Almost all public employees in Wyoming have their defined benefit pension managed by the Wyoming Retirement System. WRS manages eight separate pension plans for over 700 different employers statewide. These include pension plans for firefighters, law enforcement officers, and public employees, which includes teachers and state government employees. Altogether, WRS covers 42,000 active employees and 26,000 retirees.
The Wyoming Retirement System’s pension plans have a strong economic impact on the state. Annual contributions to the pensions represent 1.78 percent of state and local government budgets in Wyoming- this is less than half the national average. Of the amount paid out in benefits each year, which was $495 million in 2014, 78 percent of those pension payments remain in Wyoming, promoting spending in local economies.
The average annual pension benefit in Wyoming was $18,178 in 2014. This is a modest, but reliable amount of retirement income that Wyoming’s seniors can count on, in addition to their Social Security benefits and personal savings. The funded status for the Public Employee pension plan is 79 percent, right at the level considered healthy for a pension fund, and the plan is projected to be overfunded- at 108 percent- in thirty years.
All told, Wyoming’s teachers, firefighters, and other public employees benefit from a strong, well-managed retirement system.