After retiring, you may want to return to the workforce. If you are a WRS annuitant, there are many issues that can affect your monthly benefit payment.
Keep in mind that you must retire to be eligible to receive a WRS retirement payment. This means that you MUST completely end your employment relationship with your WRS employer for at least 75 days. If you don’t meet this break-in-service requirement, you did not retire and are not eligible for a benefit payment. If you have not retired and are already thinking about returning to work for a WRS employer, then you should carefully consider whether you intend to retire.
Returning to Work for a Non-WRS (or “Private”) Employer
Working for a non-WRS employer has NO impact on your WRS annuity. As a retiree, you can work for a private employer and your monthly benefit payment, and the health and life insurance benefits administered by ETF, will not change.
If you have comparable health insurance coverage available through another provider, such as your private employer or your spouse’s non-state health insurance plan, consider the following:
- State Employee: You may be able to save (or “escrow”) your remaining sick leave credits. Escrowing your sick leave allows you to use the credit later instead of losing it. See the How to Save Your Sick Leave Credits page for more information.
- Local Employee: Contact your former payroll office with your benefit questions.
Returning to Work for a WRS Employer
Your benefits may be affected if you return to work for a WRS employer. To return to WRS employment, you must have:
- A valid termination of employment: This happens when you end all WRS employment and you do not have an agreement or contract to return to work.
- A break-in-service: This is the time between your WRS retirement date and when you can return to WRS employment. Annuitants cannot return to WRS employment for at least 75 days. If you return before 75 days has passed, your annuity will be canceled and you will have to pay back any payments that you have received.
- Note: Both you and your employer are responsible for knowing the conditions of your employment, and how they may impact your WRS benefits. Even if you were to meet WRS participation requirements unknowingly, your annuity would still be suspended.
If you work for a WRS employer as a contractor, and you are paid directly by the WRS employer, you are subject to the same return to work rules. If you work for a WRS employer through a third party, such as a staffing company, you are not subject to the return to work rules because you are not directly compensated by a WRS employer.
Impact on Your WRS Annuity
Taking a Job in a WRS-Covered Position If You Last Terminated WRS Employment On or After July 2, 2013:
If you are rehired by a WRS employer and meet the current eligibility standards (two-thirds of full time and you are expected to work for at least one year (365 consecutive days, 366 in leap year)), your annuity will be suspended until you re-retire. You do not have a choice on participating in the WRS again if you meet this participation standard.
If you are rehired and you work less than two-thirds of full time in your new position, what happens to your annuity depends on when you were first employed in a WRS position:
- If you first began work under the WRS before July 1, 2011, and you return to work for a WRS employer in a position that is at least one-third of full time, you may elect whether you want to continue or stop your annuity.
- If you first began work under the WRS on or after July 1, 2011, and you return to work for a WRS employer in a position that is less than two-thirds of full time, you may not become a participating employee. Your annuity will continue.
Note: WRS eligibility is based on your hours of service and if you are expected to be employed for at least one year (365 consecutive days, 366 in leap year).
For detailed information about other scenarios, see the Information for Rehired Annuitants (ET-4105) brochure.
Once You are Working as a Rehired Annuitant
If your position meets participation standards, your first annuity will be suspended until you re-retire from the WRS.
Some important information to keep in mind:
While you are working:
- The suspended payments from your first annuity will receive dividend adjustments and the effective rate of interest. Generally, you will receive more overall compensation if you participate in the WRS again even though your first annuity is suspended. See the Information for Rehired Annuitants (ET-4105) brochure for more information.
- Your contributions will be deposited into a second, separate account.
Once you are ready to re-retire:
- Request a retirement benefit estimate and application from ETF by calling 1-877-533-5020. This will show you the benefit options available based on your second account’s service, earnings, and contributions.
- You must apply for benefits from your second account to have your first annuity restart.
- Note that your first annuity will:
- Become effective again on the first day of the month after you stopped working. This means you will receive your first payment on the first day of the next month. So, for example, if you stop working on September 15, you will receive your first payment on November 1.
- Increase based on the balance of your suspended payments.
- Take part in free ETF webinars on these topics. Sessions are offered at convenient times over the lunch hour and early evening.
- See our Planning for Retirement pages for more resources.