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Glossary

Glossary of Terms

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1099R The WRS 1099-R is the multi-ply tax form that accompanies lump sum payments from the WRS and is sent to annuitants early in each year. The WRS 1099-R follows Internal Revenue Service guidelines and contains information such as the total benefit amount, the taxable portion of the benefit, and the amount of federal and Wisconsin (annuity only) income tax withheld. ETF reports the identical information about these benefits to the IRS. The pages of the 1099-R contain instructions for filing them with tax returns.
40.63 Disability retirement benefits under section 40.63 of the Wisconsin Statutes for participating employees who are totally and permanently disabled from gainful employment in any occupation. This assumes that the employee has reached normal retirement age and uses the employee's retirement account for funding.
40.65 Duty disability benefits under section 40.65 of the Wisconsin Statutes for protective occupation participants who are injured or contracts a disease due to their occupation. The disability must be permanent and cause them to no longer be able to work full duty.
Accelerated Payment A WRS annuity option that provides a higher monthly payment until the annuitant reaches age 62. At age 62 the WRS payments decrease approximately by the amount of the annuitant's projected age-62 Social Security benefits.
Act 10 and
Act 32

Wisconsin Act 10 and Wisconsin Act 32 became effective in 2011. They contain a number of provisions that affect the retirement and health insurance programs administered by ETF.

Major changes include:

  • Prohibiting employers from paying the employee share of WRS contributions under most circumstances;
  • Making employee-paid contributions pre-tax;
  • Changing the formula benefit multiplier for select members;
  • Creating a new five-year vesting requirement;
  • Modifying the eligibility criteria to enroll in the WRS;
  • Reducing the cost of the benefits provided in the state group health insurance program; and
  • Increasing health insurance premiums for state employees.
Act 11 Legislation that became effective on December 30, 1999, that included provisions which increased WRS benefits for most WRS participants and their beneficiaries.
Active Status A WRS participant who is currently employed by a Wisconsin participating public employer, including employees on a leave of absence.
Actuary The professional organization contracted by ETF to perform the statistical analysis of ETF operations for financial reporting purposes and for determining the contribution rate necessary to pay future benefits of ETF members.
Actuarial Discount A reduction in a WRS formula retirement benefit when an individual receives a retirement benefit before normal retirement age. The percentage that the benefit is reduced is based on the individual's age and the statutory normal retirement age for his/her employment category.
Age Reduction Factor A reduction in a WRS formula retirement benefit when an individual receives a retirement benefit before normal retirement age. The percentage that the benefit is reduced is based on the individual's age and the statutory normal retirement age for his/her employment category.
Alternate Payee The former spouse or domestic partner of a WRS participant to whom the court has awarded a percentage of a participant's WRS account or annuity through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.
Annuitant A person who is receiving an annuity. There are three types of Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) annuitants: Disability Annuitants, Retirement Annuitant and Beneficiary Annuitants. Disability Annuitants are disabled and unable to work until normal retirement age due to a physical or mental disability. Retirement Annuitants are those who have reached their minimum retirement age and are taking a WRS retirement annuity. Beneficiary Annuitants are receiving an annuity as the beneficiary of a deceased
WRS participant or alternate payee.
Annuity A series of monthly payments payable during the life of the annuitant or during a specific period.
Annuity Certain A monthly annuity paid for a specific number of months only, rather than for the annuitant's lifetime. A WRS annuity certain can only be paid from voluntary employee additional contributions and is available for a period of 24 to 180 months.
Annuity Effective Date The date on which an annuity goes into effect, regardless of when the first payment is issued. An annuity effective date that is later than the day after termination of WRS employment must be on the first of a month.
Annuity Options Several monthly payment (annuity) options will be offered to eligible WRS retirees (annuitants). All options pay WRS retirees for their lifetime. Some options will pay or have the potential to pay someone else after the retiree is deceased.
Appeal A written determination made by the Department of Employee Trust Funds may be appealed to the Employee Trust Funds Board or one of the four other Boards attached to ETF. The nature of your appeal determines which Board hears your case. For example, the Group Insurance Board hears insurance appeals.
Attorney-in-Fact A person who acts for another. Used to describe the agent in a Power of Attorney. In contrast to an attorney-at-law, this person does not have to be licensed to practice law.
Benefit Adjustment Contribution (BAC) 1983 Wisconsin Act 141 increased WRS retirement benefits. It created the “Benefit Adjustment Contribution” (BAC) to help fund this increase. 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 eliminated the BAC as of July 1, 2011, so it is no longer being paid.


Beneficiary A person, entity, trust or estate designated by a WRS member to receive a member's benefits upon the member's death.
Beneficiary Designation Members specify beneficiary(ies) of their benefit account(s) by completing a Beneficiary Designation Form (ET-2320).
Benefit Effective Date

For purposes of WRS annuity and lump sum benefits, benefit effective date is the date your benefit is effective for calculation purposes, not the date you will receive your payment.

  • For retiring active employees, the benefit effective date is generally the day after your termination date.
  • If you are currently an inactive member of the WRS, your benefit effective date must be the first of a month.
Calendar Year The annual period running from January 1 through December 31.
Contributions A percentage of all earnings reportable to the WRS; the percentage varies by employment category. Employee contributions are mandatory. In certain circumstances, they may be paid by the employer as a fringe benefit pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. Employer contributions are also required. Employer and employee contributions are adjusted each year.
Core Effective Rate (Formerly called the Fixed effective rate) The annual interest rate applied to the accounts of WRS members eligible for Core effective interest rate crediting.
Core Fund (Formerly called the Fixed Trust) The Core Retirement Investment Trust is one of two trust funds into which the assets of the WRS are placed and managed by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB). The Core Fund is a fully diversified, balanced fund. In other words, it includes a mixture of holdings, such as stocks, bonds and real estate. It is diversified to stabilize the effects of market changes. All WRS members participate in the Core Fund.
Creditable Service The years of service for which a WRS participant has received credit under the WRS. This includes all service for which contributions have been made, purchased service and any retirement service credit granted by the employer prior to the date the employer joined the WRS.
Deferred Compensation Board A five member Board that is responsible for oversight of the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program. The board sets policy, contracts with investment and administrative service providers, and oversees administration of the Deferred Compensation Program. The board is responsible for establishing criteria and procedures for selecting and evaluating investment options offered by the Program. All board members are appointed by the Governor, there are no statutory requirements for appointments.
Deferred Compensation Dollars contributed to a tax favored retirement savings program from gross earnings on a tax-deferred basis.
Deferred Compensation Program A deferred compensation program is the tax favored plan that allows its participants to save a portion of their pre-tax income for retirement. The Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program is an example of this arrangement.
Direct Deposit Direct deposit is the only payment method available for ETF monthly benefits. You must complete and return the Direct Deposit Authorization form (ET-7282) to have your monthly payment deposited directly into your bank or other financial institution account.
Direct Pay Direct Pay is the term describing direct billing of annuitants or insurance continuants for their insurance coverage by an insurance carrier. It applies to those WRS members who continue their state group life or health insurance after termination of employment or retirement and who are not receiving a monthly WRS benefit or are receiving a benefit that is not large enough to pay the premiums.
Disability Benefit Benefits payable to eligible members under disability retirement (40.63), duty disability (40.65), Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) or Long-Term Disability Insurance (LTDI) plans.
Dividend An annual increase (or decrease) in monthly annuities, expressed as a percentage, based on the previous year's investment experience. Each year's core dividend rate is applied to annuities being paid from the core trust fund, and each year's variable dividend is applied to the variable fund annuities in force.
Earliest Retirement Age The minimum age at which a member can begin receiving a retirement annuity, if the person also meets all other eligibility criteria to receive an annuity. Age is determined by employment category that a person is in when terminating all WRS - covered employment.

Employment Category Earliest Retirement Age
General Employees and Teachers 55
Elected Officials and State Executive Retirement Plan Employees 55
Participants with some Protective Occupation Category Service (other than purchased protective category service) 50
Protective Occupation Employees who terminated before 1981 55
Employee Trust Fund Board This board sets policy for the Department of Employee Trust Funds; appoints the ETF Secretary; approves tables used for computing benefits, contribution rates and actuarial assumptions; authorizes all annuities except for disability; approves or rejects ETF administrative rules; and generally oversees the benefit programs, except group insurance and deferred compensation. Membership criteria is set by state law, with some members appointed by the Teachers Retirement Board and the Wisconsin Retirement Board.
Estate
  1. Interest in real estate
  2. Property left by decedent, both real and personal
  3. Property of a ward, both real and personal
Estimated Payments The amount of a new retiree's first several monthly payments. This is normally the amount shown for the annuity option selected on the annuity estimate/application form. Once the employer has reported the participant's final earnings, contributions and service, the Department does a final annuity calculation and adjusts the annuity retroactive to the annuity effective date.
ETF Board This board sets policy for the Department of Employee Trust Funds; appoints the ETF Secretary; approves tables used for computing benefits, contribution rates and actuarial assumptions; authorizes all annuities except for disability; approves or rejects ETF administrative rules; and generally oversees the benefit programs, except group insurance and deferred compensation. Membership criteria is set by state law, with some members appointed by the Teachers Retirement Board and the Wisconsin Retirement Board.
Executor Person named by testator to carry out instructions in his will. Antiquated term. See also "personal representative," the more modern term used in Wisconsin.
FAE The average monthly earnings component used in a formula retirement benefit calculation. The average is calculated by adding the highest earnings for three calendar years (fiscal years for teachers, judges and educational support personnel) and dividing this total by the creditable service earned during these years, then dividing by 12. The three years used are those in which reported earnings were the highest; they do not need to be consecutive, nor the last years reported.
Final Average Earnings (FAE) The average monthly earnings component used in a formula retirement benefit calculation. The average is calculated by adding the highest earnings for three calendar years (fiscal years for teachers, judges and educational support personnel) and dividing this total by the creditable service earned during these years, then dividing by 12. The three years used are those in which reported earnings were the highest; they do not need to be consecutive, nor the last years reported.
Final Annuity Calculation The exact calculation of a WRS final benefit amount, which can only be done after the employer has reported the final earnings, contributions and service for the terminated participant. If an annuitant has been receiving estimated payments, the annuity is adjusted retroactive to the annuity effective date.
Fiscal Year The annual period running from July 1 through June 30.
Forfeited Service If a member has taken a separation benefit (a lump sum withdrawal of the employee's contributions), the participant's account is closed. All service and employer contributions credited to the account are forfeited. If the participant returns to WRS employment, the forfeited service can be purchased if the participant meets certain eligibility criteria.
Formula Retirement Benefit One of the two methods for calculating WRS benefits. A formula benefit is calculated based on a participant's final average earnings, years of service, a formula factor based on the participant's employment category(ies), and any applicable age reduction factor for early retirement.
Formula Multiplier A percentage factor used to calculate a formula benefit. There are different formula factors for different WRS employment categories.
GIB This board sets policy and oversees administration of the group health, life, and income continuation insurance plans for state employees and the group health, life, and income continuation insurance plans for local employers who choose to offer them. The board also can provide other insurance plans, if employees pay the entire premium.
Great-West Retirement Services A division of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, an organization providing financial services throughout the United States. It is the third party administrator for the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program overseen by the Deferred Compensation Board.
Group Insurance Board This board sets policy and oversees administration of the group health, life, and income continuation insurance plans for state employees and the group health, life, and income continuation insurance plans for local employers who choose to offer them. The board also can provide other insurance plans, if employees pay the entire premium.
Guarantee Period The minimum number of months for which a life annuity will be paid. If the annuitant dies before the guarantee period ends, the beneficiary(ies) will receive the remainder of the payments in the guarantee period.
Guardian A court-appointed person charged with caring for the estate and/or person of another living person (the ward). Sometimes there are two guardians appointed: one to care for the estate (property of ward, both real and personal) and one to care for the person. This is most common when a financial institution is handling the money, but is not equipped to handle matters of personal care.

Reasons for appointing a guardian in Wisconsin: proposed ward is a minor (less than age 18), a spendthrift, or an incompetent (mentally, not physically).

Contrast with Guardian ad Litem: A person appointed by the court (judge) during litigation (court case) to represent the interests of a minor or an incompetent.

ICI Acronym for the State and Local Income Continuation Insurance plans.
Income Continuation Insurance Disability benefit which provides replacement income for short and long term disabilities for members who have this insurance coverage.
Investment in Contract (IIC)
When you receive a benefit from your WRS account, it is fully taxable except for the portion based on your “Investment in Contract” (IIC). Your IIC is any portion of your WRS account that was actually contributed by you from after-tax dollars. The remainder of your account consists of accrued interest and contributions paid by your employer(s). Your current IIC is shown on your annual Statement of Benefits. More detailed information about your IIC and how your benefits are taxed is available in the Tax Liability on WRS Benefits brochure (ET-4125).
Last Day Paid The most recent date for which an employee was paid earnings, including accumulated sick leave, other paid leave, vacation, comp time or worker's compensation.
Last Day Worked The most recent date for actual performed work for which the employee is entitled to earnings excluding sick leave, paid leave, vacation, comp time or worker's compensation.
Life Annuity An annuity paid for the lifetime of the annuitant.
Long-Term Disability Insurance Disability benefit for those participating employees who were first covered under the WRS on or after October 15, 1992. The disability must be total and permanent and prevent the employee from being gainfully employed in any occupation. Authorized under ETF 50, Wis. Admin. Code. This does not use the employee's retirement account as it is insurance, not retirement.
LTDI Acronym for the Long-Term Disability Insurance plan.
Lump Sum Payment A WRS benefit paid to a participant, beneficiary or alternate payee in one lump sum.
Market Recognition Account (MRA) A smoothing mechanism provided in Act 11 for reducing the volatility of the annual core effective rates and core annuitant dividend rates by spreading recognition of the core fund investment returns over 5 years. The Market Recognition Account replaces the Transaction Amortization Account.
Maximum Formula Annuity WRS law restricts your formula annuity to a percentage of your final average monthly earnings. The maximum formula annuity is 70% of your final average earnings for participants other than protective category employees. The formula annuity maximum formula benefit is 65% of your final average earnings for protective category employees covered under Social Security, and 85% for protective employees not covered under Social Security (some firefighters only). Note: This benefit maximum applies only to annuities calculated under the formula method; it does not apply to annuities calculated under the money purchase method. If your money purchase annuity is higher than your formula benefit maximum, you will receive the higher money purchase annuity.
Maximum Voluntary Contribution Limit All active participants may make additional contributions to their WRS account. The Federal Internal Revenue Code limits the amount of annual contributions in any calendar year. The total contributions cannot exceed 100% of the employee's annual gross compensation or a total of $50,000 whichever is less (in 2012). This amount may increase annually.
Military Service Active service earned in the United States armed forces which is then credited toward retirement for members of the Wisconsin Retirement System. See Military Service Credit ET-4122 for more information.
Minimum Distribution The minimum amount that federal law requires a qualified retirement plan (such as the WRS) to distribute from a participant's account by certain deadlines.
Minimum Retirement Age The earliest age at which a member can begin receiving a retirement annuity, if the person also meets all other eligibility criteria to receive an annuity. The minimum retirement age is 55 for most WRS participants, and age 50 for participants with some creditable service in a protective occupation category (e.g. police and firefighters).
Employment Category Earliest Retirement Age
General Employees and Teachers 55
Elected Officials and State Executive Retirement Plan Employees 55
Participants with some Protective Occupation Category creditable service (other than purchased protective category service) 50
Protective Occupation Employees who terminated before 1981 55
Money Purchase Retirement Benefit One of the two methods for calculating WRS benefits. A money purchase benefit is calculated based only on the applicant's age when the benefit is paid and the amount of money in the account available to fund the benefit.
Named Survivor

A member may select one of several joint and survivor annuity options that provide a lifetime annuity for both the retiree (annuitant) and one named survivor. A named survivor is most often a spouse or ETF registered domestic partner, and must be listed on the annuity application form. Named survivors cannot be changed or eliminated once the 60-day change deadline has passed. Certain age restrictions apply to named survivors who are not the member's spouse.

Normal Retirement Age The age at which you may begin receiving a retirement annuity that is not reduced by an actuarial age reduction factor. The normal retirement ages for the various employment categories are as follows:
Employment Category Normal Retirement Age
General Employees and Teachers

65

Elected Officials and State Executive Retirement Plan Employees

62

Protective Occupation Employees with less than 25 years of creditable service

54

Protective Occupation Employees with 25 or more years of creditable service

53

Protective Occupation Employees who terminated before 1981 regardless of years of service

55

Other Governmental Service Employment with a non-WRS public employer other than military at the federal, state or local level. Participants may purchase this service. For more information, see Buying Creditable Service ET-4121.
Participant, Active A WRS participant who is currently employed by a Wisconsin participating public employer, including employees on a leave of absence.
Participant, Annuitant A person receiving a retirement or disability annuity from his/her WRS account.
Participant, Inactive A participant who no longer works for a WRS employer but who has left contributions on deposit in the WRS to continue to earn investment earnings.
Participant, or Member
  1. A person who currently is making contributions to the WRS. Also referred to as "active."
  2. A person who no longer is working for a WRS employer but has left contributions in the WRS. Also referred to as "inactive."
  3. A participant who currently is receiving a retirement benefit or disability benefit from the WRS. Also referred to as "annuitant."
Participating Employer A local government, school district or state employing agency that has filed a resolution to participate in the WRS and administers the benefits associated with membership.
Personal Representative Person named by testator to carry out instructions in his will. An executor or administrator of a decedent's estate.
Plan Administrator This is the term used to describe the third party administrator (TPA) contracted by the Department to provide administrative services for certain benefit plans, such as ERA and the WDC.
Power of Attorney Legal document in which one person (principal) appoints another person (agent or attorney-in-fact) to act in his place. In Wisconsin, there are separate requirements for a power of attorney for business matters and for a power of attorney for health care. See chaps. 243 and 155, Wis. Stats.

Scope: A power of attorney may be general, including most or all business decision-making powers, or it may be limited to a specific purpose.

Duration: A power of attorney terminates upon death of the principal. It may also terminate upon incapacity (mental, not physical) of the principal, unless it is a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney must include a statement that the power of attorney is not affected by the subsequent disability or incapacity of the principal.

Primary Beneficiary The person(s) and/or entity(ies) who will receive any death benefits payable upon a participant's death. Those named as principal recipients of a deceased participant's benefits on a beneficiary designation form.
Protective Occupation WRS members who are classified "protective category employees" are as follows:

Protectives with Social Security: law enforcement personnel, including correctional officers, firefighters covered under Social Security, and participants working in positions and defined in WRS statutes as protective occupation employment.

Protective without Social Security: firefighters who are not covered under the federal Social Security program.

QDRO A court order that awards a percentage up to 50% of a participant's WRS account or annuity to a former spouse or registered domestic partner.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) A court order that awards a percentage up to 50% of a participant's WRS account or annuity to a former spouse or registered domestic partner.
Qualifying Service Non-teaching members hired prior to January 1, 1973 were required to serve a qualifying period, usually the first six months, which was not covered under the Wisconsin Retirement Fund (now part of the Wisconsin Retirement System). Members may purchase this service.
Retirement The receipt of retirement benefits after the member has made an application and has fulfilled all requirements for a retirement benefit.
Retirement Age See Minimum Retirement Age.
Rollover Occurs when funds from your benefits are made payable to another qualified retirement plan, traditional IRA or Roth IRA. In other words, you "rollover" the funds or benefit from the WRS to another qualified retirement fund.
SIPD Legislation enacted in 1987 that provided an early recognition of investment gains credited to the Transaction Amortization Account, and directed the ETF Board on how the Wisconsin Supreme Court found the SIPD legislation unconstitutional, and ordered the State of Wisconsin to reimburse the WRS for the portion of the SIPD funds distributed to annuitants in 1997. The Court also directed the ETF Board to find an equitable method of distributing the SIPD funds recovered to the WRS; the SIPD distribution project ended on June 30, 2001.
Secondary Beneficiary If all of the primary beneficiaries die prior to participant's death, the benefits will be distributed to those named as secondary beneficiaries.
Separation Benefit A separation benefit is a lump sum payment of the employee contributions in your retirement account plus accumulated interest. Your separation benefit will also include any voluntary additional contributions you have made to your account. You cannot withdraw part of your contributions; a separation benefit will completely close your account. All service and employer contributions credited to the account are forfeited through a separation benefit.
State of Wisconsin Investment Board The State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) is the state agency responsible for investing the assets of the Wisconsin Retirement System, the State Investment Fund and five smaller trust funds established by the State. SWIB is directed by a nine-person Board of Trustees.
Statement of Benefits An annual statement distributed to active and inactive members that provides individual information on their WRS account.
SWIB The State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) is the state agency responsible for investing the assets of the Wisconsin Retirement System, the State Investment Fund and five smaller trust funds established by the State. SWIB is directed by a nine-person Board of Trustees.
Teachers Retirement Board The Teachers Retirement Board (TR) advises the ETF Board on retirement and other benefit matters involving public school, vocational, state and university teachers; acts on administrative rules and authorizes or terminates teacher disability benefits and hears disability benefit appeals. Nine of the 13 members are directly elected. It appoints four members to the ETF Board and one teacher participant to the separate State of Wisconsin Investment Board.
Termination The employee-employer relationship ends between a WRS participant and the WRS employer.
Termination Date The date on which the WRS employer-employee relationship ends.
Third Party Administrator (TPA) A company that the Department contracts with to provide administrative services for certain benefit plans (such as ERA and the WDC).
TPA (Acronym for Third Party Administrator.) A company that the Department contracts with to provide administrative services for certain benefit plans (such as ERA and the WDC).
TR Board The Teachers Retirement Board (TR) advises the ETF Board on retirement and other benefit matters involving public school, vocational, state and university teachers; acts on administrative rules and authorizes or terminates teacher disability benefits and hears disability benefit appeals. Nine of the 13 members are directly elected. It appoints four members to the ETF Board and one teacher participant to the separate State of Wisconsin Investment Board.
Transaction Amortization Account (TAA) A smoothing mechanism authorized in WRS law for reducing the volatility of the annual core (formerly "fixed") effective rates and core annuitant dividend rates by spreading recognition of the core fund investment returns over a 5-year period. Under Act 11 the TAA The Market Recognition Account replaces the Transaction Amortization Account.
UAAL Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability - The accumulated cost of providing benefits for service credit earned prior to an employer joining WRS. This liability also includes funding for major benefit improvement legislation enacted into law.
Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability The accumulated cost of providing benefits for service credit earned prior to an employer joining WRS. This liability also includes major benefit improvement legislation enacted into law. Sometimes identified as UAAL.
Unreduced Benefits A formula retirement annuity calculated with no age reduction factor, either because the applicant has reached normal retirement age or because the applicant's combination of age and service qualify the applicant for a retirement benefit with no actuarial reduction.
Variable Deficiency When a participant elects to participate in the variable trust fund, the Department maintains a record of how much money is in the participant's WRS account compared to what the account balance would be if the entire account had always been invested in the core trust fund. If the account balance is less than it would be if the participant never participated in the variable fund, that account has a variable deficiency. How much less is in the account due to variable participation is the amount of the variable deficiency. A participant's variable deficiency (or variable excess) changes each year, based on the investment experience of the core and variable funds, and is shown on each year's annual Statement of Benefits.
Variable Effective Rate The annual interest rate applied to the accounts of WRS members who have a WRS variable account balance. Employees first hired before 1980 could have elected to participate in the Variable and have half their contributions invested in the Variable. The Variable Fund was closed in 1980, but was reopened to new enrollments beginning in 2001 through the 1999 Wisconsin Act 11.
Variable Excess When a participant elects to participate in the variable trust fund, the Department maintains a record of how much money is in the participant's WRS account compared to what the account balance would be if the entire account had always been invested in the core trust fund. If the account balance is higher than it would be if the participant never participated in the fund, that account has a variable excess. How much more is in the account due to variable participation is the amount of the variable excess. A participant's variable excess (or variable deficiency) changes each year, based on the investment experience of the core and variable funds, and is shown on each year's annual Statement of Benefits.
Variable Fund The Variable Retirement Investment Trust is one of two trust funds into which the assets of the WRS are placed and managed by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB).The variable fund is primarily a stock fund, which results in a greater degree of risk due to the volatility of the stock market. The core fund is also partially invested in the stock market, and the particular stocks held by the core and variable funds are the same. The variable fund was closed to new participants in 1980, and reopened to new enrollments beginning in 2001 through the 1999 Wisconsin Act 11.
Vesting The minimum number of years of covered WRS employment needed to qualify a participant for a retirement benefit. Some participants must meet one of two vesting laws based on when they first began WRS employment.
  • Participants who first began WRS employment after 1989 and terminated employment before April 24, 1998 must have some WRS creditable service in five calendar years.
  • Participants who first began WRS employment on or after July 1, 2011 must have five years of WRS creditable service.

If neither vesting law applies, participants were vested when they first began WRS employment. Vested participants may receive a retirement benefit at age 55 (age 50 for protective category participants) once they terminate all WRS employment. Participants who are not vested may only receive a separation benefit.

WDC (Acronym for Wisconsin Deferred Compensation.) This is a supplemental retirement savings plan, under Section 457 of the Internal Revenue Code, that is available to all state and university employees as well as employees of local governments that have elected participation in this plan.
Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) This is a supplemental retirement savings plan, under Section 457 of the Internal Revenue Code, that is available to all state and university employees as well as employees of local governments that have elected participation in this plan.
Wisconsin Retirement Board The Wisconsin Retirement Board (WR) advises the ETF Board on matters relating to retirement; approves or rejects administrative rules; authorizes or terminates disability benefits for non-teachers; and hears appeals of disability rulings. It appoints four members to the ETF Board and one non-teaching participant to the separate State of Wisconsin Investment Board.
WR Board The Wisconsin Retirement Board (WR) advises the ETF Board on matters relating to retirement; approves or rejects administrative rules; authorizes or terminates disability benefits for non-teachers; and hears appeals of disability rulings. It appoints four members to the ETF Board and one non-teaching participant to the separate State of Wisconsin Investment Board.
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