- Where Do I Begin?
- 12 Months Prior
- 6 Months Prior
- 3 Months Prior
- Retiree Verification
- After Retirement
Retirement can be both a scary and exciting experience. TCRS is here to help you transition into retirement without the worry. After working the majority of their adult lives, most people ask, “I’m ready to retire; where do I begin?” The best place to begin your retirement journey is by looking at our version of the retirement handbook—Retirement…A New Beginning.
The ideal first step in the retirement process is to have a retirement estimate calculated. General estimates are printed on your annual statement. However, if you would like a more detailed estimate you can request one from our office or mail in the request form. We also have retirement counselors in Nashville who are available for in-office counseling or counseling by phone. Our counselors can cover key dates with you, explain the benefit payment plans, tax information, and insurance rates and help guide you to the right decisions. To set up an appointment, ask questions, or to request an estimate, you can reach our Counseling division by calling (615) 741-1971.
One of the major decisions in retirement is selecting the right payment plan for you. For detailed descriptions of each payment plan available at retirement, please see Selecting an Optional Payment Plan.
Once you have chosen a date and have a payment plan in mind, we suggest you file your paperwork approximately 60-90 days in advance. This will ensure our office has adequate time to calculate your benefit and get any additional information we may need. For further details and timelines, please see the checklist located on the above tabs.
Please refer to the Retiree Verification tab above for recent legislation regarding new retiree verification procedures.
Time your retirement to fit your goals. Following are some items to consider.
- Your last paid day of service cannot be later than June 30 of any given year in order to qualify for any Cost of Living Adjustment (3% maximum) that may be given in July of the year following your retirement.
- You may want to delay retirement until a longevity payment is received. The amount, the date and the effect of the longevity payment on your TCRS benefit need to be considered. Discuss this with your TCRS retirement counselor.
- If you are enrolled in a medical expense reimbursement account through a Flexible Benefits Program, consider how your retirement date will affect this account.
- Begin studying the optional benefit payment plans available from TCRS if you are interested in a benefit plan which provides a monthly income to your beneficiary in the event of your death. Ask TCRS to send you the brochure, “Selecting a Payment Plan at Retirement” or find it at http://www.tn.gov/treasury/tcrs/OptionalPaymentPlan.html
- Determine the source of medical insurance for your family and verify your post-retirement eligibility.
- State sponsored plan (state, teacher or local government)
- Local government sponsored plan
- Medicare supplement (if you or a dependent are over age 65)
- Spouse’s employment. If you use this source of coverage, will you be able to continue coverage in the event of your spouse’s retirement or death?
- Consider whether any individual disability coverage will still be needed. Contact your insurance provider to determine if there is an offset provision for other income received.
- Evaluate your life insurance needs in comparison to your coverage and consider any conversion rights. Contact your life insurance provider for this information.
- If applicable, establish any additional retirement credit in TCRS, such as refunded service, military service, etc.
- Evaluate your personal investments to determine if they are still appropriate.
- Decide when and how to begin drawing income from IRAs, deferred annuities (403b) and/or deferred compensation plans, such as the 401(k) or 457. Contact your banking institution or plan administrator for guidance.
- Consider status of taxation after retirement, and time any income to be received when income levels and tax rates are expected to be lower.
- Review your estate planning.
- Update wills, trusts and powers of attorney.
- Be aware of how your property passes to others under Tennessee law.
- Consider how emergency expenses will be handled. Make an effort to eliminate any debt, and pay off obligations for large purchases.
- Consider how future large purchases, such as a car, appliances, home renovations, etc., will be financed. Consider making these purchases before retirement.
- Decide what you are going to do after retirement.
- Second career
- Hobbies and leisure activities
- Volunteer work
- Part-time work
- Obtain an estimate of your TCRS benefits. Call 615-741-1971, or write to TCRS.
- Obtain an estimate of your social security benefits, if applicable, by calling 1-800-772-1213.
- Do a post-retirement budget to determine if your standard of living can be maintained. You also need to determine the income that your beneficiary would have should you predecease your beneficiary. Will the beneficiary be able to maintain his or her standard of living?
- If your 65th birthday will be attained in the year of your TCRS retirement, notify the Social Security Administration of your intent to retire. Find out what you will need to do so that your Medicare coverage will start at the right time.
Obtain the necessary forms from your employer or from TCRS.
Insurance Application (if you and/or any dependents are under 65)
Notify your employer of your intention to retire. Your personnel office will assist you with the retirement process.
NOTE: If you will be over 65 when you retire, an application for the Medicare supplement will be mailed to you from POMCO after your retirement benefit is processed.
File the TCRS retirement application and related forms 60-90 days prior to your last paid day of service.
If you meet TCRS retirement eligibility requirements at the time you terminate employment, file for your benefits within 150 days after your last paid day of service to avoid loss of benefits.
If accrued annual leave (vacation time) is to be paid, you may have a choice of whether to extend it on the payroll or take a lump-sum payment. A lump-sum payment of your annual leave and/or compensatory leave may enable you to begin your TCRS and social security benefits sooner than you could if you stayed on the payroll; however, lump-sum payments are not included in your average final compensation for TCRS benefit calculation purposes. Some agencies do not permit retiring employees to choose.
If you will be Medicare eligible at retirement (usually age 65), you should apply for Part B of Medicare when the employer sponsored insurance coverage ends. Only Part A of Medicare is automatic. Notify the Social Security Administration when you turn age 65.
If you are enrolled in a medical expense reimbursement account through a Flexible Benefits Program, consider how your retirement date will affect this account. Your out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred prior to the date of retirement may be eligible for flexible benefits reimbursement up to the amount you signed up to contribute for the year, even if you do not complete these contributions due to your retirement. For state employees, call 615-741-3131 to discuss your account.
Apply for your social security benefits when you become eligible. To do so, you must file a separate application with the Social Security Administration. Call 1-800-772-1213 for information.
If you are a United States Citizen and applying for retirement benefits from the Tennessee Consolidate Retirement System through the submission of this application, you must provide one (1) of the following forms of identification accompanying this application:
- a valid driver’s license or photo identification license issued by the Department of Safety or a valid driver’s license or photo identification license from another state where the issuance requirements are at least as strict as those in Tennessee, as determined by the Department of Safety;
- an official birth certificate issued by the United States or any of its territories; however, Puerto Rican birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010 shall not be recognized;
- a United States government-issued certified birth certificate;
- a valid, unexpired United States passport;
- a United States certificate of birth abroad (DS-1350 or FS-545);
- a report of birth abroad of a United States citizen (FS-240);
- a certificate of citizenship (N560 or N561);
- a certificate of naturalization (N550, N570 or N578);
- a United States Citizen identification card (I-197, I-179);
- any successor document to the six items listed above; or
- a social security number that the Department may verify with the Social Security Administration.
8 U.S.C. §1641 defines “qualified alien” as:
- permanent residents;
- persons granted asylum;
- persons classified as refugees;
- persons who have been paroled into the United States for a period of at least one (1) year;
- persons whose deportation has been withheld under federal law;
- persons who have been granted conditional entry into the United States;
- persons who are Cuban or Haitian entrants into the United States;
- persons and persons’ children who are battered or subject to extreme cruelty in the United States by a spouse or parent or by the spouse’s or parent’s family member residing in the same household and the spouse or parent consented to or acquiesced in the battery or cruelty;
- persons who have pending petitions establishing a prima facie case for asylum, refugee status, parole, conditional entry, delayed deportation, or spouse/child of a United States citizen; or persons who have been granted nonimmigrant status or who has a pending application establishing a prima facie case as a nonimmigrant.
If you are a “qualified alien” as defined above, you must present two (2) forms of documentation of identity and immigration status accompanying your application for retirement benefits, as determined by the United States Department of Homeland Security to be acceptable for verification through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (“SAVE”) program.
Common types of documents used to establish immigration status include, but are not limited to the following:
- I-327 (Reentry Permit);
- I-551 (Permanent Resident Card or “Green Card”);
- I-571 (Refugee Travel Document);
- I-766 (Employment Authorization Card);
- Machine Readable Immigrant Visa (with Temporary I-551 language);
- Temporary I-551 stamp (on passport or I-94);
- Unexpired foreign passport;
- WT (visitor for business)/WB (visitor for pleasure) Admission Stamp in unexpired foreign passport;
- I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F(1) student status – “student visa”); or
- DS2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status).
Common types of documents used to establish identity include, but are not limited to the following:
- Driver’s license;
- Identification card with photograph issued by federal, state or local government agencies or entities;
- School identification card with photograph;
- Voter’s registration card;
- United States military card or draft record;
- Military dependent’s identification card;
- United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariners Document (MMD) Card;
- Native American tribal document; or
- Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority.
- Make sure any employment after retirement will not impact your TCRS benefit. If you are considering part-time employment or return to service with an agency or department that is covered by TCRS, contact our office to determine how such employment may affect your TCRS benefit.
- If you plan to work after retirement, stay informed about the Social Security earnings limits and the benefit offset that occurs in your Social Security benefit after exceeding those limits.
- Notify TCRS in writing of any address change. Important correspondence, such as the 1099-R form to be filed with your income tax and Cost-of-Living Adjustment information, will be mailed to your home address.
- If you did not sign up for the direct deposit program when you filed your application for retirement, you may change to this program after retirement. By using direct deposit, you will have access to your money one to three days earlier each month than those whose checks are mailed directly to their home. You will also have the security and peace of mind of knowing that your check is automatically deposited into your account each month. To obtain a direct deposit application, contact TCRS at 1-800-770-8277 or (615) 741-4913, or print it from http://www.tn.gov/treasury/tcrs/new Pages/PDFs/tr0265.pdf