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Tax Withholding and Address Changes Online
We are pleased to announce that TRS members can now update their tax withholdings online in the MyTRS Member Portal. The changes are in the system immediately and you do not have to print, complete and mail a form. The changes must still be made by the 15th of the month to take effect in the next benefit payment. You can also update your mailing address online. This is very important at this time of year for retirees receiving IRS 1099-R forms to ensure delivery to the current address. Click on MyTRS Member Portal to login or register.
Summer Newsletter Available Now
The 2020 Summer “Advisor” is on our website. We have articles about the COLA granted by the Legislature, health insurance benefits, and more. Click here to start reading.
TRS 2020 COLA Information
Any person receiving benefits from the Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma as of June 30, 2019, who continues to receive benefits on or after July 1, 2020, shall receive an increase in benefits as follows:
- Zero percent (0%) if the person has been retired for less than two (2) years as of July 1, 2020;
- Two percent (2%) if the person has been retired for at least two (2) years but less than five (5) years as of July 1, 2020; and
- Four percent (4%) if the person has been retired for five (5) years or more as of July 1, 2020.
2020 COLA Frequently Asked Questions
The term “COLA” for a pension plan means a “Cost of Living Adjustment.” It is an increase in your monthly pension benefit. We all know that costs for health care, food, fuel and other necessities of life, increase over time. Many public pensions around the U.S. provide some type of COLA. COLAs under current Oklahoma law can only be given by passing a bill that provides for one. The COLA in 2020 was authorized in HB 3350 passed by the Legislature this legislative session, and was signed into law by the Governor on May 21, 2020.
People retired on 8/1/2015 through and including 7/1/2018, will receive 2% since that is 24 to 59 months of being retired through June 30, 2020.
People retired on or before 7/1/2015 will receive 4% since that is 5 or more years (at least 60 months) of being retired from July 1, 2020.
Retirement benefit payments are made in arrears on the first of the next month. Normally the July benefit payment would be made on August 1. However, since August 1, 2020 falls on a weekend, the pay date for the first benefit with the COLA will be July 31, 2020.
Yes. The eligibility for a COLA still depends on when the member retired, but current joint annuitants will receive the applicable COLA percentage. In addition, the increased benefit to a TRS retiree now, will raise the future benefit of the surviving joint annuitant when the TRS member dies.
This means a period of time when a retired member was receiving a monthly benefit and had not suspended his or her retirement benefit to return to work as an active, contributing member. This is different than post-retirement employment, where the retiree continues receiving a benefit subject to applicable salary limitations set by law. If a member worked post-retirement without switching to active contributing status, the time spent working does not reduce the amount of time you have been considered retired.
The number of months a member returns to work as a contributing member results in a reduction of the time period required to remain retired. This could potentially reduce the required periods of being retired to change your eligibility from a higher tier to a lower tier.
- Example 1: If you retired 26 months ago, and during that time you suspended your retirement benefit to return to work for 3 months, you have only been retired for 23 months and do not qualify for an increase.
- Example 2: If you retired 68 months ago, and during that time you suspended your retirement benefit to return to work for 9 months, you have been retired for 59 months and are in the 2nd tier of being retired between 2 to 5 years and qualify for a 2% increase.
It depends. Alternate Payees’ eligibility for the COLA will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
TRS Has a "DROP BOX" for Members' Documents
There is now a drop box near the TRS offices in case any of you need to drop off any member documents that are needed for your retirement process, or any other forms or correspondence like changes of address, beneficiary changes, etc. It is a “shared” drop box with other agencies. It needs to be in an envelope and clearly marked that it is going to the Teachers’ Retirement System. The Drop Box is located on the west side of the Will Rogers Building. It is not at the Hodge Building where the TRS offices are located, but it’s close. The Will Rogers Building is southwest of the Hodge Building and is actually within walking distance. The State Interagency Mail Department is making this available since many state office buildings are closed to the public. Here are links to a photo of the Drop Box, information and location of the Drop Box, and a map of the State Capitol Office Complex, and directions to the parking lot where the Drop Box is located.
Important Notice Regarding Covid-19
To ensure the safety and protection of our members, as well as our staff, the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma is suspending all in-house appointments and consultations at this time. This is effective March 17, 2020 until further notice.
As an alternative, please contact our office to schedule a telephone consultation. We are confident all of your questions can be addressed over the telephone. Documents are to be mailed instead of delivered to TRS in person at the following address:
Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma
P.O. Box 53524
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3524
At this time, we have to take reasonable precautions and act responsibly in the effort to control and contain the spread of this virus. We appreciate your support and understanding at this time.
Attention TRS Members: Possible Email Scam
With all of the concern in the wake of the COVID-19 virus, there are people out there who are taking advantage of some of the natural fear that many of you are feeling. They seem to be ramping up their efforts to sell people a product or advance a political agenda of some type. Others are blatantly trying to rip you off. TRS members should be vigilant. First of all, your pension benefits are safe. Our retirees have an absolute right to their pensions, and you will not miss a pension payment. Unfortunately, people with personal savings plans are completely at the mercy of the market. We wanted to warn you about someone who is using the name of TRS and our sister pension plan OPERS, in an email that I believe to be misleading. Some person or persons identifying themselves as “Public Employee Retirement Support” is offering people a “review of your Oklahoma Benefits/Pension” and is offering a free “Retirement Risk Test” and a “benefits review.” “TRS” and “OPERS” are in the subject line of the email. We wanted to alert you that neither the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma, OPERS nor any other state retirement system has authorized any of this. We know little about this group, but it appears to be a group that attacks pension systems and may also include people with a profit motive to provide financial advice. If any of our members want actual financial advice, please see a reputable, licensed financial advisor that you know, or that is referred to you by a trusted person. You can always contact TRS about your pension benefits.
Retiree Income Verification Statements in Member Portal
Retirees can now view and print their Income Verification Statements in the Member Portal. You can still contact TRS to obtain a statement if there is a unique circumstance such as needing a signed version of the document. Click to access the Member Portal
Important 1099-R Notice For Retirees
TRS will mail each retiree a Form 1099-R at the end of January of every year. This form will show: 1) the gross amount of your retirement benefit for the previous calendar year; 2) the amount of state and federal income tax wihheld from your retirement benefit; and, 3) the federal taxable amount of your retirement benefit for the year. The information contained on your Form 1099-R should be used in completing your state and federal income tax returns.
Please allow for normal postal delivery time. If you have not received your Form 1099-R by February 15, contact TRS.
Frequently asked questions about the 1099-R can be found by clicking on the following link:
Taxes and Your Retirement Benefit
Your TRS retirement benefit is considered income for tax purposes. The tax rates applied to your benefit are based on withholding tables provided by the Internal Revenue Service and the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The Oklahoma tax withholding tables will not change for 2020; however, recently signed federal legislation will change the federal tax withholding tables beginning with your benefit deposit on February 1, 2021.
If you wish to change your withholding submit a new Tax Withholding form. This form can be found on our website at http://www.ok.gov/TRS/Forms. Please seek advice from your tax professional for guidance related to changing your tax withholdings.
Post-Retirement Employment and HB 1023XX
Some current members and recent retirees have contacted TRS to ask if the increases in the salary schedules in HB 1023XX that were passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, will affect any applicable salary caps that apply to retirees who return to work. The short answer is “no” but this is a good time to talk about options.
SB 428 Allows Some TRS Retired Teachers to Return to teaching Without Salary Limitations
Senate Bill 428 was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. It is effective July 1, 2017. The purpose of the bill is to provide an incentive for bona fide retired classroom teachers to come back to work as classroom teachers without impacting their retirement benefits. Click on the link below for the emergency rule related to SB 428.
GASB 68 Allocation Schedules Now Available
The link below is to the TRS “Schedule of Employer Allocations and Collective Pension Amounts” required by GASB 68. These audited schedules indicate each participating employer’s share of the “Net Pension Liability” of TRS from its FY 2020 financial statements. The amounts in these schedules are to be used for employers’ FY 2021 financial statements.