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Buying Creditable Service

You may be eligible to buy years of WRS creditable service while you are actively employed under the WRS.  There are certain types of service that you can buy:

  • WRS service previously forfeited by withdrawing your employee contributions.
  • Your six-month qualifying period if you began WRS employment as a non-teacher prior to 1973.
  • Service with other governmental agencies based in the U.S. (other than military service). The governmental agencies can be federal, state or local. You may also be eligible to buy your years of employment with your WRS employer before your employer participated in the WRS.
  • Uncredited junior teaching (teaching performed while you were under age 25) before July 1, 1957.
  • Teachers who received a paid teacher improvement leave from the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents between January 1, 1964 and August 31, 1967 can buy up to one year of that leave.
  • Service after age 62 in an executive retirement plan position before May 3, 1988.

Benefits of buying service: Your retirement benefit from the WRS is usually based on a formula which includes your years of creditable service. Generally, the more years of service you have, the higher your benefit will be. Depending on your age when you retire and your total creditable service, additional years of service may also decrease the penalty for early retirement. Buying years of service may also increase the years of military service credit for which you are eligible. Your service purchase payment plus the interest it accrues will also increase any benefit based on your account balance, such as a separation benefit, death benefit and money purchase retirement benefit.

How to buy service: Upon request, the Department will provide an estimate of the cost to buy creditable service. You can pay the Department directly, or if you have made voluntary additional contributions to the WRS you can use your additional account balance to pay for service.  You may also be eligible to transfer funds directly to the WRS from another retirement plan qualified under sections 401(a), 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to buy WRS creditable service.

For more detailed information, review these Department resources:


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