If you are employed by a city that participates in TMRS, in a position that normally requires at least 1,000 hours of work in a year, you must join TMRS. Your city must certify every position that meets this work requirement and enroll each employee who fills such a position.
In general, you earn a month of service credit toward retirement for each month you are employed in an eligible position by a TMRS city.
You may establish other types of service credit, including credit for previous employment or active duty military service.
In the spring of each year, TMRS sends you an Annual Statement of your service credit and your account balance. You may also see your account information on TMRS' secure website using MyTMRS®. TMRS encourages members to check their account status regularly; you have up to four years to correct any errors in your account.
In most TMRS cities, you are vested when you have five years of service credit. A few cities require 10 years of service credit to vest.
"Vesting" means you have worked enough years and established enough service credit to meet the minimum length-of-service requirement for retirement. Once vested, even if you leave city employment, you may leave your deposits with TMRS and retire with a TMRS retirement benefit when you reach age 60 (or meet other retirement requirements that may be necessary).
Your beneficiary is the person (or persons) you choose to receive payments from your retirement account if you die. Although you name a beneficiary when you first become a TMRS member, your beneficiary designation becomes especially important when you have vested after five or 10 years of service credit (depending on your city's plan). TMRS will contact you when you vest to confirm your beneficiary selection.
If you receive Social Security benefits, they will not affect your TMRS benefit. However, there are some Social Security provisions you may want to learn more about.
The Government Pension Offset. If you receive a Social Security benefit based on your spouse's employment, and you also receive a pension from a government employer who was not part of the Social Security program, your Social Security benefit may be offset by your governmental pension. The offset will reduce the amount of your Social Security spouse's benefit by two-thirds of the amount of your government pension. The Social Security Administration provides more information on the offset.
The Windfall Elimination Provision. If you receive a Social Security benefit but the majority of your career was spent working for a governmental employer who was not part of the Social Security program, your Social Security benefit may be calculated using a formula that reduces your Social Security benefit. The Social Security Administration provides more information about the provision.
Your member deposits are deducted from your pay by your city. Depending on your city's plan, your deposits will be 5%, 6%, or 7% of your gross salary. Your member deposits are held in your member account, where they earn interest each year.
Your city matches your member deposits and interest at a rate chosen by the city: 1 to 1; 1.5 to 1; or 2 to 1. City matching funds are held in the city's TMRS retirement account until you retire.
Member deposits are deducted from your pay before taxes, so you are not taxed on your member deposits or the interest they earn until you receive them from TMRS as a benefit payment. See "Taxes" below for more information on tax issues.
You cannot borrow from your member account, nor can you use it as collateral for a loan.
In most TMRS cities, you can retire when you have at least five years of service credit (10 years in a few cities) and are at least age 60.
You may also retire at any age if you have 20 or 25 years of service credit, depending on the plan chosen by your city.
At retirement, you will choose a monthly payment option to receive your benefit. (Watch this video guide to retirement options.) All options pay you a monthly benefit for the rest of your life. Besides the Retiree Life Only benefit, six payment options are available that can provide payments to your beneficiary if you die. Choosing the retirement option that is best for you is one of the most important decisions you will make as a TMRS member. For detailed information on the options, click here.
Your monthly benefit at retirement is based on your member deposits and interest, the city's matching funds, other credits, your life expectancy (and your beneficiary's, if you choose certain options), future account interest assumptions as set by law, and the monthly payment plan you choose.
Your Annual Statement contains estimates of your retirement benefits. You may also get an estimate online or by calling TMRS at (800) 924-8677.
When you are eligible to retire from TMRS and you are ready to retire, you should apply to TMRS for retirement. You may not apply more than 90 days before your effective date of retirement. Your city may have additional requirements. You should contact your city personnel office and TMRS if you are considering retirement.
Upon your death, your beneficiary or estate is guaranteed to receive at least a refund of your member deposits and interest. If you are vested at the time of your death, your beneficiary may also be eligible for a monthly payment.
If you die after retirement, the monthly payment your beneficiary receives will be based on the retirement option you chose.
Many TMRS cities have chosen to offer the Supplemental Death Benefit (SDB) for members and retirees. Survivors of active employees of these cities receive an additional benefit approximately equal to the employee's annual salary. If an employee of a city with Supplemental Death Benefits dies after retirement, the SDB program pays a lump sum of $7,500 to the designated SDB beneficiary.
TMRS provides an Occupational Disability benefit. If you become disabled in a manner likely to be permanent and that prevents you from performing your job, you may be eligible to retire immediately. Your benefit will be based on your member deposits and interest, the city's matching funds, and any other credits in your account.
If you are no longer employed by any TMRS city, you may apply for a refund of your member deposits and interest. You are not required to withdraw (refund) your deposits. If you withdraw (refund) your member deposits and interest, your TMRS membership will end. You will not receive any city matching funds.
If you are a TMRS member or retiree, your benefits may become a part of your divorce settlement. The division of benefits is usually governed by a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. Call TMRS Support Services if you need assistance with a QDRO.
Member deposits are deducted from your city pay before taxes, so you are not taxed on your member deposits or the interest they earn until you receive them from TMRS as a benefit payment. Member deposits made before January 1, 1984 were taxed and are not subject to taxation when you receive them as benefits.
If you would like to more information you may download the TMRS Member Benefits Guide in pdf format.
Do you have a general question about your member or retiree account? TMRS offers "one-stop shopping." Our phone center is your best resource when you need help with your benefits. Our goal is to answer most questions in a single call.
Just dial 800.924.8677.
Remember: Always include your TMRS Member number or the last four digits of your Social Security number on all forms and correspondence mailed or faxed to TMRS. This will help us expedite any changes to your account or requests for information.