If you are planning to retire at the end of June, this is the time to start thinking about what you need to do. It may seem early, but trust us, it’s not.
Members of the Teachers’ Retirement System and the Board of Education Retirement System often retire immediately after the school year ends. If you are considering this major step, you should also:
Buy outstanding service credit. When you buy additional service credit, it generally means an increase in your pension calculation. So if you have credit outstanding for purchase, you need to start that process before you retire. Refer to your most recent Annual Benefits Statement or a recent Total Service Letter from TRS or BERS to learn if you have service credit available for purchase.
Book a final pension consultation. When you have chosen a retirement date, you should contact a pension consultant in one of the UFT borough offices for a final consultation. During this meeting, your UFT consultant will help you complete necessary paperwork and provide you with detailed instructions on the procedure for submitting your retirement papers. Keep in mind you are only entitled to one final consultation during your career.
Any BERS member ready for a final pension consultation should register and attend a BERS seminar provided by the UFT to complete all necessary paperwork to retire and receive instructions on the procedures for submitting your retirement papers.
Set up your health insurance. You will need to apply for health benefits (if applicable) by filling out an ERB form and submitting it to the DOE. Your UFT pension consultant can assist you with this process at the final pension consultation.
Choose the right payment option. No matter your pension tier, you have several payment options when it comes to how you receive your retirement allowance. All the options provide you with monthly lifetime payments, but each provides a different death benefit, payable to one or more beneficiaries. The maximum payment option pays you the most but does not provide for any beneficiaries.
Keep in mind that you will have other death benefits to assign when you complete your retirement application. These include a lump-sum benefit under Death Benefit Choice #2 for members in Tiers 3, 4 and 6 and a fractional benefit for the month of your death.
Decide how to handle your TDA funds. If you have money invested in a Tax-Deferred Annuity Program with TRS or BERS, you will need to make a distribution choice when you retire. You may want to withdraw or roll over your TDA funds. You may want to maintain your TDA account at TRS or BERS by electing TDA deferral status at retirement. In that case, no distributions are required until you reach age 70½ as a retiree. Or you may choose to annuitize the account and receive a second monthly payment in addition to your pension check.
You can learn more about these choices by going to the TRS website or calling BERS at 929-305-3800. You may also attend a UFT TDA workshop where we outline the basics of the TDA program, teach you the fundamentals of managing your account and show you where to find the right forms on the TRS website.
Consider any pension loans. Retirement is the last opportunity to pay off a loan balance under the Qualified Pension Plan, and it’s also the last chance to take a new pension loan if you have an immediate financial need. Just keep in mind that the amount of your monthly retirement allowance payments will be permanently reduced as a result of any Qualified Pension Plan loan balance at retirement.
Get retirement payments electronically. If you are a DOE employee, your retirement payments are deposited in the same account in which you receive your paychecks — unless you instruct TRS/BERS otherwise.
File your retirement papers in person. We strongly urge all UFT members to file their retirement applications in person at TRS or BERS — and start the process well in advance of retirement, if possible. The earliest you can apply is 90 days before your planned retirement date, and you may apply as late as one day before. When you handle this process in person at the appropriate system office, TRS or BERS representatives can examine the documents, make sure they are filled out correctly, review your choices and answer questions. It’s important that you have your documents completed and notarized before you visit.
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|For more pension information, call you UFT borough office or the Teachers' Retirement System at 1-888-8NYC-TRS (1-888-869-2877); or visit the UFT pension department or TRS.|