Most members will be eligible for a monthly lifetime payment.  This is called an “annuity.” If your benefit amount does not meet the required minimum amount, you will only be eligible for a one-time lump-sum payment.

Your official Retirement Estimate and Application will automatically show all the payment options and amounts you may choose from. If eligible, ETF will mail you the necessary documentation for a rollover to another qualified retirement plan.

Your eligibility for a one-time lump-sum payment versus a monthly payment depends on the size of your For Annuitant’s Life Only benefit. Annual minimum and maximum amounts are determined by the IRS. In 2023, the minimum amount is $243 and the maximum amount is $502.

  • If your monthly annuity is less than the minimum amount set by the IRS, you are restricted to a one-time lump-sum payment. 
  • If your monthly annuity is at or above the minimum amount, but less than the maximum amount set by the IRS, you may choose between a lump-sum payment or a monthly payment.  
  • If your monthly annuity is greater than the maximum amount set by the IRS, you are not eligible for a lump-sum payment and may only take a monthly payment.

Life Annuity

Everyone who is eligible for monthly payments has three “Life Annuity” options.

  • For Annuitant’s Life Only
  • Life with 60 Payments Guaranteed
  • Life with 180 Payments Guaranteed

Joint and Survivor Annuity

If you give information to ETF about a qualified named survivor, you will also have four “Joint and Survivor Annuity” options. A named survivor is one person who will receive a lifetime benefit upon your death if he/she survives you.

  • 75% Continued to Your Named Survivor
  • 100% Continued to Your Named Survivor
  • Reduced 25% on Death of Annuitant or Death of Your Named Survivor
  • 100% Continued to Your Named Survivor with 180 Payments Guaranteed

See the Who Can Be a Named Survivor? page for more information about how to choose a named survivor. Be aware that if you choose a named survivor who is not your spouse, you can change this decision within 60 days after your first payment, but after that it is irrevocable.

Accelerated Payment Option

If you are under age 62 when you retire, you may be eligible for an Accelerated Payment option. The purpose of an accelerated payment is to offer a higher benefit amount until age 62; that is when you are first eligible to take your Social Security Retirement benefit. An accelerated payment option includes:

  1. A lifetime annuity, and
  2. A temporary (accelerated) portion that ends at age 62.

Your WRS annuity payment automatically goes down permanently at age 62 when the temporary portion ends, even if you choose not to take your Social Security benefit. The more money you get before age 62, the less you get after 62. The longer you live after 62, the more it “costs” you. Use the Accelerated Payment Cost Calculator to see if the option is right for you.

Additional Contributions

If you made employee additional contributions, you may take this benefit as one of the following (some restrictions apply and depend on your account value):  

  • Lump Sum (one-time payment). 
  • A Life Annuity - The same lifetime options as mentioned above.
  • Annuity Certain - This option is paid for a specific number of months
    • 24 months
    • 60 months
    • 120 months or
    • Between 25 and 180 months (you choose)

Upon Your Death

The payment options differ in what happens after you pass away. There are three possible outcomes depending on the option you choose:

  1. The annuity stops, and no death benefit is payable to a beneficiary(-ies).
  2. Monthly benefits are paid to a beneficiary(-ies) for the remaining number of months in a guaranteed period.
  3. A joint and survivor annuity option pays a named survivor for as long as he or she is living.

Making the Right Choice for You

The right choice depends on several factors specific to each member.  Please consider each annuity option carefully. Once you make a choice, you only have 60 days to change it before it becomes permanent. For a full explanation of all options, see the Choosing An Annuity Option (ET-4117) brochure.