In 1953, the state Legislature repealed the State Employees’ Retirement Act and the Wyoming Teachers’ Retirement Act. The Legislature then passed a law creating the Wyoming Retirement System, which combined all teachers and state employees under one system. The new WRS became effective April 1, 1953.
WRS' pension plans are a defined benefit, meaning that they provide a predictable monthly paycheck in retirement that cannot be outlived.
WRS History Milestones
- 1935: The Paid Firemen's Pension Plan was established.
- 1943: The Wyoming Teachers' Retirement System was established.
- 1949: the State Employees' Retirement System was established.
- April 1, 1953: the Wyoming Teachers' Retirement System and the State Employees Retirement System were repealed and combined into the newly formed Wyoming Retirement System, which the University of Wyoming joined.
- Feb. 1, 1965: cities and counties were allowed to join.
- April 1, 1967: the Volunteer Fire Pension Plan started.
- July 1, 1973: the Highway Patrol and Game Warden Plan became effective.
- July 1, 1981: WRS began administration of the Paid Firemen’s Pension Plan. For new firefighters, the plan is now Paid Firefighter “B.”
- July 1, 1984: the state allowed criminal investigators to join the Patrol and Warden Pension Plan.
- July 1, 1992: the "Rule of 85" was adopted for state employees.
- July 1, 1998: the state created the new Judicial Plan, which was mandatory for judges appointed after July 1, 1998. Existing judges were given the option of continuing in the existing plan or switching over to the new plan by Dec. 31, 1999.
- July 1, 1998: all at-will, contract employees were allowed to participate in the WRS. At-will employees pay both employee and employer contributions.
- July 1, 2001: Air Guard Firefighters Plan went into effect.
- 2001: The 457 Deferred Compensation Plan was moved to WRS.
- July 1, 2002: the Law Enforcement Plan became effective. It consolidated the law enforcement personnel from three plans into one.
- July 1, 2005: the state’s probation and parole officers were moved into the Law Enforcement Plan.
- July 1, 2005: the City of Cheyenne’s 911 dispatchers were able to participate in the Law Enforcement Plan.
- July 1, 2008: the Volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians Plan became effective.
- July 1, 2015: the Volunteer Firemen's Pension Plan and the Volunteer EMT Plan combined into the Volunteer Firefighter and EMT Pension Plan.
1955 Member Letter
WRS has a long history of operating in the best financial interest of its members. The letter below was sent to WRS by the daughter of a former member in 2014. She found the letter when going through the former member's files, and shared it with us.
In 1955, a WRS staff member cautioned the member on his choice to withdraw his $421.65 in contributions. The member chose to leave the funds on deposit with WRS. He did go back to work for the state in 1968 and finally retired in 1978. He collected a benefit until 2006. Without those 8 years and eleven months, he would not have benefited as much.
Total contributions to the system: $5,800.36
Total benefits received: $141,079.98
Benefits received in excess of total contributions: $135,279.62