Young man examining paperwork

Q: I am a new employee under the Wisconsin Retirement System and on information overload. What’s the best way for me to learn about my WRS benefits and the options available to me?

A: In addition to your employer, the Department of Employee Trust funds is the source for learning about your WRS benefits and how they work – not only now but throughout your career. ETF has live webinars hosted by benefits specialists, a robust website to help you find the right information quickly, on-demand videos, calculators, and other tools.

  1. For starters, watch our video, WRS Benefits for New & Mid-Career. You’ll learn about how your benefits work and how to maximize them early on in your career.
  2. Explore all benefits administered by ETF on our website. You'll find detailed information on retirement, disability, health insurance, deferred compensation, and other benefits that may be available to you.
  3. Visit Benefits Available to Me to review all of the WRS benefit programs offered by your employer.
  4. Periodically review whether you should sign up for WRS benefits that you may have initially missed, like life insurance. Under the State of Wisconsin Group Life Insurance Program, you can get coverage up to five times your yearly pay and insure your spouse and dependent children as well. Make sure your benefits are in sync with your life events (e.g., marriage, birth or adoption of a child, divorce, etc.).
  5. Speaking of family matters, did you remember to complete your beneficiary designation form at the start of employment? It’s easy to overlook this important document. Complete it and send to ETF so we know who you want to receive your WRS assets upon your death. You can update this document anytime. 
  6. Another layer of protection to consider is Income Continuation Insurance (if your employer offers it). The ICI program is an income replacement plan that replaces a portion of your income if you are unable to work because of sickness or injury. There is currently a premium holiday for local government employees. This means there is no charge for the standard and supplemental coverage. If you’re a local government employee, visit ICI-Local to review the ETF’s brochure and access the applicable forms. State employees should visit ICI-State
  7. Have you opened up a Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program account yet? Setting aside a small amount each month can make a big difference later. If you already have an account, when is the last time you increased your deferrals – even if by just a few dollars – or looked at changing from pre-tax versus post-tax contributions, depending on your tax situation? 
  8. If you’re a state employee, did you know that upon retirement you can convert unused sick leave to credits to pay for health insurance during retirement? The Accumulated Sick Leave Credit Program is very important fringe benefit program. Eligibility rules apply. 
  9. And by all means, attend a live ETF webinar. We offer twelve sessions per month on a variety of topics. Each session is hosted by an ETF benefits specialist, and participants can ask questions at the end.