Active Firefighter

ERS Member Self Service

Active employees who log-in to their accounts are able to...
Review: Address, e-mail, phone number & marital status
Change: Personal information and family status
View: Pension account data (contributions, service credit)

Calculate:

Pension benefits, using their actual salary and service credit data

Request:

An official benefit estimate or set up a retirement counseling session

Print:

Beneficiary change forms for both pension benefits and life insurance benefits

 

Here are instructions on accessing ERS Member Self Service.

 

Enrollment Eligibility

You are eligible for enrollment in the ERS if you are either:

A full–time employees (2080 hours per year)
Most part-time employees who average more than half-time hours annually (over 1040 hours per year)

Service Credit

Also known as "Creditable Service," generally refers to the amount of time you have worked as an active member of the Employes' Retirement System. When used to determine a member's percentage multiplier at retirement, "creditable service" is for all intents and purposes time compensated as an employee for which credit is granted. In addition to straight time worked, it includes most paid off time, such as vacation, holidays, funeral leave and sick leave. Certain absences, including U.S. military leave, may also count toward creditable service. The amount of credit granted in a year depends on how much service was earned. An employee who is compensated for the full hourly basis of his or her position would earn one full year of service credit. An employee paid less than the full complement of hours would earn proportionately less. The annual hours basis used to determine creditable service is 2080 hours or 2015 hours for time worked as a firefighter.

There are many rules affecting creditable service. Some of these are discussed in the ERS Member Handbook. Complete rules governing creditable service are outside the scope of this web page. If you have specific questions regarding your service credit and how it impacts your benefits, call the ERS and ask to speak with a Pension Specialist.

Who Contributes

Members hired on or after 10/3/2011 contribute 7% of their pensionable wages toward their benefits.  Members hired before this time have this contribution made by their employer.

Accumulated Contributions

Accumulated contributions are member and employer made contributions accumulated with regular interest.

Qualifying Time

A member working more than ½ of his/her hours basis in a year will receive credit for the entire year for purposes of qualifying for a benefit.

Grace

Grace is service credit granted for certain periods of unpaid time off hours for certain 12-month, full-time employees.  No grace will be granted for unpaid time accrued during the year of enrollment, or the year of retirement or separation.

Prior State or County Service

Under Wisconsin Stat. 40.30, there is an agreement between the City of Milwaukee ERS and the following retirement systems:

  1. Employees’ Retirement System of the County of Milwaukee
  2. Wisconsin Retirement System

The ERS also provides certain benefits for employees who transfer from Milwaukee County or have prior State of Wisconsin service. Because of complex rules regarding reciprocity between systems, County to City transfer and prior State service, please contact the ERS office to learn whether or not you are eligible.

Beneficiary Designation

You have the option to designate a natural person(s), your estate or a Trust to receive the remaining accumulated contributions account. Please note that the person(s) you name will have to provide a certified birth certificate, copy of his/her social security card, and other documentation at the time of your death in order to claim the benefit. 

Here is a link to the Beneficiary form.

Divorce Preparation

If you are preparing for a divorce, please contact our office.

Vesting

After 4 years of creditable service, you have rights to your pension benefit.

 

Military Time

A member will accrue creditable service for all time during which any employee was absent due to service in the military, provided the member contributions continue to paid by the employer, or by the member upon return from military leave.

Disability Process

The Employes' Retirement System provides two types of disability benefits: Duty Disability and Ordinary Disability. Learn more about these benefits here.

Death Benefits

If a member dies while active, and the death is not duty related, payment consists of lump sum balance of accumulated pension account plus ½ of final average salary if more than one year of service.

If a member dies while active, and the death is duty related, payment consists of lump sum balance of accumulated pension account plus 60% of final average salary in monthly payment to surviving spouse.

Life Insurance

Find out about your life insurance coverage here.

Resignation Process

Members wishing to resign from employment with the City of Milwaukee must submit written notice to their Supervisor.  Once your department notifies the ERS of your resignation, the ERS will wait a minimum of 30 days to be sure all payroll has been processed and all the contributions to the pension plan have been credited.  Then the ERS will send a separation letter to the member informing them of the options available to them for their pension account.  If you have any further questions please contact the ERS.

Protective Survivorship Option (PSO)

A PSO provides protection if you continue working beyond your minimum service retirement age. If you die before you retire but after attaining service retirement eligibility, your named survivor will receive the same benefit he or she would have received if you had elected a survivorship option, retired and later died.  Please refer to The ERS Handbook for details.

Deferred Retirement Eligibility

If you separate from City employment with at least four years of creditable service before you are eligible for service retirement, you may take a deferred retirement (no reduction in benefits) at age 57 or an early retirement (reduced benefits) at age 55 if you have at least 15 years of service credit.

Separation Benefits

Members with less than 4 years of service can choose to have their contributions returned to them immediately, or if they feel that they may return to employment, they may choose to leave their contributions with the ERS for up to 5 years. Members with 10 or more years of service can choose to withdraw the balance of their accumulated contributions or select to collect an early or deferred retirement allowance when they become eligible.  Members with more than 4 and less than 10 years of service cannot withdraw their funds, but can collect a deferred retirement allowance when they become eligible.

Withdrawal Rights

You are eligible to withdraw your accumulated contributions if...

1) You have 10 or more years of creditable service.  And... 

2) You have resigned or been terminated from your city employment. 

However, withdrawing your accumulated contributions means that you are waiving all rights to future pension benefits, including Global Pension Settlement (GPS) Benefits.  Also your withdrawal may be subject to penalties.

Refund Application Process

Provided that you are eligible to withdraw your funds, have been counseled, and have decided that you want to withdraw your funds - you should contact the ERS to request a refund application.  You can request a cash refund, you can request that your funds be rolled over to an IRA or other eligible employer plan – or a combination of both. Cash refunds may have tax implications – please consult with a tax professional. The refund application consists of a Refund Application form and a Waiver of Membership Rights form. The completed forms should be returned to the ERS. Once the properly-completed forms are received in the ERS, your refund will be processed as soon as administratively possible.  The refund process may take up to 90 days to complete.

Retirement Eligibility

You may take a service retirement at age 57, or after 22 years of service* at age 49.

*Only creditable service earned while in a Protective Service position applies

Retirement Process

If you would like to learn more about the retirement process, please read our brochure “The Retirement Process for City of Milwaukee Employees.”

Global Pension Settlement

The Global Pension Settlement (GPS) is a settlement between the City, City agencies, and employee and retiree organizations. The GPS became effective January 19, 2001 and provides a number of new benefits or benefit improvements to eligible ERS participants. These benefits are explored in detail here and in our brochure, “GPS Benefits – 5% lump sum bonus and COLAs.”

Estimate Your Pension Benefit

There are different ways to get an estimate.

Calculating Your Pension

If you would like to learn more about how we calculate your retirement benefit, please read our brochure “Estimating Service Retirement Benefits for Police Officers and Firefighters.” Employees are encouraged to use our on-line tools to calculate your different retirement scenarios. Note: Former employees do not have variable shift assignment pay, certification pay or longevity in rank pay included in their final average salary.

© City of Milwaukee Employes' Retirement System, All Rights Reserved
789 North Water Street, Suite 300
Milwaukee, WI 53202
P: 414-286-3557
T:1-800-815-8418
F: 414-286-8428