TRS members will see a difference in the net amount of their monthly benefit checks dated Feb. 1, 2018, compared to the checks received on Jan. 1, 2018. Adjustments in the net amount will be caused by one of the following three reasons or by a combination of these factors:
Annual Cost of Living (COLA) Adjustment
Your annual 3 percent COLA for 2018 will be reflected on your Feb. 1, 2018 check. With some exceptions, recipients of monthly survivor benefits will also see a 3 percent increase.
As a reminder, TRS pays your monthly benefit in arrears. The check you received dated Jan. 1, 2018 is your payment for the month of December 2017. The check dated Feb. 1, 2018 is your monthly annuity for January 2018.
Under state law, the COLA increase is first effective on January 1 following either your first retirement anniversary or your 61st birthday, whichever is later, so not all retired TRS members will see a COLA increase in the Feb. 1 check.
TRS sends a notification letter to all members before they receive their first COLAs. This is the only time TRS will notify members about the annual COLA.
Retirees may log in to the secure Member Account Access area to view their monthly and annual earnings statements.
TRAIL Insurance Premiums
Changes in the premiums some members pay for the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois’ Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (TRAIL MAPD) health insurance coverage will be reflected on the annuity check dated Feb. 1, 2018.
Federal Income Tax Withholding Tables Take Effect
Newly revised federal income tax withholding tables have been implemented and will affect your annuity payment dated Feb. 1, 2018.
These latest tax withholding tables reflect the changes in federal income tax rates that became law in December of 2017.
You may wish to contact a qualified tax advisor or the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040 to ensure that your federal income tax withholding request for the 2018 tax year is adequate for your needs. The amount of money you withhold from your TRS annuity for federal income taxes plays a role every April in whether you owe the government money or the government owes you.
TRS cannot give tax advice.
However, if you would like to change your withholding request, you must complete a new IRS Form W4-P.
To get a new W4-P form, you may print a personalized form online from the secure Member Account Access area of the TRS website or download the blank W-4P Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments. When you complete and submit a new Form W4-P, it replaces any previous withholding information on file with TRS and the IRS.