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Department of Employee Trust Funds
August 4, 2008

Accelerated Payment Options Have Changed

The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) offers members who retire before the age of 62 "accelerated" benefit payment options. The intent is to provide a higher WRS annuity until the member reaches age 62 (at which time they can apply for Social Security benefits) and a reduced WRS annuity after age 62. A recent law change has made a small but positive change in the structure of WRS accelerated payment options.

WRS accelerated payment annuities have two parts: a lifetime annuity payable for the life of the annuitant, and a temporary annuity payable until the retiree reaches age 62. Under the laws in effect until July 1, 2008, if the annuitant selected an accelerated payment option than then died before reaching age 62, any death benefit payable from your WRS annuity is based only on your after-age-62 life annuity amount.

On July 1, 2008, the law changed to remove the requirement that the temporary annuity payment ends if the death occurs before the retiree turns 62. Please note that this law change is not retroactive, and therefore does not apply to accelerated payment annuities that began before July 1, 2008.

If your annuity effective date is on or after July 1, 2008, and you select(ed) an accelerated payment option:

  • Your temporary annuity is payable until you reach age 62.
  • If you die before reaching age 62, the temporary annuity will be paid to your named survivor or beneficiary(ies) through the month in which you would have reached age 62, even if there are no death benefits payable from the lifetime portion of the annuity option that you selected when you retired.

If you received retirement estimates from the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) that were calculated before the law change, please note that this change will result in a very small reduction in the amount of your life annuity in order to fund the cost of the improved death benefit protection.

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