TRF Member Handbook: Membership

Eligibility and Enrollment

Members of the Teachers’ Retirement Fund (TRF) include teachers in a public school corporation, certain INPRS employees, and some employees in charter schools, innovation schools, turnaround schools and public universities.

After your employer enrolls you in TRF, you will then receive a welcome packet by mail from INPRS. The packet has instructions for you to register for an online account. A passcode will be mailed to you. Once you’ve registered, you can name beneficiaries, update your address and make investment elections to your Annuity Savings Account (ASA). If you don’t make investment elections, your contributions will default to a target date fund based on your estimated year of retirement.

Teacher aides and higher education graduate assistants, by law, do not qualify for membership in TRF.

Benefits Overview

Your retirement benefit has two parts: a monthly pension benefit and an Annuity Savings Account (ASA).

  1. You will receive a monthly benefit from TRF for the rest of your life. This benefit is paid for by the State or your employer.
  2. You also have an ASA. The money in your ASA is from the mandatory annual payment (3 percent of your annual salary). You or your employer makes these payments.

Your ASA includes any voluntary payments you make and  any interest or earnings from investments.  Unlike your monthly benefit, you are vested in the ASA right away.

If you are not retired, you can also create a Rollover Savings Account (RSA) by moving funds from an IRA or other qualified retirement plan into TRF.

Note: We can only accept transfers of taxable funds. You can refer to the Rollover Savings Account section of this handbook for more information.

Eligibility

Vesting

When you have at least 10 years of service in a TRF- or PERF-covered position, you are considered vested.

To be vested means you qualify to receive a monthly pension benefit, once you meet the age and service requirements below.

  • age 65 or older with at least 10 years of service credit,
  • between age 60 and 64 with at least 15 years of service credit, or
  • between age 55 and 59, if age and service credit total at least 85 (“Rule of 85”)

Your Annuity Savings Account (ASA) has money set aside for you to be used after you retire. The funds in this account come from money your employer put in, and/or money you put in, and money earned from investing your account.

Here is a list of transactions for your ASA:

  • mandatory contributions,
  • voluntary contributions (pre- and post-tax), and
  • investment profits and losses.

Mandatory Contributions

By Indiana law, you must put 3 percent of your yearly salary into your ASA. Your employer may make this payment. If so, it is known as an “employer pick-up.” This money is pre-tax.

Voluntary Contributions

You can make extra payments (voluntary contributions) into your ASA and pay up to 10 percent of your yearly salary. You can put the money in pre-tax or post-tax. If you want to make voluntary contributions to your ASA, talk to your employer’s payroll staff.

Voluntary Pre-Tax Contributions

  • “Pre-tax” means you have the money taken out of your paycheck before taxes are applied.
  • These taxes include federal and state tax.
  • You still pay Social Security taxes.
  • You cannot stop making extra payments or change how much you put into your ASA.
  • Example: Say you leave your job:
    • If you come back to the same employer, you must keep making the same payments.
    • If you get a job in a TRF-covered position with a new employer, you can decide if you want to continue making extra payments. And, you will need to choose the amount.

To qualify for voluntary pre-tax contributions:

  • Your employer must decide to be a part of this plan.
  • You must have at least five years of service credit in a covered position.
  • You must send in a payroll deduction authorization form to INPRS

NOTE: You have two years to decide if you want to make extra payments in your ASA pre-tax. The two years start on September 1 after you have earned five years of service.

Voluntary Post-Tax Contributions

  • You can also make extra payments into your ASA post-tax. This means your federal, state and Social Security taxes have already been withheld.
  • If your employer allows, you can stop making extra payments. Or, you can change the amount you pay into your ASA.
  • Call us at (888) 286-3544 for more information.

Investment Election Options for an ASA

You can decide how you want your ASA to be invested with these seven options:

  • Fixed Income Fund
  • Money Market Fund (available to TRF members within their RSA)
  • Stable Value Fund
  • Inflation-Linked Fixed Income Fund
  • International Equity Fund
  • Large Cap Equity Index Fund
  • Small/Mid Cap Equity Fund
  • Target Date Funds

ASA Allocation Changes

You can change the amount of money you invest in each fund. The amount must be at least 1 percent of your total balance and can be changed daily.

It’s important to ask yourself three things:

  1. What is my "risk tolerance?" This means how comfortable you are with the account value rising and falling with the markets.
  2. What is my age? Younger members may be able to take on more market risk since stock losses can be made up over time. Members closer to retirement may want to invest in more stable value investments that provide regular income.
  3. What is my “portfolio diversification?” This means spreading your money among different types of investments to reduce overall risk.

NOTE: If you don’t choose how you want your ASA invested, your ASA election option will default to a target date fund. The target date fund will be based on your age.

Target Date Funds

The goal of a target-date fund is to be a "one-stop shop" for you. Target date funds consider the year in which you plan to retire in order to provide appropriate risk diversification.

INPRS is unable to provide investment advice. Our “Fund Fact Sheets” give you more information on each of the funds. You can find them here. Or, you may want to talk to a trusted financial advisor or review Investing 101 on this website.


TRF Member Handbook: Your TRF Benefits