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Spring break retirement webinars

Spring Break "Planning for Retirement" webinar registration is now open. Sign up today!

Available dates:

March 29 April 4
  April 13

The investment cycle, explained

Have you ever been stuck with an unflattering school portrait? Still photographs sometimes freeze in time a pretty bad look.

We can relate. This is similar to what happened with pension system investments for fiscal year 2016.

TRA has received inquiries from members wondering how it is that our fiscal 2016 investment returns were so poor at a time when the stock market has been setting records. There is a common misunderstanding about our low return (-0.1 percent) last fiscal year. It is important to point out that that reported return was for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, not the calendar year ending Dec. 31, 2016. (More HERE.)

1099 tax forms available

TRA benefit recipients are issued a 1099 tax form describing 2016 pension distributions. Paper copies are in the mail to the address we have on file.

You can also download a copy: Log into your MyTRA account and look for the link on your Welcome page.



Looking at retirement?

 

 

Spring Break "Planning for Retirement" webinar registration is now open. Sign up today!

 

Review the six annuity plans available for retirees:

  • No refund
  • Guaranteed refund
  • 15-years guaranteed
  • Survivorship (100%, 75%, 50%)

Details are here.

Then create an estimate of your benefit for all six plans.

  1. Watch an instruction video here.
  2. Then log into your MyTRA account to access the calculator.

 

Direct deposit schedule

2017 Direct Deposit Schedule
January 3 July 3
February 1 August 1
March 1 September 1
April 3 October 2
May 1 November 1
June 1 December 1

 

FY 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report available

TRA management is pleased to present the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (Annual Report) of the Minnesota Teachers Retirement Association for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016, our 85th year of service.

We are solely responsible for the content of this report, including its financial statements, which should be helpful in understanding information about the pension fund and comparing our operating results with those of other teacher retirement systems. 

Annual statement of pension benefits

The annual statement of pension benefits is undergoing a design change concurrent with our website upgrade.

In the meantime, go to your MyTRA online account to

Detailed instructions on how to do this are available.

Board approves modified
financial proposal for '17 session

Due to concerns expressed by retirees, the TRA Board of Trustees on Dec. 14 approved a modified 2017 legislative proposal that would reduce TRA’s cost of living adjustment (COLA) to 1 percent for five years and 1.5 percent thereafter, and raise the employer contribution rate by 2 percent (from 7.5 percent to 9.5 percent), phased in incrementally and offset by state aid. The employee contribution rate would remain at 7.5 percent.

In November, the board passed a 1 percent COLA cut for 10 years, which retirees denounced as too severe. FULL STORY HERE

New retirement estimate calculator available

The new service retirement estimate generator is now available. Click on MyTRA to access your account and look for the Estimates Menu on the Welcome page.

TRA board to consider revised
funding options

During a special meeting on Mon., Oct. 24, to address funding issues, the Teachers Retirement Association Board of Trustees opted to hold off on any decision regarding the details of retiree cost-of-living reductions and contribution increases until the board’s Nov. 16 meeting. The delay allows time for groups representing retirees, active teachers and school districts to review and weigh in on revised funding options.  

The revised funding options under consideration propose to reduce the retiree COLA to 1 percent for five years and 1.5 percent thereafter. The proposal also includes a 2.5 percent employer contribution rate increase phased in incrementally over several years and offset by earmarking state aid for pensions so as to hold E-12 education funding harmless. Also under consideration is an increase in the active-teacher contribution rate of 0.5 percent, phased in over several years incrementally.

Full story HERE

To access your online TRA account you must re-register. 

Is registering mandatory?
No. You need only register if you want to access your information online. This change does not affect
your monthly benefit payment, your copy of the newsletter, or your access to general information on
the website.

Does this change affect when I will get my benefit payment or refund?
No. Processing of retirement, disability, and refund applications by TRA staff is unaffected.

How do I register?

Our enhanced security means that even if you already had an account, you must re-register.

To register, click on MyTRA Login at the top of this page.

If you need help with your TRA number or benefit amount, call TRA at 1-800-657-3669. 

This short video explains the process.

Once you register, you can

Please call TRA at 1-800-657-3669 for help or to ask questions. 

You can also read our Q & A of frequently asked questions about the upgrade.

Dayton vetoes 2016 pension bill

MAY 31 – Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed the 2016 Omnibus Pension Bill, which contained a provision to lower the retiree cost of living adjustment (COLA) from 2 percent to 1 percent for one year for TRA and from 2 percent to 1.75 percent for retirees in the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) plan.

“These measures were part of sustainability plans that called for shared commitments among employers, current employees and retirees in order to secure the financial health and stability of the MSRS and TRA pension plans,” Dayton said in a letter to the legislature explaining the rationale for his veto.

Shared responsibility “remains an important principle in maintaining the soundness of Minnesota’s pension plans,” he added. “Unfortunately, [the pension bill] contains only one piece of the overall sustainability plans, placing sole responsibility for reducing plan liabilities on current retirees. It is not fair, and I cannot agree to it.”
More HERE

State Legislature passes
2016 Omnibus Pension Bill

MAY 23 – The Minnesota House of Representatives on Sunday passed the 2016 Omnibus Pension Bill (SF588) on a vote of 129-3. The Senate version of the 2016 Omnibus Pension Bill passed out of that chamber Thursday on a 61-1 vote, with Sen. Eric Pratt the lone no vote. The bill now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton.

Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement (LCPR) chair Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) summarized the provisions of the bill, whose major changes call for the investment return assumption for Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) to be lowered to 8 percent, and for the cost-of-living adjustment for retirees of TRA to be lowered to 1 percent for one year and for the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) to be lowered to 1.75 percent for one year beginning Jan. 1, 2017. (More HERE.)

TRA board OKs sustainability plan

After months of discussion, careful consideration and input from stakeholder groups, the TRA Board of Trustees on Dec. 16 approved recommending to the legislature a sustainability package to put the pension fund on track for full funding and a stronger future for the state’s teacher retirement system.

Using shared sacrifice as its guiding principle, the board settled on a package that increases employer contribution rates by 1 percent (from 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent) and reduces the 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment to 1 percent for five years beginning Jan. 1, 2017, and to 1.75 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

Employee contribution rates remain at 7.5 percent. The COLA change would impact both current and future retirees (today’s active teachers).

The recommendations are subject to review and approval by the state legislature and governor. (More here.)

Changes to leave payment timeline

Legislation passed in May 2015 resulted in a change to when a medical, family or parental leave payment is due. The deadline to make the payment without interest is Dec. 31 of the year following the fiscal year of the leave, rather than by June 30 of the year of the leave.

If the payment is not made by Dec. 31, 8.5 percent interest will be charged through the end of the month in which payment is made.  Any leave payment made after June 30 of the year following the fiscal year of the leave would be based on full actuarial cost.

The change was necessary because one of the determining factors in the cost of the leave is the salary earned. The final salary information for the leave period could not be determined by the June 30 deadline. The Dec. 31 deadline will allow time for all salary to be reported, issues resolved, and leave costs calculated and sent to members on leave. It will also allow time for the members on leave to make arrangements for a rollover or other payment option.

Note that an extended leave still has a deadline of June 30 of each fiscal year of the leave. 

Additional News

2017 Federal Tax Tables

2017 Minnesota Tax Tables

 

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