Generally, a retired member of the System who returns to work for a participating employer in a position covered under the same plan in which the member is retired, the member must have their retirement benefit cancelled and be re-enrolled into the plan to continue earning service credit. However, the “rehired retiree” provision of the Wyoming Retirement Act applies to retirees of the Public Employee, Law Enforcement, and Guard Firefighter plans only and enables a retired member of these plans who meets certain criteria to elect to continue drawing their retirement benefit while working for a participating employer.
If a member retires from one plan and returns to work in another plan, he or she would not be considered a rehired retiree; the member would be considered a new hire and would be treated as such.
The decision to come out of retirement and return to work for a participating employer of the System is complex and may have significant implications for a member’s overall tax and economic situation. WRS recommends the retiree contact one of our representatives for one-on-one counseling prior to making all decisions relevant to retirement.
While WRS strives to have a broad policy, different situations arise for both employers and employees. WRS’ rehired retiree rule and policy are designed to address these different situations fairly and in accordance with both Wyoming and federal law in order to protect the actuarial integrity of the System and its status as a federally qualified pension plan.
Definition of "Retired"
A member must actually be “retired” in order to be eligible to become a “rehired retiree.” There are several factors that determine whether a member is, in fact, “retired.” Wyoming law and Internal Revenue Service code provisions require a "bona-fide" break in service between a retiree’s retirement date and the date of reemployment in the System. Current Wyoming law requires a break in service of at least 30 days. Additionally, a member is not considered to be retired until the System has received termination notice and final contributions from the employer. Therefore, it may, in fact, take longer than 30 days for a retired member to become eligible to be a “rehired retiree.” Importantly, a member is not considered to be "retired" if a pre-existing arrangement to return to work, or any promise of future employment, exists with a participating WRS employer at the time of the member’s retirement.
Rehired Retiree Payment
A participating employer that hires a retiree who elects to continue receiving retirement benefits in accordance with applicable rehired retiree provisions shall pay into the System an amount equal to both the member’s and employer’s contributions required by law. The purpose of this provision is to prevent an unfunded liability from being created by an employer that has hired a retiree into a position for which the System would otherwise be expecting contributions. The Rehired Retiree Payment keeps the System whole. The member does not receive additional service credit for this payment.
Rehired Retiree Form
All rehired retirees must submit a completed Rehired Retiree Form to the Wyoming Retirement System, regardless of whether or not the Rehired Retiree Payment is being paid for the individual. This form allows retirees to either:
- Continue receiving a retirement allowance and not be reinstated as contributing members of the WRS.
- A retiree who is hired into a vacant, full-time position of a regularly contributing employee and who chooses this alternative shall receive no additional credit for services performed.
- For purposes of the rehired retiree provisions, a vacant, full-time position is one for which a full month of service credit would be earned by a participating employee (a participating employee who works at least 86 hours per month earns a full service credit).
- The employer shall deliver monthly to WRS the Rehired Retiree Payment equal to the employee’s and employer’s contributions.
- Discontinue their monthly benefit and be reinstated as contributing members of the WRS.
- A retiree who chooses this alternative shall have their retirement benefit recalculated upon their second retirement to include all additional contributions from the additional service. The new benefit shall also be adjusted to reflect any retirement benefits received prior to reemployment. The new benefit shall be based on the same option and survivor (if applicable) used in the original retirement calculation.
- The employer must enroll the member and contributions must be made for the member, like any other member.