As you approach retirement, you'll want to assess your readiness and gain an understanding of the decisions you'll need to make when you apply for your benefit.
We encourage you to contact WRS to speak with a Retirement Educator or Member Benefits Specialist well in advance of your decision to retire.
Your retirement date is something only you can decide. If you want to retire as soon as you are eligible, consider your birthday since your age is one component in determining your eligibility for unreduced (full) retirement.
WRS' pension plans have age and service requirements before a member can begin collecting a benefit. Review the Pension Plan Summary or the pension plan handbook for your plan for retirement eligibility requirements.
In some WRS Pension Plans, members may choose to take a reduced benefit for life and retire before they meet the age and service requirements for an unreduced benefit. The reduction factor for taking early retirement in these cases is 5% per year the member is below the full retirement age. Some plans have no reduced early retirement option.
Some plans contain provisions that allow the member to get an unreduced retirement benefit before reaching the otherwise required retirement age. Under these provisions, such as the "Rule of 85" in the Public Employee Plan, a member qualifies for unreduced retirement when their years of service plus age add up to a certain number (ie, 85).
Pension Benefit Estimate
If you are within three years of retirement, log in to your Online Pension Account or submit an Estimate Request Form to obtain an official estimate based on your service and salary records.
In your Online Pension Account, you can perform estimates for a variety of scenarios regarding your retirement date, your benefit payout option, your beneficiary and more. Some members' accounts may require an audit before being able to create an estimate in the Online Pension Account.
If you're not yet vested, or are further from retirement, you can use the Pension Benefit Calculator for your retirement planning purposes.
Pension Payout Options Basics
Because everyone’s needs are different, many of WRS' pension plans offer different payout options for you to select from when you take your retirement benefit.
Each payout option is a different variation of an annuity. An annuity is a payment method that ensures lifetime retirement income for you and, in some cases your beneficiary. Each option pays one person at a time, first the retiree and upon the retiree’s passing the benefit transfers to a survivor beneficiary depending on the option selected.
The monthly benefit amount will vary depending on the option you select. You want to make sure you select the option that will provide what is needed for your circumstances. Some options allow you to change your beneficiary after you retire, some do not.
You will choose your payout option when you apply for retirement. Take the time to carefully weigh the choices. Once you choose an option and receive your first monthly check, the chosen option cannot be changed.