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FAQ: TRS and Retirement

How do I use the WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) Calculator to see how much of your own social security you will lose because of TRS?

If you are eligible for Social Security benefits and want to know how much TRS will cause your Social Security benefit to be reduced, follow the steps below. (For your information, WEP stands for Windfall Elimination Provision.)

  1. Click here to go to the WEP Calculator on the SSA Website. You not need to download anything!
  2. Scroll half way down the page until you get to Date of Birth.
  3. Fill in the Date of Birth blank.
  4. Fill in the Age at Retirement blank. Estimate it if you are not sure.  Your statement from Social Security will tell you the earliest date you can draw Social Security.
  5. Select Today’s Dollars.
  6. Non-Covered Pension Amount: For now leave this at zero.
  7. Annual Earnings Covered by Social Security: Use the statement Social Security mailed to you this year and fill in each blank beside the year.   If you don’t have the statement, go to ssa.gov and register.  Then select Earnings Record at the top of the page.  Be sure to use the column that says: Taxes Social Security Earnings and NOT the Taxed Medicare column.
  8. Now it will ask you to estimate you next two years earnings covered by social security.  You can estimate this or leave it at zero.
  9. Hit the calculate button.  This will give you what would draw if you did not have a TRS pension.

Now let’s see how much you lose because of the TRS pension.
Go back to the blank that said:  Non-covered Pension Amount.  Put an estimate of the gross amount you will draw from TRS per month.  Go to the bottom and hit calculate again.  This is what you will actually get from Social Security. Compare this to the first number and you can see how much you will lose.

Is it true that I will get a check from TRS and the school district for June, July, and August?

Yes!! The checks from the district come from money withheld from your pay so that you can be paid in the summer months. You have already earned the money.  TRS checks do not start until 31 days after your last district paycheck, and the district sends in TRS Form 7.  If you are paid through August, the first time you see a TRS check should be toward the end of September, and then all checks in arrears will be paid at once.  As long as you don’t work past June 15th, you will get a retirement check for June, July and August.

When do I need to resign from the district?

You must let the district know that you are leaving, prior to your retirement date, which is usually the last day of May.

Can I retire at the semester and get credit for the year?

If it is your retirement year, you may retire at the end of the semester, as long as you are paid for each day in the semester. For any year other than your retirement year, you must be paid for 90 days. If you retire at the semester, that year will not be counted as one of the years in computing your best three or five-year average, but you will receive one year of credit.

How does TRS determine how much I will earn?

(Years in TRS) (.023) (best three or five-year average)
Look at your statement from this October and it will tell you if your average is based on three or five years, or you can use the calculator on the TRS Website.

When can I retire?

Rule of 80
Membership in TRS started prior to Sept. 1, 2007 and you had at least 5 years as of Aug. 31, 2014

Rule of 80 AND must be 60 years of age
Membership in TRS began after Sept. 1, 2007,and you had at least 5 years of service as of Sept. 1, 2014

Rule of 80 AND must be 62 years of age
Membership in TRS began on or after Sept. 1, 2007 and you did not have at least five years of service on Sept. 1, 2014.

You are 65
You can retire at age 65 without meeting any of the rules above, but you can’t have the TRS health insurance unless you meet the above rules. Also, there is no reduction in your annuity for not meeting the requirements.

How do I become eligible for TRS Care insurance?

At least 10 years of service credit in Texas public education and meet the rule of 80, or have 30 or more years of TRS service credit.

I substituted for several years. Will this count toward my retirement?

Persons who substitute for at least ninety days a year in a position eligible for membership in TRS shall be eligible to purchase credit for that year, if they desire to claim the year for service credit.  This year of credit must be purchased within the most recent 5 years.

What is the cost of TRS Care insurance?

As this information frequently changes, please go to the TRS Website for more information.

When should TRS Care go into effect?

The school district should pay for your insurance through August, so TRS Care will go into effect September 1, however, you may start it anywhere from June 1st to September 1st.  If you are not retiring at the end of the year, TRS Care should go into effect the month after your school insurance ends.  If you take the school insurance and work into June, you may not be able to drop the school insurance until July.  Check with your district for more information.

If I retire at the end of the year, what will be my retirement date?

With TRS, you always retire the last day of the month. If you retire at the end of the year, your retirement date will be the last day of May. As long as you don’t work past June 15, you may declare the last day of May as your retirement date, and get a June retirement check. However, your resignation date from the district is your last day of work.

Can I work after I retire?

If you retired PRIOR to January 1, 2011, you may now work in Texas public education in any capacity without any loss of monthly annuities. The District must pay a surcharge for all retirees who retired after September 1, 2005.

If you retired AFTER January 1, 2011, you may work full time for as much as 12 months each school year without any loss of annuities, only if you have a break in service of 12 full consecutive calendar months after retirement. A recent change in state law repeals the special exceptions such as critical needs areas and bus drivers. Retirees who have not had a 12-month separation, must have one full month of separation, and then may substitute an unlimited amount of time, providing the position has a full-time teacher hired for the position (or 20 days maximum for an unfilled position), or may work NO MORE than 4 hours in any work day per calendar month for non-subsitute work.

Can I buy years in TRS?

You can buy years for withdrawn service, developmental leave, unreported service or compensation credit ( if you taught or substituted 90 days in one year), military service, and you can pay for one year if you have 50 state sick leave days. To find out the cost of buying the years you can go to the TRS Calculators page, however, if you need information about out of state credit, you will need to call TRS at 1-800-223-8778.

If I plan to retire this year, how do I get started?

If you plan to retire this year, either at the end of the fall semester or at the end of May, you need to order your retirement packet online at www.trs.state.tx.us. In order to request your forms, you will need to register with My TRS first. You will find the link to My TRS at the top of the page. Once you have registered with My TRS, on the left side select “Request Retirement Estimate or Packet” and follow the directions. If you have trouble requesting the forms online, you can call TRS at 1-800-223-8778. When they ask you if you have an extension say “counselor” and it will take you to a person.

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