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When to apply for retirement benefits

You may apply for retirement no earlier than 180 days before you terminate teaching service. For many teachers, that day is in mid- to late-February.

Termination of teaching service means the withdrawal of a member from active teaching service by resignation or the termination of the member’s teaching contract by the employer.

If you are actively teaching, your effective date of retirement will be the day following the latest of:

If you have not taught in the last six months, your effective date of retirement will be the day your application for retirement is received by TRA.

If you are currently with another Minnesota Public Retirement System, your accrual date will be the day following the termination of that service, as long as you apply within six months.

Currently eligible to receive retirement benefits

Waiting until you are eligible to apply for retirement benefits (more than 3 months)

If you are vested and terminate service with a TRA-covered employer before attaining the minimum retirement age of 55, you may defer payment of your annuity until you become age 55 or older.

Members hired prior to July 1, 2006

Prior to July 1, 2012: Approximately 3.0 percent annually through December 31 of the year in which you have reached 55 and 5.0 percent annually thereafter each year the benefit is deferred.

After July 1, 2012: 2.0 percent

Members hired on or after July 1, 2006

Prior to July 1, 2012: 2.5 percent

After July 1, 2012: 2.0 percent

The deferral period must be at least three months. If you are on a leave of absence, you are not eligible for interest on a deferred annuity for any portion of time that you are on leave.

Returning to work as a sub could also have an adverse effect on your high-5 average salary if you terminate employment mid-year and go from a full-time contract salary to the lower sub rate of pay. It would lower the full-time equivalent for that year, causing it to drop out of the high-5 calculation. Your high-5 average salary is always the highest five consecutive years or enough consecutive partial years to equal five.

Since there are so many factors that may have an effect on when you retire, we suggest you log on to your TRA online account and produce estimates of retirement benefits using various retirement ages, dates, years of service, and high-5 average salary assumptions. These estimates may give you a clearer picture of when it is best for you to retire. Also refer to the "nearing retirement" section of the Handbook of Benefits and Services when filing your retirement application with TRA

You may wish to discuss your plans and options with a TRA representative. Doing so will ensure that you receive the maximum lifetime retirement benefit available to you.

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