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News

Department of Employee Trust Funds - Hot Topic
July 21, 2005 (Updated October 7, 2005)

Some Teachers May Be Eligible for Additional Service Credit

Note: due to the volume of inquiries, it may be several months before you get a response from the Department.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently issued a court decision on the Solie and Baxter v. Employee Trust Funds Board case. The court ruled that these teachers are eligible to have previously forfeited years of creditable service restored to their WRS accounts without cost to them. As a result of this decision, certain teachers and former teachers are also eligible for this service credit.

Below are some initial eligibility screening criteria for the additional service credit. If you do not meet all of these initial screening criteria you will not be eligible for service credits under the court’s recent decision. If you meet all of these initial requirements, please contact the Department at the number below. We will review your account to determine if you meet the all of the complete eligibility criteria, and will notify you in writing of whether you qualify for years of creditable teaching service under the Solie and Baxter court decision.

Initial Screening Criteria:

  • You were not granted creditable service under the Benson et al., v. Employee Trust Funds Board court decision. If you were already granted service under that court decision, you have already received credit for the years of service at issue. Solie and Baxter were denied service credit under the Benson court decision, and this new court decision only grants service to certain teachers who were determined to be ineligible under the Benson decision. Exception: If you forfeited service by withdrawing funds from both the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) and the Milwaukee Teachers Retirement Fund (MTRF), and received credit for service under only one of those systems under the Benson court decision, you may be eligible for service credit under the other teacher retirement system under the Solie and Baxter court decision.
  • You first began teaching covered under State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) or the Milwaukee Teachers Retirement Fund (MTRF) before December 1, 1965.
  • You terminated teaching employment and withdrew your member contributions before May 11, 1973.
  • After withdrawing your contributions you returned to covered teaching under the same teacher retirement system (STRS or MTRF), terminated teaching employment, and again withdrew your member contributions before May 11, 1973.
  • You subsequently returned to teaching, and taught in a position covered under the same retirement system (STRS or MTRF) after May 10, 1973. After teaching after that date you never took a separation benefit that closed your teacher retirement account.

If you believe that you meet all of the criteria listed above, please contact the Department to request that your account be reviewed for service credit eligibility under the Solie and Baxter court decision. We will review your records and notify you of whether you qualify.

If we determine that you meet all of the final eligibility criteria, how the service credit will affect your WRS account depends on your current status. If you have not purchased your forfeited service the additional years of service will be added to your account, or if you have already retired your annuity will be recalculated to determine how the additional service credit affects your annuity. If you are entitled to an annuity adjustment your annuity will be adjusted retroactively. If you have already purchased your forfeited service, you will receive a refund for the amount you paid for the years of service for which you are eligible without cost under the court’s ruling.

If you believe that you may qualify you may write to the Department or call us toll-free at 877-533-5020 or at 608-266-3285 (local Madison).

 

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