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