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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." While you no longer contribute to the plan, it is important that you be aware of the benefits you are entitled to receive, and when you will become eligible to receive your pension benefit. TRAF cannot pay your benefit until we receive your application. A late application will result in lost income since pensions are not paid retroactively. 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 in your Online Services account 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; any amount in excess of this limit must be refunded in cash, less withholding tax). 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 (subject to your pension being in excess of the threshold noted below). You must apply to receive your pension. 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.
  • However, if the monthly pension or its commuted value falls below a specified threshold, the commuted value is considered "unlocked" and must be transferred to an RRSP (subject to maximum transfer value rules; any amount in excess of this limit must be refunded in cash, less withholding tax) or refunded in cash (less withholding tax).
  • 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 (subject to your pension being in excess of the threshold noted below). You must apply to receive your pension. 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.
  • However, if the monthly pension or its commuted value falls below a specified threshold, the commuted value is considered "unlocked" and must be transferred to an RRSP (subject to maximum transfer value rules; any amount in excess of this limit must be refunded in cash, less withholding tax) or refunded in cash (less withholding tax).
  • 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 participating 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, if you have met the age requirements.
  • This information is based on current legislation. Keep in mind that legislation changes from time to time and that changes could affect your eligibility for benefits.

How to proceed

  • Complete the Leaving Teaching Notice and return it to TRAF.
  • Register for or log in to Online Services and ensure that your account profile information is correct so that important correspondence continues to reach you.
  • Find out whether it is beneficial to purchase your service.
  • Determine when you will be eligible to apply for your pension and remember this important date. Apply for your pension at least three months before your eligibility date. TRAF cannot pay your benefit until we receive your application. A late application will result in lost income since pensions are not paid retroactively.
  • Notify TRAF if your address changes.

Stay informed

Register for Online Services and keep your account profile up to date to ensure you stay informed of important news that impacts you. We encourage you to use a personal email address and provide a current phone number.

As a deferred member, you can expect to receive the following regular communications from TRAF. Remember, you must be registered for Online Services and have a current email address with us in order to receive email notifications from TRAF.

  • The Link newsletter is issued every spring and fall. You will receive an email when it is available to read on the website.
  • You will also receive an email notification when the Annual Report is available to view on the website (usually in June of each year).
  • If an annual benefits statement is generated for you, it will be posted to your Online Services account and you will be notified by email when it is available.

In addition to helping you keep in touch with us, your Online Services account allows you to review your teaching account, apply for pension and update your account profile whenever your contact information changes. Register or log in to experience these benefits.