Nearly 200,000 retired public employees covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System will get a bump up in their pension checks, starting May 1.
Payments from the Core Trust Fund will rise 2 percent and retirees with part of their money in the Variable Fund will get a 4 percent increase from that account, the Department of Employee Trust Funds said Tuesday.
For the average retiree receiving about $24,700 a year from the Wisconsin Retirement System as of Dec. 31, 2016, the Core Fund increase will add about $494 a year to their pension payments.
All public employees in the Wisconsin Retirement System are covered by the Core Fund, the system’s main trust fund, whose holdings are diversified.
The Core Fund had a return of 8.6 percent in 2016 but its gains or losses are spread over a five-year period.
This is the fourth straight year that payments from the Core Fund will increase.
The Variable Fund, an all-stock fund with voluntary participation, had a return of 10.6 percent for 2016. Its results are not smoothed over multiple years. Last year, payments from the Variable Fund fell 5 percent.
The State of Wisconsin Investment Board manages the Wisconsin Retirement System’s trust funds.
About 75 percent of Wisconsin Retirement System benefits are paid from the investment income earned by SWIB.
The Wisconsin Retirement System trust funds have about $98 billion in assets, and they provide benefits for employees of state agencies, the University of Wisconsin System, school districts and most local governments.
The Wisconsin Retirement System is the ninth largest public pension fund in the U.S. and the 25th largest public or private pension fund in the world.
In 2016, the Wisconsin Retirement System paid nearly $4.9 billion in benefits to retired Wisconsin public employees.