Deciding when to retire is a personal choice based on many factors, including your personal finances and risk tolerance. It’s important to consider how your age at retirement may affect the amount of your benefit. The following information will help you understand when you are eligible to retire, the difference between Minimum Retirement Age and Normal Retirement Age, and when you must take a Required Minimum Distribution.

To be eligible for a WRS retirement benefit:
  1. You must be vested and be at least age 55 (or age 50 if you have protective category service).
  2. You must terminate all WRS-covered employment.
  3. You must not be on a leave of absence or in layoff status.
  4. You must turn in a complete and valid retirement application to ETF.
  5. ETF must receive your completed application before your death. Applications received after death are invalid.

If you decide to end WRS employment due to a disability, contact ETF about your eligibility for disability benefits before applying for a retirement benefit. Taking a retirement benefit may affect your eligibility for disability benefits. See the Disability Benefits page for more information.

Minimum Retirement Age

Your Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) is the earliest age that you can begin receiving a retirement benefit (assuming you meet all other eligibility requirements). Benefits that begin early, before your normal retirement age, are permanently reduced because the benefit is expected to be paid longer.  See the Calculating Your Retirement Benefits (ET-4107) brochure for more information.

Normal Retirement Age

Your Normal Retirement Age is the age that you can begin receiving a retirement benefit that is not reduced by an age reduction factor.  The normal retirement age varies by employment category:

Employment Category

Minimum Retirement Age

Normal Retirement Age

General employees and teachers 55 65
Employees first enrolled in an elected official or state executive retirement plan category before January 1, 2017 55 62
Employees first enrolled in an elected official or state executive retirement plan category on or after January 1, 2017 55 65
Protective occupation employees with at least 25 years of creditable service 50 53
Protective occupation employees with less than 25 years of creditable service 50 54

Required Minimum Distribution

Under federal law, if you are no longer working under the WRS, and are not yet receiving a WRS benefit payment, you must receive a disbursement known as a required minimum distribution (RMD). This begins with the year you reach age 70½.

  • ETF will notify you in the year you turn age 69½ about your options to apply for benefits.
  • If you do not respond to ETF by December 31 of the year you reach age 69½, we must make an automatic distribution of the entire account balance. This could result in a tax consequence, an effective date or type of payment that you do not want. It is important for you to contact ETF before an automatic distribution is required.
  • If you continue working under the WRS after you reach age 70½ or older, your WRS benefit must become effective on or before March 1 of the year after you end all WRS employment.

How your benefit is paid depends on the size of your benefit and how this amount falls within federal thresholds.

For questions about the impact that an RMD would have on your personal situation, contact your tax advisor or the IRS. You may also review ETF’s Tax Liability (ET-4125) brochure for more information.