All State and Local Employers
Vol. 20, No. 16
November 7, 2003
Required for Receipt of Disability Benefits; Department Now Offers
Small Group Retirement Counseling Sessions
The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)
offers disability retirement and long-term disability insurance
benefits for WRS covered participants who meet the eligibility requirements.
To apply for disability benefits, an employee does not have
to be terminated from WRS employment. However, once a disability
retirement benefit has been tentatively approved, the employee must
terminate from WRS covered employment in order to receive the disability
benefit payments. This requires the employee to completely sever
the employment relationship with the WRS employer. The employee
must submit a letter of resignation to the employer.
Upon notification from Department of
Employee Trust Funds (DETF) disability specialists, employers must
submit a termination date to DETF so the employee can receive the
disability benefit payments. The employee must have submitted their
resignation/termination notice before the employer submits a termination
date to DETF.
Determining the Termination Date
Prompt reporting is essential for the
efficient administration of the WRS. For employers reporting periodic
transactions on paper, the detailed employee earnings and service
information must be submitted within one week of the event or within
one week of the employee's last paycheck (for employees terminating
or going on medical leave).
It is important for employers to be
prompt and accurate when reporting detailed earnings and service
information. Prompt reporting allows DETF to provide timely benefit
payments and maintain accurate and up-to-date information on WRS
member accounts. Termination dates may be submitted to DETF on an
Employee Transaction Report (ET-2533), through electronic
media, or on the Employer Statement (ET-5607) for
employees applying for a disability benefit.
Termination rule, Wis. Adm. Code ETF
10.08 (3), provides criteria for determining the termination
date. The date reported to DETF should be the earliest of:
- The date an unpaid leave of absence
expires when an employee fails to return to work following an
- The date three years after an unpaid
leave of absence began, except for military leave or union service
- The date on which the employer discharges
- The date the employer determines
that the employer-employee relationship terminates, except that
the effective date of the termination cannot be earlier than the
date on which the employer notifies the employee of the termination.
- The last date for which the employee
receives earnings for personal services rendered to or on behalf
of the employer, unless the employer has granted an unpaid leave
of absence for a period of time after this date.
- The date on which the employee's
voluntary resignation is effective as accepted by the employer,
or if later, the date on which the employer receives the employee's
notice of resignation. Retroactive resignation is not permitted.
- The date of the employee's
For information about reporting terminations,
refer to the WRS Administration Manual (ET-1127), Chapter
8 - Employee Transaction Reporting; Chapter 12 - Electronic Media
Reporting; and Chapter 14 - Termination Rule and Reporting.
An employee cannot be a WRS-participating
employee and an annuitant (including a disability annuitant) at
the same time. If the employee does not terminate from WRS covered
employment, then the employer will have to reverse their statement
that indicates the person is not expected to resume active service
and the benefit will be denied. Prompt and accurate reporting of
final service and earnings will help ensure that benefits are paid
timely and accurately.
All employees eligible for WRS participation
must receive a copy of Your Benefit Handbook (ET-2119) when
they are enrolled in the WRS. When an employee terminates participating
employment, plans to retire, or becomes disabled, the employee must
be given a Request for Benefit Information (ET-7301) to complete
and mail to DETF as noted in Chapter 17 of the WRS Administration
Manual. Employees with questions regarding benefit programs
administered by DETF are to be referred to DETF's Member Call
Center toll-free at 1-877-533-2020 or locally in the Madison area
Employers may contact the Employer
Communication Center at (608) 264-7900 for additional information
or with their questions.
Small Group Counseling
The Department of Employee Trust Funds
(DETF) is now offering on-site group counseling sessions for Wisconsin
Retirement System (WRS) participants. The two-hour sessions are
held twice a week in DETF's Madison office: Wednesdays at 1:00
p.m. and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m.
The goal of this new service is to
provide additional counseling opportunities for individuals who
may not want to wait six to eight weeks for individual appointments.
It's also a convenient alternative to coming in without an
appointment and having to wait to see a counselor.
In a group counseling session, participants
receive an overview of WRS benefits and annuity calculations along
with a step-by-step explanation of the retirement estimate, the
annuity options and the application process. The content of the
session has been designed with the goal of providing participants
with the information needed to make informed WRS retirement decisions.
Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions throughout
An additional benefit of these sessions
is the interaction with other WRS participants who are considering
retirement and who have relevant questions, comments and information
on the retirement process to share. Participant evaluations of these
sessions have stated that not only were the sessions informative,
they were also enjoyable.
Group counseling attendees must:
- Be within one year of minimum retirement age.
- Have a valid retirement estimate.
- Bring their retirement packet to the session.
While it is necessary to make an appointment
for group counseling, attendance at a group counseling session can
be scheduled much sooner than an individual appointment. Call DETF's
appointment line at (608) 266-5717 to make a group counseling appointment.
Please share this information with
your employees who are considering retirement.