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Pension Benefits


Tier Eligibility Requirement

You should know the requirement eligibility for your tier so you can request an application packet for retirement benefits at least 120 days before your anticipated retirement date or download the application. It is your responsibility to initiate the retirement process.

Tier I - First entered TRS on or before July 1, 1990

Early retirement age 50 if vested, and normal - age 55 if vested.

Tier II - First entered TRS on or after June 30, 1990

Early retirement age 55 if vested, and normal - age 60 if vested.

You may be eligible to retire at any age and receive a normal, unreduced monthly pension benefit if you have:

  • 20 paid-up years of TRS membership service;
  • 20 paid-up years of combined TRS membership and Alaska BIA service, if the last five years are membership years;
  • 20 paid-up years of combined part-time and full-time TRS membership service (you must have worked at least 172 days and have one half year of membership service as a part-time teacher or one full year of membership service as a full-time teacher in each of 20 school years); or
  • 25 paid-up years of credited service, if the last five years are TRS membership service.

Refunded service that has not been fully repaid cannot count towards retirement eligibility.

Notice: If you are no longer working, waiting to apply for retirement past your normal retirement age will not increase your retirement benefit. Benefit payment will begin the first day of the month after you meet eligibility requirements and will not be retroactive.

When applying for retirement you must specify your retirement date on the TRS Application for Retirement Benefits.

By law, your retirement date will be the first of the month after the following requirements are met:

  • You meet the minimum service and age requirements for retirement. You should not leave employment until you are absolutely certain that you are eligible to retire.
  • You have terminated employment. Note: If you terminate your employment on the first day of the month, you will not be appointed to retirement until the following month.
  • Your Application for Retirement Benefits is received by the Division of Retirement and Benefits prior to the date you plan to retire.

Note: If you have worked 172 days in this school year, your soonest retirement date would be July 1.

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Benefit Calculation

Your pension benefit calculation is dependent on your years of service as well as your average base salary.To include a year of salary in your three highest years, you must work and receive compensation during at least two-thirds of that school year (115 days) either full or part time.

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Health Benefits

New benefit recipients will be covered under the State of Alaska Retiree Health Plan (AlaskaCare) as of the retirement effective date. Those who must pay for coverage are also covered as of the retirement effective date if they elect coverage prior to retirement.

Your application should be filed with the Division a minimum of 60 days prior to your retirement effective date. If the Division does not receive your application by this requested time, eligibility reporting to the health carrier may be delayed. To ensure a smooth transition with your health insurance coverage, please submit your application early.

When your application is received, a health plan welcome kit with information and forms will be sent to you. This will be confirmation that your eligibility is being reported to the claim administrator. Your health insurance identification cards will be mailed to you shortly after your eligibility has been reported. At that time, you will be able to file for reimbursement of any covered medical services that occurred since your retirement date.

If you first entered the TRS after June 30 1990, and you are under age 60, you must enroll and pay the monthly premiums to be covered under the medical plan unless you have 25 years of membership service.

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Taxes

TRS benefits are taxable by the federal government as soon as they are received.

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Checklist for Pre-retirement Planning

  • Contact Pre-retirement services and request an estimate of benefits and retirement application packet at least 120 days before your prospective date of retirement.
  • Arrange for a counseling appointment.
  • Fill out your packet and mail to the Division at least 60 days before your retirement effective date.

Required Items:

  • Evidence of birthdate
  • Spouse's evidence of birthdate (if applicable)
  • Court certified copies of divorce or dissolution documents (if applicable)
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)

Retirement benefits are paid once at the end of each month. However, the processing of your first benefit check can take approximately six weeks from your retirement effective date. Once your application has been processed, benefit checks will be automatically issued at the end of each month.

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