Are you thinking of retiring?
You are eligible to apply for a retirement annuity from the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) if:
- You are at least 55 years old (at least 50 if covered by the Protective WRS category); and
- You are vested* in the WRS; and
- You end all WRS-covered employment.
*Employees who are first covered by the WRS on or after July 1, 2011 must have five years of WRS creditable service to be vested in the WRS. Employees who were covered by the WRS prior to July 1, 2011 are immediately vested in the WRS. Once vested, an employee is eligible to receive a retirement benefit. A full year of creditable service is determined as follows:
- For faculty, academic staff, or limited appointees 1,320 hours from 7/1 – 6/30.
- For university staff employees, 1,904 hours from 1/1 – 12/31.
- For executives, 1,904 hours are needed from 7/1 – 6/30. Executives are employees that hold the highest level positions (for example: president, vice president, chancellor).
- Note: An individual can earn up to 1.0 year of creditable service in a 12-month period. Employees may earn a partial year of creditable service. A partial year is a percentage of the year equivalent to the hours spent in paid status (i.e. actual hours worked, vacation, sick leave or other paid leave status) divided by the number of hours required for a creditable year of service.
Employees are eligible for a WRS retirement annuity or lump sum retirement benefit once they have five years of creditable service.
Preparing for Retirement
There are several resources to review before you decide to retire:
- Benefits Handbook (ET-2119): General information about the benefit plans administered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF).
- : Outlines what happens to your benefits in retirement.
- : Suggested steps you may want to take to prepare for retirement.
- Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) Retirement Checklist: Ready to retire? Steps to help you plan, apply, and succeed.
- Video – Choosing When to Retire (14 minutes)
- Estimate the value of your sick leave credits in retirement by using the Sick Leave Credit Conversion Program Estimator.
- Estimate your retirement annuity using one of ETF’s online calculators.
- Estimate your Social Security benefits using the Social Security Administration’s online calculator.
- Schedule an appoint with ETF. Before scheduling an appointment, you must request and receive a benefit estimate from ETF. To schedule an appointment, use the appointment scheduling system or call ETF at (877) 533-5020.
- ETF – Applying For Retirement
- Retirement & Savings
- Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning (U.S. Department of Labor)
- Retirement Toolkit (U.S. Department of Labor)
Remember to review and update your beneficiary designations when you have a life event to make sure that your benefits are paid according to your wishes. Benefit plans that have beneficiary designations include life insurance plans, retirement plans and the health savings account.
For more information review the Beneficiary Information web page.
Every effort has been made to ensure this information is current and correct. Information on this page does not guarantee enrollment, benefits and/or the ability to make changes to your benefits.