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Annuitant, Be Aware! Reemployment May Cause a Suspension of Benefits

By D|K’s Labor and Employment Team

Former employees who are currently collecting benefits under the Wisconsin ETF should carefully consider the potential effect of resuming work for a WRS employer on their benefit payments. The reemployment rules can be confusing, and take into account the dates of the annuitant’s prior WRS employment.

  • Annuitants who previously terminated their WRS employment before July 2, 2013. These annuitants have the choice of continuing ETF benefits during their re-employment or suspending payments and resuming credits (if eligible) under the WRS during their new employment. Rehired annuitants make this election through their new employer. An annuitant who elects to continue ETF payments can later change their election, but an election to suspend annuity payments is irrevocable.
  • Annuitants who previously terminated their WRS employment on or after July 2, 2013. For these annuitants, the effect of resuming employment with a WRS employer depends on: (1) whether they are resuming WRS employment on a full-time or part-time basis; and (2) when they originally commenced WRS employment.
    • If a re-hired annuitant works two-thirds or more of a full-time schedule, their annuity payments will be suspended until this employment ends.
    • If a rehired annuitant works less than two-thirds of a full-time schedule, the effect on their annuity is determined as follows:
      • Annuitants who first began WRS employment before July 1, 2011 are entitled to the same treatment as described above for annuitants who retired before July 2, 2013. They can elect whether to continue or suspend ETF payments during their re-employment.
      • Annuitants who first began WRS employment on or after July 1, 2011 have no election. They will continue receiving ETF payments and will not be eligible for any additional WRS credits.

Therefore, WRS employers should advise ETF annuitants to review the payment suspension rules to understand the potential effects of accepting new WRS employment.

Note: Former WRS employees should confirm that they have satisfied any applicable “break in service” rules regarding the length of time required between retirement and re-employment.

Please contact your Davis & Kuelthau, s.c. attorney, the author noted above or the related practice group chair linked here if you have any questions.