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Leaving WRS Employment Before Retirement Age (Separation)

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If you leave WRS employment before you reach minimum retirement age, you will have two options:

Option 1 - You may leave all of your contributions in the WRS. Individuals who choose this option are considered inactive members of the WRS, and all of their contributions continue to earn interest. When you reach minimum retirement age, you will be eligible for a retirement benefit if you are vested. Your retirement benefit will be based on:

  • employee required contributions;
  • employer matching contributions;
  • any voluntary additional contributions:
  • earned interest.

Option 2- You may choose to take a separation benefit. A separation benefit is a one-time, lump sum payment of:

  • employee required contributions;
  • any voluntary additional contributions:
  • earned interest.

You should carefully consider the consequences of taking a separation benefit. If you take a separation benefit:

  • You will forfeit the matching employer contributions in your account and all benefit rights associated with your employment as described in Separation Benefits (ET-3101).
  • You will incur significant federal and state tax liabilities on your separation benefit if you do not roll it over into another qualified retirement plan or Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
  • A separation benefit completely closes your account. This means that if you later become employed by a WRS employer, your account starts over.

Please read the Department of Employee Trust Fund's Separation Benefits (ET-3101) brochure for more detailed information before choosing an option.

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