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Disability Benefits Available to Active Employees

Did you know there are disability benefits available through the Wisconsin Retirement System? If you are a participating WRS employee and you become disabled and unable to work until normal retirement age due to a physical or mental disability, then you may qualify for WRS disability benefits.

Eligibility
To be eligible for a WRS disability benefit:

  • you must be totally disabled from any occupation (not just your current WRS position) by a mental or physical impairment that is likely to be of a long, continued and indefinite duration; and
  • you must not have reached the normal retirement age for your employment category (there are some exceptions for protective occupation employees and under the Long-Term Care Insurance Plan).

There is also a service requirement, which is waived if your disability is work-related.

If you believe you meet these criteria, contact the Department of Employee Trust Funds as soon as possible to request a personalized disability benefit estimate, an application form and additional instructions and information. Timing is important: Applying more than 90 days after your last day paid affects your earliest possible benefit effective date and the start of your benefit payments.

Contact your employer regarding any other disability-related programs under which you may be covered. For instance, some WRS members have coverage under the Income Continuation Insurance Program. If you have ICI coverage, contact your employer for information about applying for benefits.

Special Eligibility for Protective Occupation Employees
If you are a Protective category employee and become disabled to the extent that you can no longer safely and efficiently perform the duties of your protective position, you may qualify for disability benefits even though you might still be able to engage in some other type of work. Your employer may also offer temporary or other long-term disability benefits.

Please note: The information presented here is a basic overview of the disability benefits that are available to you. For more detailed information and instructions, including how and when to apply for benefits, disability benefit types, effect on life and health insurance, etc., review the following ETF resources: