If you are eligible, you have the option of buying creditable service that can increase your retirement benefits. Purchased service does not count toward the service requirements for other Wisconsin Retirement System benefits, such as vesting, or the amount of service you may be eligible to buy.
You may be eligible to buy:
- Forfeited Service if you left WRS employment, took a separation benefit, and returned to WRS employment.
- Qualifying Service if you were not a teacher when you began your WRS service before January 1, 1973.
- Other Governmental Service if you have worked for a non-WRS public employer at the federal, state or local level.
To buy creditable service:
- You must be actively employed in a position covered under the WRS.
- You must meet eligibility requirements for the service you are eligible to purchase.
- Contact Us for an estimate of how much it will cost you to buy creditable service. We must receive your application and payment before your WRS termination date.
- You may buy service twice during a calendar year.
How to Pay for Your Service
You may choose to:
- Pay the full amount with your application.
- Use your voluntary additional contributions (if applicable).
- Pay up to 90% of the cost through a direct fund-to-fund transfer from an eligible retirement plan. A minimum payment of at least 10% is due with your application.
- Pay with a combination of these payment options.
For more information Contact Us, or see related resources.
What is Forfeited Service?
If a member takes a separation benefit, their WRS account is closed and they forfeit (lose) the years of service they had earned. Members meeting all purchase requirements can buy back the service they lost. Buying forfeited service will increase the amount of your WRS benefit payment.
To purchase forfeited service, you:
- Must have at least 3 complete, consecutive earnings periods since returning to WRS-covered employment.
- May only buy the amount of service you have earned since your return to WRS-covered employment.
- May purchase part, or all, of the service you lost.
Estimated Cost of Forfeited Service:
- The online Forfeited Service Cost Calculator lets you produce an unofficial estimate of the cost to purchase WRS forfeited service.
- For an official cost estimate and application please Contact Us.
What is Qualifying Service?
Until January 1, 1973, non-teaching employees in the WRS were required to serve a qualifying period (normally the first 6 months of employment). During this time, an employee did not earn creditable service or retirement contributions. If you served a qualifying period, you may be eligible to purchase this service. Contact Us for more information.
What is Other Governmental Service?
Other Governmental Service (OGS) is the service you earned working for non-WRS public employers at the federal, state or local level. If purchased, OGS will always be credited as general category service regardless of the type of duties you performed or your current employment category.
To purchase OGS:
- In order to purchase OGS, you must have at least 3 complete, consecutive annual earnings periods under the WRS without a termination in employment of more than 90 days.
- These 3 years must be immediately preceding your application to purchase OGS.
- You may purchase part, or all, of your OGS. However, OGS purchases cannot be greater than the amount of WRS creditable service earned at the time you apply.
- You cannot purchase OGS based on any service from which you are already (or will be) receiving a benefit. This does not apply to Social Security, disability, or benefits paid for service in the Reserves or National Guard.
- The OGS service you worked must meet WRS participation standards:
- Before July 1, 2011: At least 600 hours per year in a non-teaching position or 440 hours per year as a teacher or educational support staff.
- On or after July 1, 2011: At least 1,200 hours per year in a non-teaching position or 880 hours per year as a teacher or educational support staff.
The cost of OGS:
- You must pay the full cost of the benefit increase that the OGS will provide.
- OGS calculations are based on several factors, including your age, years of WRS service and earnings, employment category and retirement date. Even minor differences in any of these factors will impact the cost.
Contact Us to obtain a cost estimate.