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Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds
Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds
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Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds

<< Back to Statement of Benefits Home

Interactive Statement of Benefits

Your Annual Statement of Benefits is a point-in-time summary of your year-end Wisconsin Retirement System account information.

To learn more about your statement:

1. Select which type you received: (I'm not sure. Which did I receive?)

Select Active/Inactive if:

You are currently or were previously employed by an employer in the WRS.

Select Alternate Payee if:

You were awarded a percentage of your former spouse's or domestic partner's WRS account through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Your statement says Alternate Payee in the box above Section 1.

      Active/Inactive Alternate Payee

2. Click on the information icons on the sample statement to learn more about a section or item.

 

Name & Address

To ensure that you continue to receive important, time-sensitive notifications about your WRS account, keep your mailing address, email and telephone number up to date.

How do I update my name or address?

IRS Codes

The WRS falls under Internal Revenue Codes 401(a) and 403(b).

The WRS is a qualified defined benefit pension plan; it is neither a 401(k) nor a 457(b), which is a deferred compensation plan.

Member ID

A unique identification number specific to each member of the Wisconsin Retirement System.

Please use this number as an identifier instead of your Social Security number when contacting ETF. This applies to in-person contact, email, phone, fax and mail.

As a general rule, your full Social Security number should never be used as a form of identification.

Section 1

This section does not apply to alternate payee accounts.

Section 2

This section shows your total years of creditable service. Service is broken down into three types: "Before 2000," "After 1999" and "After Act 10." You may have service in one, two or all three types, depending on when and how long you have worked under the WRS.

FAQs:

Section 2

This shows your former spouse’s/domestic partner’s years of creditable service that were transferred to your alternate payee account. This includes military service, if applicable. Service is broken down into three types: "Before 2000," "After 1999" and "After Act 10."

Your former spouse/domestic partner may have service in one, two or all three types, depending on when and how long he or she worked under the WRS.

"Before 2000" Service

A higher formula multiplier is applied to this service.

"Before 2000" Service

If the QDRO decree date was after 1999 and your former spouse/domestic partner was employed in a WRS-covered position before 2000 and after 1999, a higher formula multiplier is applied to this service when calculating your formula retirement benefit.

"After Act 10" Service

Only employees in the elected/executive category have this service. A lower formula multiplier is applied to this service.

"After Act 10" Service

Only employees in the elected/executive category have this service. A lower formula multiplier is applied to this service.

Section 3

This section shows the cumulative employee-required contributions in your account and does not include the matching employer contributions (see Section 9 for your total account balance as of January 1, 2017).

  • Employee-required contributions are a percentage of your gross pay.
  • Since July 2011, most employees must pay these contributions themselves.
  • Some employers may pay all or part of the employee-required contributions pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement or contract. Contact your employer if you are uncertain about your specific situation.
  • Your interest rate is shown in this section.

Why doesn't my statement reflect any information about the Variable Trust?

Section 3

This section shows the cumulative employee-required contributions in your account and does not include the matching employer contributions (see Section 9 for your total account balance as of January 1, 2017).

  • Annual interest is applied each December 31 to that year’s beginning balance(s).
  • Your interest rate is shown in this section.

Investment in Contract

Most contributions are made on a "pre-tax" basis and are not taxed until you terminate all WRS employment and receive a WRS benefit. However, some types of employee contributions can be made on an "after-tax" basis and are not taxed again. The non-taxable portion of your annuity, referred to as your "Investment in Contract."

Investment in Contract

Currently, additional contributions are made "post-tax", though some employees did make "pre-tax" additional contributions in the past. Post-tax employee additional contributions are reflected as the "Investment in Contract" amount.

Any "pre-tax" additional contributions are taxed after you terminate all WRS employment and receive a WRS Benefit. These are not reflected in the "Investment in Contract" amount.

Investment in Contract

Most contributions are made on a "pre-tax" basis and are not taxed until all WRS employment is terminated and the member receives a WRS benefit. However, some types of employee contributions can be made on an "after-tax" basis and are not taxed again. The non-taxable portion of your annuity, referred to as your "Investment in Contract."

Investment in Contract

Currently, additional contributions are made "post-tax", though some employees did make "pre-tax" additional contributions in the past. Post-tax employee additional contributions are reflected as the "Investment in Contract" amount.

Any "pre-tax" additional contributions are taxed after WRS employment is terminated and the member receives a WRS Benefit. These are not reflected in the "Investment in Contract" amount.

Section 4

This section shows the balance of additional contributions that you or your employer have made to your account. You cannot withdraw these contributions until you leave all WRS employment. Additional contributions always receive the effective rate of interest.

If you received a Long-Term Disability Insurance (LTDI) benefit, your LTDI supplemental contributions are included as Core Employer Additional Contributions.

Section 4

This section shows the current balance of your share of any voluntary additional contributions your former spouse/domestic partner or his/her employer made to his/her WRS account before the decree date.

  • Annual interest is applied each December 31 to that year’s beginning balance(s).
  • Additional contributions always receive the effective rate of interest.

If your former spouse/domestic partner was approved for a Long-Term Disability Insurance (LTDI) benefit before the decree date, the LTDI supplemental contributions are included as Core Employer Additional Contributions. Your Core balance includes your share of the LTDI supplemental contributions as of the decree date.

Section 5

A beneficiary designation controls who receives a death benefit if you die before you begin your retirement benefit.

Changes in your personal situation like marriage, divorce or termination of a domestic partnership do not change your beneficiary designation. You must file a new designation to change your beneficiary.

FAQs:

Section 6

A separation benefit is a payout of your employee-required contributions, plus any additional contributions (if applicable) and interest. It does not include the employer-required contributions. A separation benefit closes your WRS account. If you are vested and take a separation benefit, you forfeit all rights to a retirement benefit based on the employer contributions and your WRS service earned before the separation benefit.

You are eligible for a lump sum separation benefit if you leave all WRS employment, and you are not vested or you apply before your minimum retirement age. Minimum retirement age is age 55, or age 50 if you have some protective category service that is not purchased forfeited service.

You may have to meet one of two vesting laws depending on when you first began WRS employment:

  • If you first began WRS employment after 1989 and left employment before April 24, 1998, then you must have some WRS-creditable service in five calendar years; or
  • If you first began WRS employment on or after July 1, 2011, you must have five years of WRS-creditable service.

If neither vesting law applies, you were vested when you first began WRS employment. If you are vested, you may receive a retirement benefit at age 55 (age 50 for protective category participants) once you leave all WRS employment. If you are not vested, you may only receive a separation benefit, regardless of your age.

Section 6

A separation benefit is a payout of the employee and additional contributions (if any), plus accrued interest. Employer contributions and all associated service are forfeited. You should carefully consider the consequences of taking a separation benefit. You would forfeit all rights to a future retirement benefit when the member is eligible for a retirement benefit.

You may take a separation benefit under either of two circumstances:

For more information, see Separation Benefits (ET-3101).

FAQ:

Section 7

The amount shown is the minimum death benefit payable to your beneficiary(ies). It will be paid if you die before you apply for your WRS benefit.

Once you are an annuitant (you have submitted a valid retirement application), these estimated death benefits are no longer valid. Instead, your death benefit, if any, is based on the annuity option that you selected.

See the Death Benefits (ET- 6101) brochure for details.

What's the difference between an active and inactive death benefit?

Section 7

If you die prior to applying for a WRS benefit, the death benefit amount shown, plus any additional interest credited, is the amount payable to your beneficiary(ies).

"Active" Death Benefit

This benefit will be paid if you die while employed in a WRS-covered position. A higher formula death benefit may be payable if you are an active WRS employee and are minimum retirement age when you die. An active employee’s beneficiary(ies) is entitled to this benefit regardless of vesting requirements.

"Inactive" Death Benefit

The benefit will be paid if you are no longer working in a WRS-covered position and have not yet received a WRS benefit when you die.

Section 8

This section shows the data ETF uses to calculate your formula retirement benefit:

  • Your three highest years of WRS earnings. The years do not need to be consecutive nor your three most recent years.
  • Your final average monthly earnings (FAE). Your FAE is calculated by adding the total earnings in your three highest years, dividing the total by the total service credited for those three years, then dividing the result by 12.
  • Any Variable Fund excess/deficiency as of January 1, 2017. What is a variable excess or deficiency?

For more information, see the How Participation in the Variable Trust Fund Affects Your WRS Benefits (ET-4930) brochure. You may project updates to your Variable excess or deficiency balances using the WRS Variable Excess/Deficiency Update Calculator.

Section 8

This section shows the data ETF uses to calculate your formula retirement benefit:

  • Your former spouse’s/domestic partner’s three highest annual WRS earnings. The years do not need to be consecutive nor the three most recent years of earnings.
  • His/her final average monthly earnings (FAE). The FAE is calculated by adding the total earnings in the three highest years, dividing the total by the total service credited for those three years, then dividing the result by 12.
  • Any Variable Fund excess/deficiency as of January 1, 2017.

Variable Excess/Deficiency

This amount is shown if your former spouse/domestic partner participated in the Variable Fund before the QDRO decree date. This amount illustrates the value of your account compared to the value if your former spouse/domestic partner had never participated in the Variable Fund. A Variable excess will increase your benefit, while a Variable deficiency will decrease it.

As an alternate payee, you cannot enroll in the Variable Fund, but you can cancel participation in the Variable Fund. For more information, review the How Participation in the Variable Trust Fund Affects Your WRS Benefits (ET-4930) brochure. You may also project updates to your Variable excess or deficiency balances using the WRS Variable Excess/Deficiency Update Calculator.

Section 9

Your money purchase balance is the total value of both the employee-required contributions balance and the matching employer contributions in your account.

  • Your money purchase benefit is calculated by multiplying your total account balance (including interest) by the money purchase factor for your age.
  • In 2017, this balance is only available as a lump sum retirement benefit if the monthly amount is less than $401.

Section 9

  • Your monthly money purchase retirement benefit is calculated by multiplying your total money purchase balance (including interest) by the money purchase factor for your age on the benefit begin date.
  • You must be vested to be eligible.
  • A retirement benefit based on this balance is available only if your former spouse is age 55 (age 50 if he/she had some protective service on the decree date) or if your former domestic partner is normal retirement age.
  • In 2017, this balance is only available as a lump sum retirement benefit if the monthly annuity amount is less than $401.

Section 10

This section shows estimates for your retirement benefit under both the money purchase and formula methods. These are not official estimates; they are for your general information only.

  • If you are older than normal retirement age for your employment category, the amounts are calculated based on your age as of January 1.

You may request a retirement estimate packet online or by contacting ETF six to twelve months before you plan to retire (or before you plan to apply for benefits if you are not an active WRS employee).

If you are unable to work due to a permanent disability, call ETF immediately to request disability benefits information.

Please note, your statement does not include any account receivable amount due if you have an outstanding balance pending. Any monies owed on your account will be deducted from your WRS annuity, if not paid in full, before you apply for benefits.

FAQs:

Section 10

No projections are shown for alternate payee accounts.

If you are vested, you may want to consider applying for your retirement benefit as soon as you are eligible, regardless of your employment status or income.

Contact ETF to request a retirement benefit estimate six to twelve months before you plan to apply for a retirement benefit.

Please note, your statement does not include any account receivable amount due if you have an outstanding balance pending. Any monies owed on your account will be deducted from your WRS annuity, if not paid in full, before you apply for benefits.

FAQs: