Retirement Benefits

  Retirement Benefits







The information presented on this site is intended to be a guide and is not exhaustive. In the event of a conflict, the Ordinance ruling governs.

  • The Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) of the County of Milwaukee was created to encourage qualified personnel to enter and remain in the service of the County by providing a system of:

  • ERS was created by Section 201.24 of the General Ordinances in 1937

  • The authority to manage and administer the ERS is vested in the Pension Board. The Pension Board consists of ten members:

    • 3 members appointed by the County Executive (subject to confirmation by the County Board of Supervisors)

    • 2 members appointed by the County Board Chairman (subject to confirmation of the County Board and County Executive)

    • 4 elected members consisting of 3 active employee members and one retired employee member

    • 1 member appointed by the Deputy Sheriff Association

  • ERS members are required to contribute a percentage of their salary to the Plan and participation is automatic

  • Funding contributions to ERS are based on actuarially determined contribution requirements, as well as additional contributions made at the discretion of the County Board. 


Most Milwaukee County employees are considered mandatory members of ERS

  • Employees who are NOT eligible to receive ERS benefits include but are not limited to:

  • All Milwaukee County employees who are hourly without a scheduled work week

  • Seasonal employees

  • Emergency appointments

  • Interns

  • For further information about your eligibility, please contact Retirement Plan Services


New employees complete an enrollment form and designate their beneficiaries as part of New Employee Orientation

Pension Benefits

Monthly Pension Benefit:

  • The normal retirement benefit is a monthly pension for the life of the participant at normal retirement age

  • The formula used to determine the monthly pension benefit is based on:

A multiplier    Service Credits    Final Average Salary

 *as determined by Ordinance, collective bargaining agreement. and ERS enrollment date

  • Multipliers can be 1.5%, 1.6%, 2% or 2.5%

  • Service credits, in general, are based on years of employment history with the County

  • Final Average Salary for most members is based on the 3 highest consecutive years of earnings

Normal retirement pension:

  • 55 years of age with 30 service credits or

  • 60 years of age and vested or

  • 64 years of age and vested

Early retirement pension:

  • Members must be 55 years of age with 15 service credits

  • Pension reduced by 5% for each year prior to normal retirement date

Pension benefits upon termination of service:

  • A terminated employee’s right to the distribution of his or her membership account, that is, total employee contributions, is governed by Milwaukee County Code of General Ordinances Section 201.24 (3.5) 

  • At termination, a member can leave his or her funds in the Plan or withdraw the contributions

If a vested member terminates and does not request to withdraw his or her contributions:

  • Prior employee contributions will remain in ERS and former employee will maintain membership in the Plan

  • Member remains eligible for a benefit according to the terms of the ERS Ordinances and Rules

If a member terminates and is NOT vested:

  • The member can elect to receive a distribution of the balance of the ERS Membership Account under the terms of Milwaukee County Ordinance Section General Ordinances Section 201.24 (3.5) 

  • If the Membership Account is cashed out, any service credit under ERS is terminated and ERS membership will cease, resulting in no further right to any benefits under the Plan

  • If the terminated member returns to County employment after cashing out their Membership Account and accrues new service, any benefit received will be based only on the new service accrued

  • The election to withdraw Membership Account balances must be made within 180 days after termination of employment and is irrevocable once made

  • If an election is not made within 180 days after termination of employment, the Membership Account will be maintained with ERS

  • If the member terminates employment and does not return to Milwaukee County service to become vested, the balance of the Membership Account will be forfeited

Disability Benefits

  • Disability Retirement Benefits are available after review by the Medical Review Board and after approval by the Pension Board

  • Members who are approved to receive a Disability Retirement Benefit will receive a disability pension benefit (without reduction for early commencement) until they are deemed to be no longer disabled

There are two types of Disability Retirement Benefits:

  • Ordinary Disability Retirement (requires 15 years of service credit)

  • Accidental Disability Retirement (disability must be the result of a specific accident occuring at a definite time and place while in the actual performance of your job)

Survivor Benefits

  • In general, survivor benefits are paid out upon the death of an active ERS member only if they were eligible to retire at death

  • Benefits determined by service, collective bargaining agreements, and whether or not there is a surviving spouse and/or dependent children



  • The right to a pension benefit

Vesting requirement:

  • 5 years of credited service for most employees including Deputy Sheriff

Special vesting provisions may be available upon enrollment for individuals who have participated in:

  • State of Wisconsin Retirement System

  • City of Milwaukee Employees’ Retirement System

  • Milwaukee County Employees’ Retirement System (re-hire) 

"Deferred Vested" Members

  • Members who terminate Milwaukee County employment after becoming vested but before they are eligible to receive a pension benefit
  • Deferred vested members can receive pension benefits beginning the month following attainment of normal retirement age


When vested in one or more Systems (Milwaukee County ERS, City of Milwaukee ERS, and/or State of Wisconsin WRS), you may be eligible for a indexed Final Average Salary (FAS), provided you:

  • Meet vesting requirements for each System with your total service across Systems

  • Retire from both Systems within 60 days

Military Service Credit

  • ERS members may quality for additional pension service credit for time served in the United States Armed Forces between January 1, 1938 and December 31, 1974

  • The maximum Service Credit is available is 4 years

  • Military Service Credit is only used for calculating a pension benefit and does not count toward vesting


Military Service is credited as shown below:

Years of County Service

Years of Military Credit


Up to 1


Up to 2


Up to 3


Up to 4 (maximum)


To be considered for Military Service Credit, members need to:

  • Contact RPS to obtain an application form and

  • Provide a copy of Form DD214 (Military Discharge)

  • For information on how to obtain a copy of your military discharge papers, Click Here 

Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA)

  • The OBRA 1990 Retirement System of the County of Milwaukee was established to provide retirement benefits to temporary, seasonal and other non-traditional employees who are not enrolled in ERS

  • OBRA-eligible employees will be briefed on this benefit upon being hired

  • The OBRA system is non-contributory and has no provisions for death, survivor or disability benefits

  • OBRA members are immediately vested and earn a benefit equal to 2% of their covered salary for each year of OBRA service

  • For more information on OBRA, Contact RPS

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