If you've made the decision to retire, WRS is here to help you through the process.
If you haven't already done so, take the time to review important information about irreversible decisions you'll make when applying for retirement on our Approaching Retirement Page and get an estimate of your benefit in your Online Pension Account.
We encourage you to contact WRS to speak with a WRS Retirement Educator or Member Benefits Specialist to gain a further understanding of your benefit well in advance of your decision to retire.
If you are also a participant in the WRS Deferred Compensation Plan, contact us at (800) 989-9324 to learn about your distribution options.
What You'll Need to Apply
Before you begin your retirement application, gather the following information & documents:
- your last working day and your effective retirement date
- you and your beneficiaries' Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and addresses
- knowledge of which retirement benefit option you will be choosing More Info...
- banking information including bank routing number(s) and account number(s)
- knowledge of tax withholdings you will want to select
- if you are married and applying online, your spouse's email address (unique from your own)
- a scanned version of your birth certificate (if available - this can also be mailed)
Retirement Application Process
Once you've obtained a benefit estimate and have decided on your payout option and retirement date, complete a retirement application in your Online Pension Account or submit a retirement application form on or shortly before your last working day. You may also wait until after your last working day, but most members feel better having completed their application before leaving employment.
Timing of Your First Retirement Payment
Your first payment will be on the retiree payroll date for the month after WRS receives your final contribution from your employer. Talk with your employer to find out when they will be submitting your final contributions and termination notice. If you work for a school district, find out if they are paying all summer contributions in advance or paying throughout the summer.
Your first payment will be retroactive back to your retirement date. For most members the effective retirement date is the day after their last working day or the date they reach the age and service requirement for unreduced benefits, whichever is later. Speak with your employer, as some employers define "last working day" differently due to vacation payouts and other considerations.
Cost of Living Adjustments
The WRS Board and Executive Director are aware that rising prices and inflation are a major difficulty for long-time retirees on a fixed income.
In 2012, the State Legislature passed a law returning the authority to grant pension cost of living adjustments (COLAs) to the Legislature and also requiring 100% funding of the plan before a COLA could be awarded from WRS funds. The Public Employee Pension Plan is moving in the direction of 100% funding through investment earnings and contribution increases. However, it will be many years before the plan meets the requirements to grant a COLA from WRS funds.
The WRS Board has advocated for legislatively funded COLAs and has provided the Legislature with a tool for estimating the cost of COLAs. WRS is not aware of any pending legislation to address this issue.
Benefits provided under the pension plans administered by the Wyoming Retirement System represent one aspect of your retirement assets and should not be expected to replace one hundred percent (100%) of your pre-retirement income. Cost-of-living and other benefit increases are not incorporated into your benefit, emphasizing the importance for you to build additional resources for retirement income, such as personal savings. However, members who select the self-funded COLA feature as a benefit option will see a guaranteed increase.
Pursuant to Wyo. Stat. 9-3-428, although you have a non-forfeitable interest in your accrued and funded benefits, the State of Wyoming is statutorily obligated only for the contributions required by the Wyoming Retirement Act.
What to Expect Post-Retirement
For more information on what to expect after retirement, tax considerations, retirement payroll statements, and more, visit our Welcome to Retirement Page.