Senate Bill 267 allows certain educators who retired on or before July 1, 2020, to return to the classroom as an active classroom teacher with no limitations on their earnings. In order to qualify for the exception under SB 267, retirees must have not been employed by any public school or career technology center for 12 consecutive months immediately following his or her retirement date. All educators returning under this provision must be employed as active classroom teachers and pursuant to temporary contracts. A complete summary and list of frequently asked questions can be found here: SB 267 FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
SB 683 modifies eligibility requirements related to optional employee membership in TRS after July 1, 2021. Under the new provision, nonclassified optional employees are eligible for participation in TRS upon their initial employment with a TRS employer (previously, these employees had to wait one year to participate in TRS). To accommodate this change, TRS’s provisions regarding optional personnel have been updated to reflect current IRS regulations. As part of this revision, optional personnel will no longer be permitted to “opt-in” and “opt-out” of participation in TRS while remaining employed at a TRS employer. Instead, all current optional personnel and all future optional personnel will have to make an irrevocable election whether to participate in TRS. This election will follow them throughout employment with any TRS employer. A complete summary and list of frequently asked questions can be found by clicking here.
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How should I notify TRS of my new home mailing address?
You can complete a new TRS-1A Personal Data Form at your school's personnel or business office. The Personal Data Form is used to enroll new members, notify TRS of address changes and/or update your beneficiary designation. It is important that you keep TRS advised on your current mailing address. Retired and inactive members should notify TRS in writing or by completing a Change of Address Form. Call TRS for the forms or download them from our forms page.
IF YOU SELECTED PLAN OPTION 2 OR 3, YOU MUST PROVE THE DATE OF BIRTH OF JOINT ANNUITANT AND YOUR AGE.
It is necessary that your correct age be established before you are eligible for retirement.
When do I need to provide proof of birth information?
We suggest you submit the necessary proof of your birth with your pre-retirement information verification form or as soon as possible after you start the retirement process. TRS must have this proof in order to avoid a possible delay in your retirement.
What type of proof of birth is required?
A copy of a birth certificate is the best proof, but since one is not always available, TRS will accept any of the following documents:
- Birth Certificate
- Valid state or federal government issued photo identification
Please send copies of original documents.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to identify any documentation you mail by writing your client identification number or Social Security number on it.
It is YOUR responsibility to notify TRS of the date you want to retire. You should do so in writing, at least three months before the date you wish to receive your first retirement check. This will allow sufficient time for you and TRS to audit your records and correct any irregularities.
How do I change my beneficiary with TRS?
Active members should obtain a TRS-1A Personal Data Form from your school's personnel or business office. It is very important to keep your beneficiary designation up to date. The Personal Data form provides for up to three primary beneficiaries and up to three contingent beneficiaries. It is not necessary to name six individual beneficiaries but you should name at least one primary and one contingent beneficiary. Your estate or a trust fund can be named as the beneficiary to your account. TRS requests you provide a copy of your trust if named as a beneficiary. Retired and inactive members should contact TRS for a Personal Data Form.
Can I get an estimate of benefits with all plan options from this web site?
Not from the website; however, if you would like to request an estimate from TRS, you can fill out a Pre-Retirement Information Verification (PIV) formand mail to Teachers Retirement System of Oklahoma, P.O. Box 53524 Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3524.Or, if you log on to the Member Portal, you may create your own projection of future retirement benefits. Just go to the Home Page and click on MyTRS Member Portal.
Can I withdraw my retirement contributions?
Upon termination of employment the member may withdraw all contributions and refundable interest. Interest is refundable based upon years of membership (date of first contributions) and in accordance with the following schedule:
Up to 16 years of membership 50% of accumulated interest
At least 16 years but less than 21 years 60% of accumulated interest
At least 21 years but less than 26 years 75% of accumulated interest
26 years or more 90% of accumulated interest
Note: Since July 1981, the interest rate set by the Board of Trustees is 8% compounded annually.
If I have 5 years of creditable service credit and terminate employment in Oklahoma public schools, must I withdraw my contributions? What options do I have concerning my account in the TRS?
No. Once you are vested (have 5 years of service credit) and you leave covered employment, your contributions may remain in the system. With as few as 5 years of Oklahoma contributory service you will be eligible for reduced monthly benefits at age 55, or unreduced benefits at age 62. You could be eligible for unreduced benefits when your age and total credited service equal 80 (providing you joined TRS prior to July 1, 1992) or when age and total service equal 90 (if your TRS membership date was after June 30, 1992).
You would also have the option of withdrawing your retirement contributions and refundable interest upon termination of employment.
If I leave covered employment and do not have 5 years of service credit (not vested), what are my options in reference to my contributions?
As an inactive member, you are not required to withdraw your funds immediately. Your account will continue to accrue interest for up to five years. However, you should contact TRS for information on your options. Generally, you should consider withdrawing your deposits and any applicable interest unless you plan on returning to covered employment within five years. Be sure to keep TRS informed of your current home mailing address.
With less than 5 years of service, there are three options:
- You may leave contributions in the system for up to five years. If you don't resume active participation by the beginning of the sixth year, your account will be terminated and no additional interest will accrue on the account, or
- Your may withdraw all retirement contributions and refundable interest at termination of employment. Your contributions are only refunded at your request and cannot be made until at least four months after termination of employment, or
- Any tax deferred contributions and interest may be transferred to an IRA or another qualified tax-deferred savings plan.
Please contact TRS about withdrawal forms.
Do I get a refund if I terminate my membership with TRS?
Members who terminate employment with any agency covered under TRS may request a withdrawal of their contributions and refundable interest. Withdrawal request forms must be submitted by any member wishing to withdraw his or her contributions. Click here for more information on withdrawal privileges. Please contact TRS about withdrawal forms.
If I select Option 2 or 3 when I retire and name my spouse as joint annuitant, what happens if my joint annuitant dies or we divorce? May I change my option and/or my joint annuitant?
Your retirement options cannot be changed after your retirement. If your joint annuitant dies before you, your monthly retirement benefit "pops-up" (increases) to the equivalent of the Maximum retirement plan. In the case of a divorce the contract remains in force and your joint annuitant (ex-spouse) will receive your monthly benefit after your death unless a Court, acting through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, directs otherwise.
What about the $5,000 death benefit that will be paid at my death? Who is the beneficiary and can I change the beneficiary if necessary?
Statutes provide that the beneficiary(s) of a retired member will receive a $5,000 death benefit following the member's death. This applies regardless the retirement option you selected or how long you receive benefits. When more than one beneficiary is named, the $5,000 is divided equally among the surviving beneficiaries. You can change the beneficiary for the $5,000 death benefit at anytime.
How do I change my beneficiary designation?
Active members should obtain a Beneficiary Designation Form for active members (2A). It is very important to keep your beneficiary designation up to date. The Beneficiary Designation form provides for up to three primary beneficiaries and up to three contingent beneficiaries. It is not necessary to name six individual beneficiaries but you should name at least one primary and one contingent beneficiary. Your estate or a trust fund can be named as the beneficiary to your account. TRS requests you provide a copy of your trust if named as a beneficiary. Retired members may also change their beneficiary designation by obtaining a Beneficiary Designation form for retired members (2R). Just as with Active Members, TRS would like to remind you that it is very important to keep your beneficiary designation up to date.
What happens to my benefits if I become divorced?
A court may order that your former spouse receives a portion of your retirement benefits. This can only be accomplished if a copy of the court order or judgment is filed and approved by TRS. Such an order is commonly known as a Qualified Domestic Order (QDO) and the former spouse is referred to as an Alternate Payee. If you anticipate a divorce, you or your attorney should download the Qualified Domestic Order documents. It is important that you, your alternate payee and your attorney(s) understand the difference between Oklahoma statutes concerning QDOs and the division of Oklahoma pension assets compared to how private pension plans assets can be divided. If you have any other questions, please contact TRS.
How can I obtain additional service credit?
Members may purchase service for employment in the public schools of other states, District of Columbia and territories of the United States to obtain additional credited service. Other ways to purchase credit include Service for six months or more in the U.S. Armed Forces and Peace Corps (at least 180 days) or employment as a member of the other public retirement systems operated by the state of Oklahoma.
How can I find out about retiring?
Retiring members should contact TRS at least 1 YEAR before the expected retirement date. A HYPOTHETICAL Estimate showing projected monthly benefits and available retirement plans will be prepared and mailed to you.
Hypothetical estimates may also be requested if you are considering purchasing eligible service or paying any contribution deficits to enhance future benefits.
You can request a hypothetical estimate by filling out our online Pre-Retirement Information Verification form or if you log on to the Client Portal, you may create your own projection of future retirement benefits.
If I retire this year, what do I have to do?
Generally, you should start the application approximately 6 months before the effective retirement date to ensure your account is free of outstanding balances or issues that are yet to be resolved.Please refer to the Timeline chart online to determine when you should begin your retirement process.Retirement is accomplished through the following three-step process.
If you are planning to retire, you must submit the completed Pre-Retirement Information Verification form at least 90 days before your expected date of retirement. If the PIV is received less than 90 days prior to the projected retirement date, the retirement date will be delayed by at least one month.All pending balances must also be paid at this time to ensure all available service is included in the benefit amount.
Upon receipt of the PIV, your Intent To Retire (ITR) will be sent to you and must be returned to OTRS at least 60 days prior to retirement. If the ITR is received less than 60 days prior to the projected retirement date, the retirement date will be delayed by at least one month.
Upon receipt of the ITR, a final Contract will be mailed to you. Your Final Contract and required documents for retirement must be postmarked at least 30 days prior to your date of retirement. If the final contract is received less than 30 days prior to the projected retirement date, the retirement date will be delayed by at least one month.Each member is responsible for filling out the proper application and completing all necessary paperwork in a timely manner.
Retirement always begins the first of the month. Most members retire effective June 1, at the end of the school year. The Final Contract for Retirement must be filed by May 1 to retire June 1 and receive a retirement check July 1. Members can and do retire on the first of other months during the year depending of eligibility and desire. You can request a retirement estimate online or contact TRS by phone, mail or email.
When can a TRS member retire?
A vested member of TRS is eligible to apply for retirement benefits:
- If you joined TRS prior to July 1, 1992, you are eligible to receiveunreduced retirement benefits at age 62 or when your age and years of creditable servicetotal 80points, OR at the minimum age of 55to receive reduced benefits,
- If you joined TRS after June 30, 1992 and before November 1, 2011, you are eligible to receive unreduced retirement benefits at age 62 or when your age and years of creditable servicetotal 90points, OR at the minimum age of 55to receive reduced benefits,
- If you joined TRS after November 1, 2011, you are eligible to receive unreduced retirement benefits at age 65 orwhen your age and years of creditable service total 90 points, OR at the minimum age of 60to receive reduced benefits.
How do I go about making an appointment to discuss my retirement benefits?
You may contact TRS to talk to a TRS staff member or schedule an appointment after you receive a hypothetical estimate, projection or Intent To Retire. Phone consultations are encouraged as many questions CAN be answered by telephone if you are unable to make an appointment. TRS responds to inquiries in a timely manner, providing estimates of retirement benefits under all options for the date(s) requested.
What options do I have for health insurance after I retire?
At retirement (or termination) of employment a vested member may elect to continue health insurance coverage in the insurance program he or she was enrolled in prior to termination of employment. This can be the Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Plan or a private health insurance plan provided by the local school district, college or university. Dependent and dental coverage is available when the retiree is enrolled in the Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Plan. If the retiree's insurance plan is not the state plan, dependent coverage is subject to the provisions of the specific plan.
Click here for more information on health insurance coverage after retirement.
I receive my retirement checks at home. What should I do if my check does not arrive?
You may contact TRS and make sure your address is correct. If it isn't, TRS can send you an affidavit to complete. Note: The form MUST be completed with your notarized signature. Once the affidavit/form is returned, TRS will cancel the original check and issue a duplicate to replace the original. A duplicate check cannot be issued until at least 10 days after the first of the month.
IMPORTANT: Because of the length of time it takes to issue a duplicate check, there will be a delay in receipt of your monthly retirement check. You may wish to consider direct deposit of your retirement benefit, which provides for electronic transfer of your monthly benefit. This means your check is automatically deposited into your bank account on the first business day of the month. Direct deposits eliminate the need to worry about your check being stolen or delayed in any way. It is safe, convenient and on time.
My check was late because it went to another city before arriving. What can be done?
- Make sure the address including the zip code is correct.
- Make a copy of the check and return the copy with the envelope to TRS and we can notify the postal service or Presort First Class Co. for an inquiry. Don't forget to send the original envelope.
My check has two different date stamps. Why?
Generally, when a check or any piece of mail is returned to TRS by the Presort First Class Co., it is for one of following reasons:
- New Address - These are returned to give TRS the opportunity to obtain the member's new address from the National Change of Address (NCOA) directory in order to mail a change of address notification.
- Incomplete Address - This shouldn't be a problem on retirement checks. However, if a staff member has addressed the envelope using a typewriter, there is a possibility for human error.
- Short Paid (Postage Due) - This shouldn't be an issue on a retirement check.
The postal service returns mail for the following reasons:
- Bad address
- Forwarding order has expired
- No forwarding address on file
When do direct deposits go to the bank?
Direct deposits are credited to your account on the first working day of each month. Please note: It is your responsibility to inform TRS of all address changes that affect retirement checks. These changes must be in our office by the 10th of the month to take effect by the next check.
Q: What is a 1099-R?
A: IRS Form 1099-R is an annual statement of disbursements and applicable taxes withheld by a retirement plan. Each year, TRS sends a 1099-R to all retired members who received benefits in the previous calendar year. Any active members who took a distribution of their employee contributions after they left employment with a participating employer will receive a 1099-R, as well as beneficiaries of active or retired members if they received some form of survivor benefit.
Q: When are 1099-R forms mailed? (OR) When will I get my 1099-R?
A: Forms will be mailed no later than January 31st of the current year. Please allow for normal delivery time. If you have not received your Form 1099-R by February 15th, contact TRS using contact information below.
Q: Are 1099-Rs available on the Client Portal?
A: Yes. 1099-Rs will be accessible through the MyOTRS Client Portal. They should be available by February 1st. If you have not registered for access to the portal, please complete the registration at the link below. Please allow 10-15 business days for your PIN number to arrive in the mail that will allow you to complete the registration process. You may contact TRS if you have questions about the portal using the contact information below. https://myotrs.trs.ok.gov/ We may be contacted by the following methods:
E-Mail: email@example.com Fax: (405) 522-2521 Phone: (877)738-6365 or (405)521-2387
Q: Why is the taxable amount (Box 2a) less than the gross distribution (Box 1)?
A: There were after-tax dollars in the retirement account. This occurs if after-tax retirement contributions were made or after-tax money was used as payment for a service purchase, redeposit or other billing, etc. This reduces the taxable portion of the total amount, thus accounting for the difference in the two amounts.
Q: Where do I find the amount withheld for federal and state taxes?
A: The amount of federal income tax withheld is located in Box 4, and the state tax withheld is found in Box 12.
Q: Why was there little or no taxes withheld?
A: The amounts of federal and state income taxes withheld are based on the instructions you provided to TRS. If you instructed TRS to use the IRS and Oklahoma tax withholding tables to calculate your withholdings, and your benefit is less than the minimum amount required to have taxes withheld (based on filing status, exemptions and subtractions), then little or no taxes were withheld during the year. *** TRS does not provide tax advice regarding the amounts to be withheld *** Your withholding elections can be changed by completing and returning the form at the following website https://www.ok.gov/TRS/documents/Form4-Tax-Withholding.pdf, or by contacting TRS and requesting that we mail you the form. Tax Withholdings forms can be returned by mail to:
Mail: Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma
P.O. Box 53524
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3524
Q: Why does the amount in Box 1 (Gross distribution) not match the total deposited into my account?
A: The amount deposited into your account is a net amount after subtracting things withheld from your benefit payments like taxes, insurance, levies, garnishments, membership dues, etc.
Q: What do the different boxes on the 1099-R represent?
|Box 1||Box 1 Gross Distribution = total amount paid|
|Box 2a||Box 2 Taxable Amount = funds that are subject to taxes|
|Box 4||Box 4 Fed. Income Tax Withheld = federal taxes withheld from the distribution and paid to the IRS|
|Box 5||Box 5 Employee contributions = funds that have already been taxed and will not be taxed again.|
Box 7 Distrib. Code = Code used when filing taxes.
1 — Early distribution, no known exception (in most cases a withdrawal, under age 59½).
|Box 12||State Income Tax withheld = Oklahoma state taxes withheld from the distribution and paid to the OK Tax Commission Insurance Premiums Amount of insurance premiums withheld|
|Box 13||State/Payer's state number|
Q: What is the State ID number for TRS?
A: Please see Box 13 on Form-1099R. The “PAYER” on the 1099 form is the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma since TRS “pays” the benefit to the “recipient”. A PAYER must have a federal ID number on the 1099. Some people refer to it as a “State ID Number” but this federal ID number is only used for federal tax purposes and other limited purposes. So the “State ID number” for 1099 purposes is really the TRS Federal ID Number. The TRS Federal ID Number is 73- 6028563.
Q: Why did I receive multiple 1099-Rs from TRS?
A: Please do not discard any tax form you receive as you may have received a payment, other than a normal retirement, that required a different distribution code. Some of the reasons why you may have been issued two or more 1099-R forms are:
• You may have reached the age of 59½* at some point during the year. *One 1099-R you receive will have Code 2(early distribution, with exceptions) in box 7 for the portion of the year’s benefits prior to turning 59½ and another 1099-R will have Code 7 (normal distribution) in box 7 for the portion of the year after turning 59½.
• You may have received a distribution as a beneficiary
• You may have taken a distribution from your own account
You should be able to determine from the amounts, or by the distribution code listed in box 7, which 1099-R is for which distribution. If you still have questions, contact TRS.
Q: How do I determine how much was withheld from my retirement for medical insurance premiums?
A: If you had medical insurance premiums withheld from your TRS benefits, that amount will be clearly marked in the “Insurance Premiums” box on your 1099.
Q: How do I get a duplicate copy of my 1099-R? (OR) how do I get a copy of my 1099-R if I did not receive it?
A: You may request a duplicate Form 1099-R in writing, via fax or United States Postal Service. Your current mailing address must match our records before a 1099-R will be mailed to you. All requests must include your name, Social Security number, tax year requested, mailing address, daytime telephone number, and signature. Please allow 10-15 business days to receive your 1099-R. In addition, duplicates can be obtained through the Client Portal called MyOTRS. Instructions for getting access to the Portal are in a prior Question near the beginning of this FAQ document.
We may be contacted by the following methods:
Phone: (877)738-6365 or (405)521-2387 or Fax: (405) 522-252
Mail: Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma
P.O. Box 53524
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3524
Has your address changed? If it has, we require an updated address change form which can be located on the TRS website under the “Forms” tab at https://www.ok.gov/TRS/Forms and complete the appropriate Form 1A for Active Members or Form 1R for Retired Members.
The IRS’ 1099-R website may be referenced as well:https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1099r.pdf
Box 1: Shows the total amount you received this year.
Box 4: Shows federal income tax withheld.
Box 5: Generally, this shows the employee’s investment in the contract (after-tax contributions). (Employee’s after tax contributions – made while you were employed. i.e. (if you made after-tax retirement contributions, used after-tax money as payment for a service purchase, redeposit or other billing, etc.)
Box 7. The following codes identify the distribution you received*:
1 — Early distribution, no known exception (in most cases a withdrawal, under age 59½).
2 — Early distribution, exception applies (under age 59½).
3 — Disability.
4 — Death.
4G — Death, Direct Rollover
7 — Normal distribution.
G — Direct Rollover
*See the back side of copy "C" of your 1099-R form for further explanation of distribution codes
Box 12 on TRS 1099-R: State Income Tax Withheld
Insurance Premiums: Insurance premiums withheld from retirement benefit checks for the calendar year.
How do I determine the taxability of my retirement benefit?
When you retire, you will be notified of the amount that you contributed to the retirement plan on an "after-tax" basis, how much of each monthly benefit payment will be taxable and how much will be a return of your after-tax contributions. The amount of money you contributed to the plan that was subject to tax in the year in which the contributions were made is known as the "investment in contract." This amount will include any after-tax payments you may have made toward the purchase of additional service credit.
Each year TRS will send you an IRS Form 1099R. This form will show the gross amount you received during the last calendar year, the taxable amount and the amount you received that is not subject to federal income taxes. The form will also include federal and state taxes that were withheld to pre-pay your tax liability for the year. It is very important that you follow directions on the IRS 1040 Form under the heading "Pensions & Annuities" in filing your taxes after retirement. For more information, please contact the IRS directly or visit their website. For more information on taxes, visit our Income Tax Obligation section.
When I retire, what will be deducted from my monthly retirement check?
TRS will deduct for federal and state income taxes, health insurance premiums for retirees enrolled in the Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Plan and monthly dues for membership in the Oklahoma Retired Educators Association. TRS is required to deduct for federal income taxes unless you request no withholding. Federal and state income tax withholdings can be made based on federal withholding tables or you can specify an amount to be withheld each month. You must remember that IRS may charge a penalty if federal income taxes are not pre-paid prior to the end of the tax year. For more information on taxes, see our section on Income Tax Obligation.
Does the TRS staff decide how to invest the assets held by TRS?
No. The TRS Board of Trustees has the legal responsibility for investments. They oversee the hiring of highly qualified experts, some of whom help the Board develop an investment strategy, policies and objectives. Others are hired to manage different investment portfolios to implement the Board's investment plan.
How can I be sure that TRS is acting responsibly with my investment?
The TRS Board of Trustees and staff are fiduciaries and monitor the activities of the firms employed to make day-to-day investment decisions. They also oversee the activities of the custodial bank, which keeps track of every investment transaction made on behalf of TRS. Each portfolio manager prepares written reports to the Board on the purchase and sale of securities held in their account. The Board's investment consultant meets monthly with the Board's Investment Committee to review performance of each portfolio manager, and to ensure the asset allocation model and investment strategy is being following and is working. In addition, the Oklahoma State Pension Commission receives a quarterly update on the investment performance of each of the state-run pension plans.
The System administers a tax-sheltered annuity program qualified under Section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. As a TRS member, you may deposit funds into this plan if your local Board of Education or other governing board adopts a resolution making the plan available to its employees and you sign a salary reduction agreement with your employer. Contributions to the annuity plan are restricted to an annual "exclusion allowance" determined by the IRS Code. Withdrawals from the plan are subject to various withdrawal restrictions and tax penalties mandated by the Internal Revenue Code.
When a TRS member and his or her spouse divorce, the member's current or future benefits are considered marital property subject to division by the divorce decree. In many cases, the value of the retirement benefit is considered part of the total assets of the marriage, but the member's spouse may receive other property of equal value in the divorce settlement in lieu of any right to receive a portion of the TRS member's retirement benefits.
Qualified Domestic Order
In the event your retirement benefit is to be divided between you and your ex- spouse, the divorce decree should stipulate such and the parties must complete a Qualified Domestic Order. The QDO must reflect the Judge's signature and be file stamped by the Court. For TRS to approve a QDO, the agreement must meet all provisions of state statutes and comply with the requirements outlined below. The QDO form must be completed, signed by all parties, including the district court judge, and must not be altered in any material aspect.
TRS is not Subject to ERISA
TRS is a state-run government pension plan and operates under statutory provisions found at 70 O.S. § 17-101 et seq. TRS is a qualified pension plan under the provisions of Section 401 (a) of the Internal Revenue Code, but is exempt from the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C.A. Section 1001, et seq. Oklahoma statutes governing the division of a TRS member's benefits in the event of divorce is found at 70 O.S. §17-109.
Only Two Distribution Options are Available
TRS is a defined benefit plan and, therefore, operates differently than many defined contribution plans found in the private sector. Distributions to members are limited to two options. You may elect to receive a lump sum cash payment four months after termination of employment or a monthly retirement benefit for life after meeting certain age and service requirements. Eligibility for monthly benefits includes a minimum of 5 years of contributing service in Oklahoma public schools. If you haven't or do not complete at least 5 years of service, the only distribution available to you or your beneficiaries is a lump sum payment of deposits plus applicable interest.
No Distribution can be Made until You are Eligible
No distribution can be made from your account until you qualify for and elect a distribution [70 O.S. § 17-109(B)(7)], and the distribution to an alternate payee must be of the same type you receive. [70 O.S. § 17-109(B)(6)(a)]. This means TRS cannot and will not make a lump sum payment from your account to an alternate payee unless and until you are eligible for and elect to receive a lump sum distribution of your total retirement account balance. If you elect to receive monthly retirement benefits, the alternate payee will be entitled to a portion of these monthly payments for the rest of your life or an agreed-to set number of months. Payments to the alternate payee cannot begin before payments commence to you, and TRS cannot and will not guarantee a certain amount will be paid to the alternate payee. Monthly payments stop at the time of your death and TRS has no further obligation to the alternate payee following your death.
TRS Provides Information to Both Parties
Upon request, TRS will furnish data showing the account balance and accumulated interest and/or an estimation of the monthly benefit due to you at a future date. This information may be requested by you or the alternate payee. Information provided to the alternate payee or his or her representatives will always also be provided to you.
TRS Statement Acceptable Evidence in Court
TRS is an agency of the state of Oklahoma. See 70 O.S. 2001, § 17-102. Pursuant to the Oklahoma Evidence Code, Hearsay Exceptions, 12 O.S. 2001, § 2803(8), a Summary of Retirement Benefits from TRS can be used in district court without the need for personal appearance by TRS staff.
TRS Legal Representative
TRS is represented by the Office of Attorney General, State of Oklahoma. If you have questions regarding the calculation of benefits please contact the TRS at 1-877-738-6365 or 405-521-2387.
Is my retirement benefit subject to state income tax?
If you are a resident of Oklahoma, your TRS retirement benefit is subject to state income tax. You may exclude the first $5,500 received in TRS benefits from your state adjusted gross income in tax year 2004. Senate bill 435 by the 2005 Legislature increases the amount TRS retirees can exclude from their income on figuring their Oklahoma state income taxes to $7,500 for tax year 2005 and to $10,000 for tax year 2006, and thereafter. If you reside in another state, TRS retirement income will be subject to the tax laws of the state of residence.
How do I increase the federal taxes withheld from my retirement check?
You can change your federal or state tax withholding by completing IRS Form W-4P, Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments, or by writing TRS to request a change. Simply indicate the new monthly deductions you want.
Will federal and state income taxes be withheld from my retirement check?
Federal law requires TRS to withhold federal income taxes unless you request no taxes be withheld. When you retire, TRS will explain your options to have taxes withheld and give you the choice to keep monthly deductions in accordance with applicable tax tables. Or you can specify a monthly amount to be deducted that differs from the tax tables. You can change the amount withheld from your check at any time by written notice to TRS. Notices received by the 15th of the month will be reflected in the retirement check due the first of the next month. If you elect no deductions or an amount less than your annual tax liability, IRS may impose a penalty and/or interest on the unpaid amount. Some retirees do not have monthly deductions taken from their retirement check because they make quarterly estimated tax payments directly to IRS. TRS will also withhold state income taxes for Oklahoma residents when requested. TRS cannot withhold state income taxes for other states.
How should TRS be notified of a death of a retired member?
Please notify TRS in writing or by phone in the event of a death of a retired member. One copy of the deceased member's death certificate will be required before any distribution can be made to beneficiaries. The funeral home normally provides several copies of the death certificate to the next of kin within a week of the member's death.
Upon notification of a member's death, TRS will contact the beneficiary(s) directly with final settlement information. For retired members, the final settlement includes a $5,000 death benefit and any payment due in accordance with the retirement plan selected by the member when he or she retired. State statutes also provide that beneficiary(s) receive a last benefit check for the month in which the member died. Any and all payments issued to the deceased member for the month(s) after the date of death must be returned to TRS.
How would my account be settled in the event of my death as an active teacher?
Upon the death of a TRS member, your designated beneficiary or estate is entitled to survivor benefits. The amount of those benefits depends on whether you were an active in service, inactive or retired member. "Active in- service" is defined in TRS administrative rules, but generally means a member currently employed by an Oklahoma public education institution.
Upon the death of an active in-service member, the member's beneficiary(s) or estate will receive a lump sum distribution that includes an $18,000 death benefit, total contributions paid during membership, plus interest on those contributions. If one beneficiary had been named as the primary beneficiary, and the member had 5 or more years of Oklahoma service and had reached age 55, or if the member's age and total service equal 80 or more, the beneficiary may be entitled to a monthly benefit instead of the lump sum payment.
Upon the death of an inactive member, the member's beneficiary(s) or estate will receive a lump sum distribution of the member's contribution plus interest on those contributions. Beneficiaries of inactive members do not qualify for the $18,000 death benefit or the monthly retirement benefit payment payable to the beneficiary of active in-service members.
Upon the death of a retired member, the member's beneficiary(s) or estate will receive a $5,000 death benefit, plus any survivor benefits provided under the terms of the retirement option chosen by the member at the time of retirement. Certain retirement plan options provide the beneficiary(s) with a continuing monthly retirement benefit.