Employer Administration: Membership in TRF
All legally qualified teachers, as defined in Title 35, articles 14-19, who are regularly employed in a covered position in the public school system of Indiana or in a qualified position at certain state institutions as well as all TRF employees hired prior to July 1, 2011, must be members of TRF. Faculty and staff at certain charter schools, turnaround schools, innovation schools and public universities throughout Indiana and some legally qualified State employees are eligible for optional enrollment.
According to Indiana law, a substitute teacher may be a member of TRF upon completion of the following: 1) Be certified by the Indiana State Board of Education; 2) Have obtained at least an associates degree; 3) Teach at least 120 days in a fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) or at least 60 days in each of two fiscal years. Certification from the State Board of Education may include a teaching license, a substitute teaching permit, a temporary teaching license, or an emergency teaching license. However, if the member’s license expires, he or she is no longer eligible to be a TRF member until a new license is issued. No contributions are collected for substitute teachers who do not meet the criteria outlined above.
Indiana Administrative Code provides that teacher aides and higher education graduate assistants are not eligible for membership in the fund.
Employer membership is comprised of public schools, charter schools, State agencies, turnaround schools and universities. All Indiana public schools, turnaround schools and innovation schools are required to participate in TRF’s retirement plan. Charter schools can opt-in to the TRF plan or select an alternative plan. Any charter school that is currently participating in the TRF plan and decides to opt-out or offer an opt-out to its employees must complete the Charter School Opt-Out Notice form. Certain legally qualified State agencies are also eligible for participation. In addition, a number of public universities throughout the state have the option of participating in the TRF plan.
All legally qualified teachers, as defined in IC 5-10.4-4-1 and 35 IAC 14-1-28, who are regularly employed in a covered position in the public school system of Indiana or in a qualified position at certain state institutions, as well as all TRF employees as of June 30, 2011, must be members of TRF.
Faculty and staff at certain charter schools, turnaround schools, innovation schools and public universities throughout Indiana and some legally qualified State employees and employers are eligible for optional enrollment. According to Indiana law, a substitute teacher may be a member of TRF upon completion of the following:
- Certified by the Indiana State Board of Education
- Obtained at least an associate’s degree
- Taught at least 120 days in a fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) or at least 60 days in two fiscal years
Certification from the State Board of Education may include a teaching license, a substitute teaching permit, a temporary teaching license, or an emergency teaching license. However, if a member’s license expires, he or she is no longer eligible to be a TRF member until a new license is issued. No contributions are collected for substitute teachers who do not meet the criteria outlined above.
Regularly contracted faculty and administrative staff at Ball State University and Vincennes University who are designated as eligible by the INPRS Board have the option of joining TRF. New teachers cannot join the fund until their universities have petitioned the Board on their behalf.
Persons employed by a governing body and the Indiana State Board of Education who were qualified before their election or appointment may also have the option to join.
Innovation schools must also be enrolled in PERF or TRF.
35 IAC 14-4-3 provides that teacher aides and higher education graduate assistants are not eligible for membership in TRF. 35 IAC 14-1-28 provides a list of school positions that are not considered to be teachers. This list, not all-inclusive, includes dormitory and secretarial staff, grounds or facility management personnel, occupational and physical therapists, and counselors.
Please contact our office at (888) 876-2707 if you have questions or need clarification.
Once a member has been successfully enrolled, the member is assigned a Pension ID. This number is sent to the member along with the member’s information, which is to be verified.
Employers start the enrollment process by completing the Enrollment for a School or Charter School as a New Employer forms and mailing the forms to TRF. These forms can be found in the Forms section on the TRF homepage. Once these forms are received and processed, an Employer Unit number will be assigned and emailed to the superintendent/director and treasurer of the school.
Suspension of Membership
Generally, a member who is no longer employed in a TRF- or PERF-covered position, does not plan to return to a TRF- or PERF-covered position, and is not eligible for a retirement pension benefit or a disability retirement benefit may suspend membership and may withdraw the balance of the member’s Annuity Savings Account (ASA). There may be early withdrawal tax consequences for withdrawals made prior to age 59 1/2. Members should consult a tax advisor.
A member who is vested, not retired, not currently employed in a TRF- or PERF-covered position, and is transferring TRF creditable service to another governmental retirement plan may suspend membership in order to withdraw the member’s ASA and Rollover Savings Account (RSA) to purchase creditable service in the other governmental retirement plan.
Vested members who have been inactive for at least 30 days may withdraw their ASA without forfeiting the defined benefit. This is subject to possible IRS tax penalties.
The membership status of a member with less than 10 years of covered service is automatically suspended five years after leaving PERF- or TRF-covered employment.
After five continuous years in which the member performs no service covered by either PERF or TRF, the account is suspended by TRF and the member will no longer be eligible to earn interest on the ASA in the Guaranteed Fund unless that member is vested in or active with PERF.
The membership status of a member with less than 10 years of covered service may be suspended two years after leaving a TRF-covered position if the value of the member’s ASA is $1,000 or less. TRF can automatically issue a reimbursement to an inactive member with less than $1,000 in the ASA.
A member’s retirement benefit consists of a defined benefit pension and an Annuity Savings Account (ASA).
The member’s defined benefit pension is paid as a lifetime monthly benefit and is funded by the State or the member’s employer. To become eligible for a benefit, the member must be vested with 10 years of creditable service in a covered position.
Annuity Savings Account (ASA)
The member’s ASA contains the mandatory employee three percent of annual compensation contribution, which is made by the member or the member’s employer, as well as any voluntary contributions made by the member and any interest or earnings from the principle. A member is immediately vested in the ASA and receives a detailed statement of account activity and balance information each quarter.
Rollover Savings Account (RSA)
A member may also have a Rollover Savings Account (RSA) for which the member receives a detailed statement of account activity and balance information each quarter. Non-retired members may create an RSA by transferring funds from an IRA or other qualified retirement plan into TRF. TRF will only accept transfers of taxable funds. These rolled over funds, along with investment gains and losses, comprise the RSA.
Age 70 Benefits
A member who is age 70 or older with 20 or more years of service may elect to begin receiving pension payments and continue to be employed in a covered position. In this situation, there is no required separation from service period and no earnings limitation. For any TRF member who continues employment while receiving monthly pension payments, no employer contributions are made to TRF and no additional service credit or supplemental pension is earned. Members may elect to continue making employee contributions.
To determine if employers are responsible for “picking up” contributions for members age 70 or older who are still working, it is necessary to refer to the employer’s original resolution. If, in the resolution, the employer agrees to pick up these contributions, it is the employer’s responsibility.
In some instances, a TRF member who is serving as an elected official may also be eligible to begin receiving benefits if the member has at least 20 years of creditable service and is at least 55 years of age. The same accrual and contribution provisions of the Age 70 Benefits apply.