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The Wyoming Public Employees Retirement Plan (WRS)

Is A Defined Benefit Pension Plan

The Wyoming Retirement System (WRS) for state employees is a Defined Benefit Plan that provides a guaranteed lifetime monthly benefit. Membership is mandatory and separated into two tiers depending upon the date you were hired.

As an employee, you make a contribution of 7.0% of your gross, pre-tax salary to the pension fund while your employer contributes 7.2% of your gross salary.

You become fully vested in the plan after completing four years of service (48 months). The total number of months served is calculated by the number of actual hours you’ve worked. One full month of service is credited when you work a minimum of 86 hours. However calculated months of service do not need to be consecutive.

Add to this, the state specifies that the WRS plan is not intended to provide your entire income during your retirement. To help you save additional funds for retirement, the state provides easy access to a 457 Deferred Compensation Plan. See:

https://retirement.state.wy.us/DC.

Tier 1: Hired Prior To September 1, 2012

If you made your first contribution to the plan prior to September 1, 2012, you fall under Tier 1 requirements. Your highest 36 consecutive salary months are used to calculate the amount of your retirement benefit.

For Tier 1, to receive your full benefit, normal retirement age is 60 with four years of service, or if you meet the “Rule of 85” (your age plus years of service equals or exceeds 85).

Tier 2: Hired On Or After September 1, 2012

If you made your first contribution to the plan on or after September 1, 2012, you fall under Tier 2 requirements. Your highest 60 consecutive salary months are used to calculate the amount of your retirement benefit.

For Tier 2, to receive your full benefit, normal retirement age is 65 with four years of service, or if you meet the “Rule of 85” (your age plus years of service equals or exceeds 85).

Early Retirement

Generally, you are eligible for early retirement with a reduced benefit after you either reach age 50 and are vested, or if you complete 25 years of service. When you retire early, your benefit is usually reduced at a rate of 5% per year for each year you are below the normal retirement age for your tier.

However, early retirement requirements may possibly differ depending on your state employer — check with your state employer to confirm whether or not other early retirement restrictions may apply.

Other Wyoming Pension Plans

Wyoming provides other state employee pension plans including:
  • 1.Teachers Plan
  • 2.Warden, Patrol, DCI Pension Plan
  • 3.Firefighter Plan B Pension (Firefighter Plan A is closed to new enrollment)
  • 4.Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) Pension Plan
  • 5.Volunteer Firefighter & EMT Pension Plan (covers non-fulltime employees)
  • 6.Guard Firefighter Pension Plan (Firefighters in the Wyoming Air National Guard)
  • 7.Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension Plan
  • 8.Judicial Pension Plan
Wyoming Pension Plans

WRS FAQ's

How long do I need to work before I am vested WERS?

You become fully vested in the plan after completing four years of service (48 months). The total number of months served is calculated by the number of actual hours you’ve worked. One full month of service is credited when you work a minimum of 86 hours. However calculated months of service do not need to be consecutive.

What is the WERS retirement Age?

The normal retirement age for receiving your full, unreduced benefits depends on when you were hired:

  • Tier 1 (hired prior to September 1, 2012): the normal retirement age is 60 with four years of service, or if you meet the “Rule of 85” (your age plus years of service equals or exceeds 85).
  • Tier 2 (hired on or after September 1, 2012): the normal retirement age is 65 with four years of service, or if you meet the “Rule of 85” (your age plus years of service equals or exceeds 85).

Generally, you are eligible for early retirement with a reduced benefit after you either reach age 50 and are vested, or if you complete 25 years of service. Check with your state employer to determine if other restrictions may apply.

Do I have to pay Federal Income Taxes on my WERS retirement benefit?

Yes – once you retire and start receiving your WERS retirement benefits as income, those payments become subject to Federal taxes.

Will my WERS retirement benefits be reduced by Social Security Benefits I receive?

No, WERS does not reduce your benefit once you become eligible for Social Security.
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Pension Navigators is an educational organization dedicated to helping State Employees make informed decisions when planning their retirement. The educational resources we provide are designed to provide them with the most current information on their State Pension Benefits plus strategies for achieving their retirement income goals.

This website provides an overview of what we can provide to State Pension Agencies to help their employees stay current on the latest rules and requirements of their pension plans.

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