The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) is a pension trust fund that has been serving the needs of Texas public education employees for more than 70 years. The system is governed by a nine-member board of trustees appointed by the governor with the approval of the Texas Senate.
The TRS retirement plan provides service and disability retirement benefits and death benefits. Current TRS responsibilities for the retirement plan include:
- paying benefits as authorized by law to members and beneficiaries in a timely and efficient manner.
- collecting and accurately recording member contributions
- collecting state and employer contributions
- prudently inventing the pension trust fund to pay benefits provided by law,
- maintaining records of financial transactions and reporting then to the state and TRS members and
- administering the retirement plan to promote an actuarially sound system.
TRS retirement plan benefits are funded by member, state, and employer contributions to trust fund, and by earnings on the investments of the fund. The Texas Constitution provides for a member contribution rate of no less than six percent and a state contribution rate in range of six to 10 percent. Currently, the member contribution rate established by the Texas Legislature is 6.4%, and the state contribution rate is 6.4%. The member contribution rate is applied to the member's eligible monthly compensation, and the state contribution rate is applied to the aggregate eligible compensation of all members during a fiscal year.
The TRS plan of retirement benefits is administered as qualified retirement plan under the provisions of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a). Members benefits in several ways from TRS' tax-qualified status:
- Member contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, meaning that at the time you receive your salary, you do not pay federal income tax on the portion of your salary used to make the contributions. Federal income taxes on the contributions are deferred until you receive a distribution from TRS.
- Interest that is added to member contribution accounts each year is tax-deferred until it is distributed.
- The retirement benefit that you may be eligible to receive is taxable income only for the year in which it is paid.
- Certain benefits payable to a member, retiree, spouse, alternate payee, or beneficiary may be eligible for continued tax deferral through provisions of federal tax law that allow rollovers to another eligible retirement plan.
The TRS retirement benefit plan is a defined benefit plan. This designation means that the amount of the benefit you are paid is determined under a formula established by law. Once you qualify for retirement under the rules of the plan, you are eligible to receive a particular monthly benefit for life. Your monthly benefit is "defined" by the formula and is not limited by the amount of you member contributions to your retirement account. This formula is not weighed for age. Age is only used to establish eligibility; it is not factored into the formula for benefits for normal-age retirement.
As a governmental retirement plan, TRS is not an "ERISA" plan under the federal Employees Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
- TRS also has been given responsibility to administer three other benefit programs established by state law. These programs are separate from the TRS retirement plan and have different eligibility requirements. These programs are:
- TRS-Care, the health benefit program, for eligible retirees;
- TRS-Active-Care, the health benefit program for eligible active public-school employees; and
- TRS Long term care insurance, the optional insurance program that provides funds to assist with long-term care
1000 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701-2698
Question about TRS payroll deductions can be addressed to the ECISD Payroll Dept.,