GRMF19-02: Developing Insights on Financial Security with Data on Covered Employees in Wisconsin’s Pension System


  • Adibah Abdulhadi


The Wisconsin Department Employee Trusts Funds provides benefits for 622,123 Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) members, including 201,693 annuitants. The WRS consists of 1,487 state, county, and local governments across the state. ETF manages a defined benefit plan, defined contribution plan, several health insurance programs, life insurance, long-term and short-term disability, employee reimbursement accounts, commuter benefits, long-term care insurance, and a post-retirement health insurance premium program. This partnership project will allow ETF and the UW Madison Center for Financial Security (CFS) to collaborate on future study ideas, explore data and pilot data matching processes.
As an initial pilot we will begin with data on disabilities and workers compensation. This will allow for a further expansion to additional data sources that ETF manages, as well as data mergers with other data. We expect this data will be useful to study:

  • The use of other social insurance or public benefits by covered WRS annuitants compared to other Wisconsin retiree age population

  • Differences in mortality by education, income and race/location that have implications for lifetime benefits

  • The use and timing of state disability claims and SSA SSDI claims

  • The use of accelerated pension benefits before OASI claiming age and health status

  • The role of state pension income in rural communities

This project will develop a road map to explore the potential for research in partnership with state retirement plan administrators, analyze the potential for data matching and the development of cross-program datasets, and detail a prioritized set of proposals for future studies.


Project Year