized Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) annual Statement of Benefits (dated January 1, 2003) is enclosed for your active employees who had WRS contribution balances as of December 31, 2002. Please distribute the statements according to the instructions and guidelines provided below.

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) must verify that all participants receive a WRS Statement of Benefits. Once you distribute the Statements to your employees, complete the Distribution Report included with this Bulletin and return it to ETF by May 30, 2003.

Statements Reflect all Variable Contributions, Including WI Act 11 Variable Contributions

This year's Statements accurately reflect the 2002 variable contributions and variable contribution balances for participants who elected to participate in the variable trust fund since January 1, 2001. You will recall that the January 1, 2002 Statements depicting balances as of December 31,2001 (distributed last year at this time) did not separately reflect variable contribution balances for participants who had elected variable participation since January 1, 2001.

This occurred because necessary systems changes had not been completed by the time the Statements were generated. Instead, the variable balances as of December 31, 2001 were included in the fixed account balances. Variable contributions are now accurately reflected.

If your employees elected variable participation effective January 1, 2001 as provided in 1999 Wisconsin Act 11, their Statement will reflect the total variable contributions for both 2001 and 2002, as illustrated in the example below:

Employee A elected Variable participation effective January 1, 2001 as a result of the provisions in WI Act 11, which opened the variable fund to current and new WRS participants. However, when Employee A's January 1, 2002 Statement of Benefit was generated, ETF was unable to show the WI Act 11 variable contributions for 2001 separately. Because of this, all of Employee A's 2001 contributions (fixed and variable) were shown in the fixed contribution column as follows:

January 1, 2002 Statement


Employee Required Contributions
(Section 3)

Fixed Variable Total
1/1/2001 Balance $111,785.02 $0.00 $111,785.02
2001 Interest * 9,389.94 0.00 9,389.94
2001 Contributions 2,731.68 0.00 2,731.68
Adjustment 0.00 0.00 0.00
1/1/2002 Balance $123,906.64 $0.00 $123,906.64

Had system programming been completed prior to the generation of the January 1, 2002 Statement, Employee A's Statement would have appeared as follows:


Employee Required Contributions
(Section 3)

Fixed Variable Total
1/1/2001 Balance $111,785.02 $0.00 $111,785.02
2001 Interest * 9,389.94 0.00 9,389.94
2001 Contributions 1,365.84 1,365.84 2,731.68
Adjustment 0.00 0.00 0.00
1/1/2002 Balance $122,540.80 $1,365.84 $123,906.64

Now that system changes have been completed and 2001 contributions moved into the variable columns, the January 1, 2003 Statement will depict all of Employee A's 2001 and 2002 contributions correctly within the fixed and variable columns as follows:

January 1, 2003 Statement


Employee Required Contributions (Section 3)

Fixed Variable Total
1/1/2002 Balance $122,540.80 $1,365.84 $123,906.64
2002 Interest * 6,127.04 -314.14 5,812.90
2002 Contributions 1,546.81 1,546.81 3,093.62
Adjustment 0.00 0.00 0.00
1/1/2003 Balance $130,214.65 $2,598.51 $132,813.16

*Please refer employees to the Explanation of Statement of Benefits, ET-7333, included with their Statement for more information on interest crediting provisions.

Note: Combining variable and fixed contributions did not impact interest credited for 2001. Interest for 2001 contributions was not added until 12/31/2002.

Display of Social Security Numbers on Statements

Previous Statements included the employee's Social Security number (SSN). For security and privacy reasons, annual Statements now display only the last four digits of the employee's SSN for identification purposes.

Instructions and Guidelines for Statement Distribution

Employers are responsible for distributing the Statement of Benefits to their active WRS covered employees. The following are guidelines to remember when distributing statements:

  1. Do not forward Statements to employees via U.S. mail in the envelopes provided. If mailing addresses are insufficient or incorrect, the statements will be returned to ETF marked undeliverable.
  2. Be sure to distribute Statements to employees on leave of absence.
  3. If a Statement is included for an employee who recently terminated or for whom a termination report has not yet been sent to ETF:
    • Return the Statement to ETF along with the Distribution Report (see last page).
    • If a termination report has not been sent to ETF, immediately submit an Employee Transaction Report (ET-2533) including the employee's employment termination date, applicable WRS earnings and hours of service, and last known address. ETF will then update the employee's WRS account and forward the Statement to the employee.
  4. Statements for employees who work for more than one WRS employer are sent to the employer with the employee's most recent WRS-begin date.
  5. Statements are not generated for employees who:
    • Terminated employment and for whom you have reported the employment termination to ETF on an Employee Transaction Report (ET-2533).
    • Had no WRS contributions reported as of December 31, 2002. For example, an employee who was enrolled late in December 2002 and who was first paid wages in January 2003, will not receive a January 1, 2003 Statement as there were no wages paid in 2002.
    • Had no balance remaining in their WRS account on December 31, 2002.
  6. The Statement Distribution Report form is due back at ETF by May 30, 2003.

Employees Should Carefully Review Statements

The annual Statement of Benefits provides WRS participants with the opportunity to review important WRS account information that will eventually be used in benefit calculations. Therefore, accuracy is essential. Please encourage your employees to carefully review their Statements and the supporting material enclosed with it. Most questions can be answered by reading this information. Your employees may contact you for clarification of the WRS creditable service, earnings and/or employment category that you have reported to ETF. If you determine that reporting errors have occurred, it is critical that you correct these errors immediately. Please refer to Chapter 10 in the WRS Administration Manual, ET-1127, for instructions and guidance on making prior year account adjustments.

Employer Feedback on Statement of Benefits Format

ETF continually seeks to improve the annual Statement of Benefits format and we welcome your feedback. Please address all comments to Dale Ferron, Division of Employer Services, P.O. Box 7931, Madison WI 53707-7931.

Questions

Employees: If your employees have questions after reviewing the information supplied with the Statements of Benefits and/or after discussing their account balances with you, they may contact ETF's Member Call Center toll free at 1-877-533-5020 or by calling (608) 266-3285 in the Madison area.

Employers: Employer questions may be directed to ETF's Employer Communication Center at 608-264-7900.

Employer Distribution Report

 

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