If you are age 55 or older (age 50 if you have protective category
service other than purchased protective service) and are vested
under the WRS, once you terminate all WRS employment you are eligible
for a retirement benefit. If you are not vested, you may only receive
a separation benefit.
You may have to meet one of two vesting laws depending on when
you first began WRS employment. If neither vesting law applies,
you were vested when you first began WRS employment.
- If you first began WRS employment after 1989 and terminated
employment before April 24, 1998, then you must have some WRS
creditable service in five calendar years.
- If you first began WRS employment on or after July 1, 2011,
then you must have five years of WRS creditable service.
There are two methods of calculating retirement benefits: the formula
and money purchase methods. You are entitled to the higher of the
- Your formula benefit is based on your three highest years of
earnings (your "final average earnings"), a formula
multiplier based on your employment category, your years of creditable
service (including any creditable
military service) and any actuarial reduction for early retirement.
- Your money purchase retirement benefit is calculated by multiplying
the money purchase balance times a money purchase factor based
on your age. Your money purchase balance generally consists of
your employee required contributions, plus interest, plus a matching
amount of employer contributions. This money purchase balance
is shown on your annual Statement of Benefits.
ETF provides retirement estimates up to one year in advance of
your anticipated retirement date. Information about projecting
your retirement benefits at different ages may also be helpful
for planning purposes.
In most cases a retirement benefit is paid as a monthly annuity;
however, if the account is fairly small, a lump sum may be payable
instead. All annuities from required contributions are paid to the
participant for life, and the participant may choose from monthly
options that provide different levels of death benefit protection.
The greater the death benefit protection that you choose to provide,
the more your annuity will be reduced to pay for the extra protection.
If when your benefit begins you have been married for at least a
full year to your current spouse or in a registered domestic partnership
with the same partner, you may need your spouse's or domestic partner's
signature consenting to the option you select.
If you are considering retiring within the next year you should
contact ETF to request a complete retirement estimate packet.
If you are terminating employment because you have become disabled
you may be eligible for Disability
Benefits. If this is your situation, please notify us as soon
as possible and we will provide disability benefit information.
You may call ETF to request benefit information at 1 (877) 533-5020
or (608) 266-3285 local Madison; or you may complete a Benefit
Information Request form (ET-7301) and send it to us at:
Department of Employee Trust Funds
P.O. Box 7931
Madison, WI 53707-7931
For more detailed information, review these ETF resources: