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. Currently, annuitants cannot return to WRS employment for at least 75 days. If you return before 75 days has passed, your annuity will be canceled.
- 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
WRS Participation Requirements: Whether your new position meets WRS participation standards will determine what happens to your annuity. To meet participation standards, you must work at least two-thirds of full time for a full 365 days or more. Generally, two-thirds of full time is defined as working at least 880 hours for teachers and educational support staff or 1,200 hours for all other employment categories.
If your WRS employment ended on or after July 2, 2013, and you return to work for a WRS employer in a position that:
Does not meet WRS participation requirements:
- You may continue receiving your WRS annuity.
- You do not have to participate in the WRS.
Does meet WRS participation requirements:
- Your first annuity will be suspended.
- You must participate in the WRS and become a Rehired Annuitant.
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 877-533-5020. This will show you the annuity 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.
- Your first annuity will 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.