Teachers' Retirement System of the City of New York (TRS)
With pension benefits eroding nationwide, your pension becomes more valuable every day. By enrolling in the pension system, teachers and paraprofessionals will:
- Build a pension package that could become their largest financial asset;
- Secure a death benefit to protect beneficiaries; and
- Secure a special pension in case they become disabled and must retire.
TRS deductions usually begin within two months of the first paycheck, and the pension benefit is vested after 10 years of credited service. These contributions also lower your taxable income.
Remember: You must enroll now to receive a pension later. Your UFT pension has:
- A “defined benefit,” which guarantees you a set monthly income for life upon retirement (versus the “defined contribution” plans common in industry, whose benefit is not guaranteed); and
- An automatic cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), preserving your pension’s value.
Enrolling in TRS
Your membership in TRS is not automatic. You must complete a TRS enrollment form and a Designation of Beneficiary form and return them to TRS. You must include proof of your date of birth when you file. Delaying enrollment may affect benefits for you or your beneficiaries. Call TRS at (888)-8NYC-TRS or your UFT borough office for more information
Note: If you previously were a member of another New York State public pension system, you may be eligible to purchase or transfer credit for your prior service when you become a member of TRS. Call a pension consultant in your UFT borough office for help.
Board of Education Retirement System (BERS)
The Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) is available to most employees other than appointed teachers/pedagogues or paraprofessionals. Examples of eligible employees include: occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, substitute teachers and substitute paraprofessionals.
To verify your eligibility and to enroll, please contact the BERS at (718) 935-5400 or online. Call a pension consultant in your UFT borough office for help.
Your Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA)
Another smart move toward a secure retirement is participating in the voluntary tax-deferred annuity (TDA) program. This is a supplemental retirement plan that enables you to invest money for your future on a tax-deferred basis through automatic payroll deductions. To apply, please call TRS at (888)-8NYCTRS or your UFT borough office.
Participants have six investment choices: a guaranteed fixed investment and five variable funds. Federal, state and city income taxes are deferred on contributions and earnings until they are withdrawn. When you retire, you can withdraw all or part of these funds or turn them into an annuity.
To keep you up-to-date on pension matters, the UFT offers an array of services throughout your teaching career:
- Frequent articles in the New York Teacher;
- PensioNews, our pension newsletter, including a special start-of-school issue for new teachers, is available online;
- Speakers for chapter meetings;
- Pension consultants in each borough office available for telephone questions or for personal interviews by appointment;
- Special start-of-school boroughwide meetings;
- Pension clinics; and
- Three elected teacher-members on the Teachers’ Retirement Board to represent your interests.