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Frequently Asked Questions

You can search the FAQs on our website by keyword or category above. 

A list of the most commonly asked questions.

Can I change my pension tier?

You may qualify for a different tier if you switched tiers during a tier change period, or if you transferred your membership to TRS from another eligible retirement system. In addition, you can apply for reinstatement to your previous status if you are presently a TRS in-service member and lost your tier membership in TRS or another New York City or New York State public retirement system. You may obtain a Membership/Tier Reinstatement Request Form (SD42) in the “Tools” section of the TRS website at or by calling TRS at 888-8NYCTRS. To be reinstated, you must pay back the contributions that were refunded when your membership ended, plus 5 percent interest from the date of the refund to the date of repayment. BERS members should call 929-305-3800.

Why is the pension number box on my paystub blank?

If you are an appointed teacher, the box may be blank because you have not filed an enrollment application or (if you have) because your application is still being processed. If you are not an appointed teacher and have not filed an enrollment application with the Teachers’ Retirement System, the box is blank because you are not yet a TRS member; you must file an enrollment application to join TRS.

Are married members required to designate their spouse as their beneficiary?

No. They may designate someone else if they choose.

I work for a charter school. Will I get a pension?

Not necessarily. Charter schools each decide what retirement benefits they will offer. They do not automatically provide pension coverage through the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System. However, they may opt to do so.

Are substitute and per-diem teachers eligible for pensions?

Substitutes and per diem teachers cannot join the Teachers’ Retirement System, but they may be eligible for pension coverage with the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS). Contact BERS at 65 Court Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201, or call 929-305-3800 or your UFT borough office. When you are a regularly appointed teacher, you are eligible to enroll in and transfer your pension to the Teachers' Retirement System.

How much money do I have to contribute to my pension?

That depends on when you joined the retirement system. Your contribution rate is indicated on your Quarterly Account Statement from TRS or you can call a pension consultant at your UFT borough office. In any case, you will pay a percentage of your salary and the employer will contribute the rest of the money needed to pay for your pension benefit.

How may I choose or change a beneficiary?

New members receive a “Designation of QPP (Qualified Pension Plan) Beneficiary Form” with their TDA enrollment application and should file both forms together. Participants in the Tax Deferred Annuity Program should designate a beneficiary for their TDA funds by filing a “Designation of TDA Beneficiary Form.”

In-service members may change their beneficiary on the TRS website ( at any time.There is one exception: If you have a trust on file or wish to designate a trust as beneficiary, you can’t make beneficiary changes online. You must instead submit a Designation of QPP Beneficiary Form, code EN6, and/or a Designation of TDA Beneficiary Form, code EN8. 

Members of the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) can call 929-305-3800 or visit BERS for information on how to designate or update their beneficiaries.

See "Designating Your Beneficiaries" for more detailed information

Are there any restrictions on purchasing credit for prior service?

There is no limit on the number of years of prior service credit you can purchase. However, you can't receive more than one year of credit for any given school year, and there may be minimum service requirements in a given year. You must complete at least two years of credited service with the retirement system before you can receive credit for prior service.

How much does it cost to purchase service credit?

The cost of purchasing service is based on your tier in the pension system. You may be eligible to pay in a lump sum, through payroll deductions, or through a TDA transfer. TRS will give you a Cost Letter, which explains the options, the amount of credit available for purchase and the cost.

Do I need to re-enroll in the TDA Program each year?

No. Your contributions automatically continue into the next year. However, you may change your contribution rate on the Teachers' Retirement System website at or by filing a hardcopy TDA Contribution Rate Change Form. BERS members may call 929-305-3800.