Based on another very strong year of investment performance by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Wisconsin Retirement System retirees will see pension payment increases this year. The Core annuity adjustment is 5.1% and the Variable annuity adjustment is 13.0%. The increases will first be reflected on the May 1 annuity payment.

Department of Employee Trust Funds Secretary Bob Conlin and ETF Board Chair Wayne Koessl approved the adjustments, following recommendations by the ETF Board’s consulting actuary.

The 5.1% Core annuity increase has an impact on the retirement income of approximately 222,500 WRS retirees, 85% of whom reside in Wisconsin. Approximately 20% of retirees also participate in the Variable Fund.

Investment risk and costs of the WRS are shared among employees, employers, and retirees. As part of this, the WRS does not guarantee retirees an annual cost-of-living adjustment. Instead, post-retirement adjustments depend on investment performance and can be reduced, based on annual investment returns.

Sharing risk helps keep the WRS fully funded and positioned to meet its benefit promises well into the future.


Additional Facts About the Wisconsin Retirement System

Average WRS Annuity Adjustments
(annualized, as of December 31, 2020)

  5-Year 10-Year 20-Year
Core 2.2% 1.2% 1.3%
Variable 8.4% 6.3% 1.6%

Change in CPI

(Consumer Price Index)

2.0% 1.7% 2.0%


Additional WRS Facts:

  • As of December 31, 2020, there are approximately 222,500 WRS retirees; all retirees participate in the Core Fund.
  • Approximately 42,000 WRS retirees also participate in the optional Variable Fund.
  • The WRS paid approximately $5.9 billion in retirement benefits in 2020.
  • The financial impact of the WRS on Wisconsin is widespread, as more than 85% of WRS retirees live, pay taxes, and buy goods and services in Wisconsin.
  • The median annual WRS pension (Core Fund only) is $20,500 as of December 31, 2020.
  • By law, Core annuities will be increased if there is an annuity reserve surplus of at least 0.5%; annuities are reduced if there is an annuity reserve shortfall of at least 0.5%.
  • The WRS is the 8th largest U.S. public pension fund and the 25th largest public or private pension fund in the world.


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