WRS News Online

Pay Attention to Year-end Deadlines

Push pins on a calendarAs the end of the year approaches, many members begin contemplating retirement or making decisions that will affect their benefits. If you are considering making any of the following decisions, please be aware of the important end-of-year deadlines associated with each:

  • Making additional contributions
  • Purchasing service
  • Withdrawing a health insurance application/change submitted during the It’s Your Choice open enrollment period
  • Electing to participate (or cancel participation in) the Variable Fund

Additional Contributions
If you want to supplement your Wisconsin Retirement System retirement benefit, consider making after-tax additional contributions into your account – you can do so at any time throughout the year. However, interest does not begin to accrue until the January 1 after ETF receives the contributions. So, if you want your additional contributions to begin accruing interest on January 1, 2016, ETF must receive the money by the last working day of this year (December 30, 2015). It may work best for you to budget for this purpose throughout the course of the year. Therefore, it may be beneficial to deposit funds into a separate, interest-bearing account (at your financial institution) throughout the year and make additional contributions to the WRS at the end of the year.

Purchasing Service
If you are eligible to purchase creditable service, it may be to your advantage to do so. Benefits to buying such service: a higher benefit if your annuity is calculated as a formula benefit; and a higher special death benefit for your beneficiaries (if you die as an active employee).
Your application to purchase service (including payment) must be received prior to WRS employment termination (once you terminate employment you are no longer eligible to purchase service).
The best time to purchase creditable service varies, based on individual circumstances. However, in order to buy service based on 2015 calendar year earnings at the current cost, your application and payment must be received by January 4, 2016. If your earnings are based on fiscal year earnings, changes in contribution rates will affect how much you pay. Contribution rates change each year – review the 2015 and 2016 rates for your WRS employment category here.

Withdrawing A Health Insurance Application/Change
If you want to withdraw your recently-submitted health insurance application/change submitted during the It’s Your Choice open enrollment period, you must notify your benefits-payroll office in writing by December 30, 2015.

Variable Elections and Cancellations
If you wish to elect to participate in the Variable Fund or cancel your Variable Fund participation, ETF must receive your election/cancellation prior to the close of business on January 4, 2016 in order for it to be effective on January 1, 2016. Note: Here are preliminary, calendar year investment returns for the Core and Variable Trust Funds as of October 31, 2015.

To learn more, review the following ETF publications:
Buying Creditable Service (ET-4121)
Additional Contributions (ET-2123)
How Participation in the Variable Trust Fund Affects Your WRS Benefits (ET-4930)

Watch for ETF webinars on these topics:

  • Additional Contributions
  • Buying Service
  • Variable Trust Fund
  • WRS Benefits: For New and Mid-Career Employees