TRS provides retirement, disability and death benefits to its members, in addition to a variety of services.
What is TRS?
Created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1939, the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois (TRS) provides retirement, disability and death benefits for certified teachers and administrators in public common and charter school districts located outside of Chicago. TRS is governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees.
Who qualifies for TRS membership? Am I Tier 1 or Tier 2?
To qualify for membership in TRS, you must be certified under the provisions of the School Code of Illinois, employed in an Illinois public common or charter school that is located outside the city of Chicago, and employed in a position requiring certification by the Illinois State Board of Education.
Tier 1 Members
Tier 1 members first contributed to TRS before January 1, 2011 or have pre-existing creditable service with a reciprocal pension system prior to January 1, 2011.
Tier 2 Members
Tier 2 members first contributed to TRS on or after January 1, 2011 and do not have any previous service credit with a pension system that has reciprocal rights with TRS.
Create Your Online Member Account Today
Set up your account and you will have access to upload documents, view your TRS Benefits Reports and keep your address, phone and email information current. Select the "Member Login" button on the top right of this page to get started.
The following option will appear on the opening page. Select the “New User” button.
Next, complete the required fields.
Enter the last four digits of your Social Security number, birth date and TRS Member ID. Your Member ID is on your TRS Membership Card, which TRS sends to every member, via either mail or email. You also can call TRS at 877-927-5877 (877-9-ASK-TRS) for your Member ID.
If the last four digits of your Social Security number, birth date and Member ID entered matches those we have on file for you, a new page will open that will instruct you to create a username.
Your username and password will be immediately established with the proper information. You may enter the secure area the same day. Additional sign-in screens are also part of the process. With your personalized answers in place, future visits to the area will confidently assure you that you are visiting the official TRS website. If you forget your username or password before your next sign in, you will need to enter your Member ID to gain access to your account.
What Should I Do First After Accessing My Member Account?
Complete a Beneficiary Designation form
As a new member, you must complete a Beneficiary Designation form. This form provides us with pertinent biographical information and allows you to designate beneficiaries to whom death benefits will be distributed. The form is located in the secure Member Account Access area.
To create or update your beneficiary designation, download your personalized form by logging into your secure member account. Start by selecting the Member Login button on the top right of this page. After logging in, select Forms & Reports on the left navigation bar. Then select Beneficiary Designation form.
Part of the form will be prefilled with information on file for you. If you cannot access your online account, email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your full name, last 4 digits of your Social Security number and mailing address and we will mail the form to your address.
To quickly and efficiently send the completed form back to TRS, use the Document Upload feature located on the left navigation bar within the secure area. You may also fax it to 217-753-0964 or mail it to the Springfield office.
Provide proof of birth
Your proof of birth must be provided to TRS in order to receive future benefits. Acceptable proof of birth includes: a copy of your birth certificate, valid passport, valid driver’s license or any other state-issued identification card displaying your date of birth. Please return it to TRS by uploading it in the secure area.
You Participate in a Defined Benefit Plan
A government defined benefit (DB) plan is a traditional pension. It requires contributions from each active member and public employer to a commingled trust fund. That fund provides each member with a guaranteed lifetime annuity upon retirement, regardless of how much the member and employer contributed to the trust fund for that member. All active members, employers and investment income fund the benefit payments of retired employees. Members cannot outlive their benefits.
Am I required to make defined benefit contributions?
Yes, as an active TRS member, you are required to contribute 9.0 percent of your gross earnings toward retirement each year. Your contributions are used as follows:
- 7.5 percent for retirement annuities
- 0.5 percent for automatic annual increases in annuities
- 1 percent for death benefits
You also contribute to the Teachers’ Health Insurance Security (THIS) Fund, which finances the health insurance program for retired teachers.
What are my retirement benefits?
Tier 1 Overview
Tier 1 members must meet age and service credit requirements in order to receive a retirement benefit (annuity). The earliest a member can receive a retirement benefit is at age 55 with 20 years of service. The maximum benefit is 75 percent of the average salary with at least 34 years of service credit at age 60 or 35 years of service prior to age 60. If the member retires between the ages of 55 and 60 with at least 20 but fewer than 35 years of service, his/her retirement annuity is reduced by 6 percent for every year that he/she is under age 60.
Tier 2 Overview
Tier 2 members are required to be 67 years old and have accumulated 10 years of service in order to qualify for unreduced benefits that a member has earned. Tier 2 members may retire at age 62 with 10 years of service, but will receive retirement benefits reduced 6 percent for every year the member is under age 67.
What disability benefits may I receive?
If your career is interrupted because of health reasons, TRS can help meet your financial commitments. To be eligible for temporary nonoccupational disability benefits, you must have at least three years of service credit and have used all of your sick leave. No minimum service requirement must be met before you are eligible to receive occupational disability benefits. You will continue to accumulate service credit while on disability.
What death benefits are provided?
TRS pays two death benefits: a refund of your accumulated contributions and survivor benefits. Each benefit may be paid to separate beneficiaries or both benefits may be paid to the same beneficiaries. Your completed Beneficiary Designation form determines how death benefits are distributed. If we do not have a Beneficiary Designation form on file and no dependent beneficiary survives you, we will pay the death benefits to your estate.
Will I receive a benefit statement?
The TRS Benefit Report is available online by signing into your secure member account ("Member Login" at the top of the page). You will gain access immediately after setting up the account and logging in. This report will be available in late November and you will be notified via email when it is ready for viewing. Your report contains important information about your earnings, years of service, sick leave, optional service credit and designated beneficiaries.
How can I increase my service credit?
You can increase the amount of service credit you have by purchasing optional service. Types of optional service include:
- out-of-system public school service
- part-time teaching
- substitute and homebound teaching
- military service and post-military teacher retraining
- leave of absence and involuntary layoff
- service canceled by a refund
- recognized Illinois private school service (Must apply on or before June 30, 2028.)
Please contact TRS for assistance in establishing optional service.
May I receive a refund of my contributions?
A refund of contributions should be carefully considered because it terminates your benefits and will be costly to repay if you return to teaching service.
If you terminate teaching with a TRS employer, you may apply for a refund of your retirement contributions four months after your last day of teaching. This refund consists of the portions used to pay the retirement annuity and the annual increases in the annuity.
If you receive a refund of retirement contributions, you are not entitled to any other refunds. The contribution for the Teachers’ Health Insurance Security (THIS) Fund is not refundable.
May I receive a loan from the contributions I’ve paid into TRS?
By law, you are prohibited from borrowing against your account funds or assigning your TRS contributions to a creditor.
What services are available for the Defined Benefit Plan?
Our website has current information, forms and publications, benefit videos and your personal information in the secure Member Account Access area. You are welcome to visit our offices in Springfield or Lisle, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please make an appointment so that we are prepared for your counseling session. If you prefer to reach us by telephone, call our toll-free number, 877-927-5877 (877-9-ASK-TRS), from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.
In addition to these services, you’ll find a wide variety of information in the Topics & Report newsletters about legislation impacting TRS, benefit topics and current events. You'll receive this newsletter three times a year via email or mail. For an overview of the benefits we administer and answers to many benefit questions, please consult either the Tier 1 Member Guide or Tier 2 Member Guide online.
What services are available for the Defined Benefit Plan?
The Supplemental Savings Plan (SSP) is an option for active TRS members who are full-time or part-time contractual employees. Substitutes, part-time non-contractual and extra-duty only members are not eligible to participate in the SSP. Employers must adopt the SSP for their eligible employees to participate. View the list of Participating Employers who have adopted the SSP.
The SSP is an optional 457(b) retirement savings plan offered by TRS and Voya Financial. The SSP is designed to supplement your existing TRS pension – it does not replace it. It’s easy to start saving because your contribution is directly taken out of your paycheck and invested via your TRS SSP account. When you retire, you will be able to receive your monthly TRS pension from the defined benefit program and may also draw on your SSP account balance, however you see fit.
Will you be automatically enrolled in the SSP?
Full-time or part-time contractual employees first employed in a TRS-covered position on or after Jan. 1, 2023, are eligible to be automatically enrolled in the SSP. If you first became a TRS member prior to Jan. 1, 2023, you are not eligible to be automatically enrolled in the SSP and you will need to enroll yourself if you wish to participate in the SSP.
If you are eligible for automatic enrollment, you will receive PIN information and a separate packet in the mail from Voya detailing your automatic enrollment effective date and your SSP automatic enrollment options. You don’t need to take any action to participate in this benefit. However, after you receive your packet in the mail from Voya, we encourage you to visit trsilssp.voya.com to personalize your account and review the features the SSP has to offer.
If you take no action by your automatic enrollment effective date, your employer will defer 3% of your pre-tax compensation to your SSP retirement account.
New TRS Member SSP Video
A brief and easy-to-understand overview of TRS Benefit Plans – the TRS pension and Supplemental Savings Plan (SSP).
Open the video from this link.
Members may visit trsilssp.voya.com or call the TRS SSP Service Center at 844-877-4572 (844-TRS-457B) to learn about investment options, plan features, financial planning tools or personalize your SSP account. Customer Service Associates are available weekdays between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT, excluding stock market holidays.