September 2010 Issue
August 22, 2010

This TRS tip could mean money in your pocket

Source: NYSUT United

Are you a 10-year Teachers' Retirement System member? If so, be sure to check your pay stub and make sure your school district has stopped deducting your 3 percent pension contribution.

Thanks to union-backed legislation 10 years ago, employers must stop deducting the 3 percent contribution for Tier 3 and 4 members who have been retirement system members for 10 years. Remember, this means membership in the Teachers' Retirement System — not just years of service. It doesn't matter if some of your service is part-time, or if you've switched school districts.

Check your records and most recent TRS member profile. If you find your district is improperly deducting the 3 percent contribution, tell your local union president. Then call the TRS at 800- 348-7298 and TRS will contact your district. If you have trouble eliminating the deduction, call us at one of the numbers listed above.

Q: I was a member of the New York City Teachers' Retirement System for nine years and have been a member of the New York State Retirement System since 2005. Am I entitled to no longer contribute the 3 percent for retirement? If so, please inform me as to the necessary paperwork I must fill out.

A: Your first step is to file for transfer of your NYC membership as soon as possible. Contact the TRS Transfer In Unit at 800-348-7298, ext. 6040. The most you will be able to recover is the 3 percent you have paid for this school year, if you apply for the transfer during this school year. Unfortunately, if you had transferred immediately upon entering the state TRS, you would have been eligible to cease the 3 percent when you achieved a total of 10 years of service (counting both systems).

Q: I retired as a teacher this June. If I become a teaching assistant working with computers, etc., for a salary of about $20,000 does that require a waiver of any kind or is it OK with no problems?

A: As long as you are under the $30,000 earnings "cap" for this calendar year, you are OK.

It's important to know the rules about working in retirement. The TRS has detailed information posted on its website, Keep in mind that if you work for a TRS participating employer such as a school district, qualifying charter school, the state Education Department, SUNY or state community college, you must supply your TRS identification number and your annual earnings will be automatically reported to TRS. If you work as a consultant, either independently or through a third-party employer, or for a city public employer in New York state, you must report your earnings to TRS annually.