Leaving Teaching Before May 31/10

 

If you left teaching before May 31, 2010 and have not started your pension, you are a "deferred member". It is important to be aware of the benefits you are entitled to receive. The benefits available are dependent on the length of your qualifying service and your age.

Qualifying Service


Qualifying service is used to determine when you are eligible for a pension and determines if an early retirement penalty applies to you.

You are credited with one year of qualifying service for each year in which you have any contributory or purchased service as well as during periods while receiving disability benefits. Qualifying service is credited to the end of the last month in which you have pensionable service for your final year. Refer to your most recent Benefits Statement to see how much qualifying service you have.

Two Years of Qualifying Service or Less

  • You can request a refund of contributions and interest as a cash refund less income tax or as a transfer to your RRSP (subject to Maximum Transfer Value rules set out in the Income Tax Act (Canada). Contact TRAF to request a Refund of Contributions Application.
  • Alternatively, you can leave your contributions in TRAF until age 55 and then apply for a one-time lump sum payment or a monthly annuity (subject to meeting the minimum monthly payment). Generally, these benefits are a greater value than a refund of contributions. As you approach age 55, you will need to request the appropriate application from TRAF.

Over Two Years and Under 10 Years of Qualifying Service

  • Your contributions are locked in the plan and you will be entitled to an unreduced monthly pension the month after you turn age 65 or an actuarially reduced monthly pension any time after you turn age 55. The benefit you receive is based on your service and salary. It may also be subject to a cost of living adjustment (a basic increase to offset inflation), and if you pass away, it can provide a continuing benefit to your partner, if applicable.
  • If the monthly pension is below the legislated minimum, your pension benefit will be paid as a one-time lump sum payment in cash or a transfer to your RRSP (subject to Maximum Transfer Value rules set out in the Income Tax Act (Canada)).
  • Contact TRAF if you have service before 1985 since different rules apply.

Ten or More Years of Qualifying Service

  • Your contributions are locked in the plan and you will be entitled to a monthly pension the month after you turn age 55. The pension you receive is based on your service and salary. It may also be subject to a cost of living adjustment (a basic increase to offset inflation), and if you pass away, it can provide a continuing benefit to your partner, if applicable.
  • Contact TRAF if you have service before 1985 since different rules apply.

Moving to Another Pension Plan

You may be eligible to transfer your TRAF pension to your new plan. Possible benefits include:

  • Combines two smaller pensions into one
  • Helps you meet eligibility rules with your new plan
  • Provides you with a larger pension by allowing all service to be based on potentially higher salaries
  • Reduces or eliminates early retirement penalties

What You Should Know

  • Service purchases, such as substitute service, may increase your monthly pension and your qualifying service. We encourage you to find out whether it is beneficial to purchase your service.
  • If your pension is higher than the legislated minimum, and if you are employed but not contributing to TRAF (for example, employed in a private school), you are eligible to start your TRAF pension, providing you have met the age requirements.
  • All information provided on leaving teaching is based on current legislation. Keep in mind that legislation changes from time to time and that any of these changes could affect your eligibility for benefits.

How to Proceed

  • Complete the Leaving Teaching Notice and return it to TRAF.
  • Find out whether it is beneficial to purchase your service.
  • It is most important that you apply for your pension at least three months before your eligibility date. You will lose pension income if you do not apply on time since TRAF does not pay pensions retroactively.
  • Make sure you notify TRAF if your address changes.