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Common Questions From TCDRS Members and Retirees

These are the questions most frequently asked of our Member Services Representatives.
If you don’t see your question here or need more information, please call TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782 for assistance.


Online Features

For help finding your account number, please call TCDRS Member Services at
800-823-7782 and a representative will assist you.

You will need to provide the account number for your open account. If you have multiple open accounts, our system will randomly select one open account and request that account number during signup. If you do not have your account number, please call TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782 and a representative will assist you.

No. You will be able to access all of your TCDRS accounts on your account summary page using a simple toggle menu at the top of the screen.

Yes, some forms and documents can be sent directly to TCDRS using the Document Upload feature online.

To upload a document, simply sign in to your account to bring up your Account Summary screen and select “Upload a form or document” from the “Documents” box.

You will then be asked to select a document type from a drop-down list that is based on the following:

  • Cancellation Request
  • Payment Replacement
  • Divorce/Legal
  • Military Service

Be sure that your form is complete and includes any supporting documents.

Retirees can upload a payment replacement request, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or a Power of Attorney form.

When uploading any document related to retirement, select “Retirement” from the drop-down menu list. This includes TCDRS-22, 70, 73 and 75, and your driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID. Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) and Power of Attorney forms should be uploaded under “Divorce/Legal”. If you are sending in a TCDRS-92 form, a DD-214 or other military service documents, select “Military Service”.

We accept JPEG, PNG and PDF files. If your request involves multiple forms and/or documents, please upload everything together as one file.

You will only be able to see a listed history of documents you have uploaded to TCDRS. You will not be able to access the actual documents. If you need to retrieve something that you have uploaded to the website, please call TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782.

Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of account security that occasionally requires users to enter not only their password, but also a unique code to confirm their identity.


Applying for Benefits Online

Sign into your online account at www.TCDRS.org. If you are eligible to retire, or within six months of becoming eligible, you will see an “Apply for Retirement” button near the top of your Account Summary page.

Yes. We will need a separate online application for each TCDRS account.

Yes, TCDRS will still accept a paper application, but we strongly encourage members to fill out the online application because it is more secure and efficient than mailing or faxing in a paper form.

If you need to cancel or make a change to your submitted application, please call TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782 and a representative will assist you with next steps.

Once you apply for retirement online, your Account Summary page will display an application timeline.

If you select a benefit payment option and beneficiary designation requiring spousal consent, you will be able to send your spouse an electronic spousal consent form via email as part of your online application.

No. If you exit the online application before submitting it, you will need to start a new application.

Yes. The “Apply for Withdrawal” link is located in the footer of your Account Summary page when you sign into your online TCDRS account.


Your Plan and Benefits

You can see your current balance — as well as your deposits, interest earned and benefit milestones — in your Account Summary. Sign in to see all of the details of your TCDRS account.

Your amount of service time determines if you are vested, if you are eligible for retirement and if your beneficiary will receive a Survivor Benefit. There are two basic types of service time:

  • Current Service Time: You earn one month of current service time for each month you make a TCDRS deposit. You will earn only one month of current service time each month no matter how many paychecks you get each month.
  • Prior Service Time: This is service time you receive for the time you worked for your employer before it joined TCDRS.

The Proportionate Retirement Program lets you use service time from any of the systems listed below to qualify for retirement benefits (not disability benefits or the Survivor Benefit). Those systems are:

  • Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS)
  • Employees Retirement System (ERS)
  • Judicial Retirement System of Texas (JRS)
  • Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS)
  • City of Austin Employees Retirement System (COAERS)

If you would like more information about the Proportionate Retirement Program, please call Member Services at 800-823-7782.

If you served in the military, you may be eligible to have up to five years of that service time credited to your account. Please call TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782 for assistance.

No, you cannot borrow from your account. Your TCDRS benefit is “not assignable,” meaning you cannot give another person or business the rights to your account. You cannot take out a loan against your TCDRS savings, but your savings are protected from creditors.

When you earn four years of TCDRS service time, your beneficiary becomes eligible for a lifetime monthly benefit with employer matching should you pass away before you retire. Your beneficiary does not need to wait until you would have been eligible to retire; he or she can begin taking the benefit immediately.

You don’t have to keep working for a county or district to retain this benefit. As long as you have money in your account and you have at least four years of TCDRS service time, your beneficiary can choose a lifetime monthly benefit.

Your beneficiary can choose to withdraw the account, but that withdrawal would not include employer matching. If you prefer, you can remove the withdrawal option for your beneficiary to ensure he or she receives a lifetime monthly benefit that includes employer matching.

If you are not eligible for the Survivor Benefit, your beneficiaries get your account balance, including deposits and interest, as a one-time payment.

If you have questions about the Survivor Benefit, call TCDRS Member Services at
800-823-7782.


Updating Account Information

Names, birth dates and Social Security Numbers cannot be changed online. If you notice an incorrect name, birthdate or SSN in your online account, please call TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782 and a representative will assist you in determining what documentation is required to update your information.

You can update your mailing address, email address and phone number online when you sign into your online TCDRS account. If you prefer, you can complete a Change of Address (TCDRS-72) form or call TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782.

You can update your beneficiaries when you sign in online or by completing the Beneficiary Designation (TCDRS-06) form. If you are retired and want to change your beneficiaries, please call TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782.


Preparing for Retirement

Details about your earliest date eligible and estimated retirement benefit are available to you 24/7 in your online TCDRS account. You can estimate your possible future benefit by clicking on the “Estimate benefit” button near the top of your Account Summary page.

All of the TCDRS benefit payment options provide you with a monthly payment for the rest of your life. The difference in the monthly amounts reflects the possible payments to your beneficiaries after you pass away.

As you consider these benefit payment options, think about your overall income needs in retirement, whether your spouse is covered by his or her own retirement benefits and the ongoing financial needs of your loved ones after you pass away. All of these factors will be affected by the option you select.

Your options are:

  • Single Life: Provides the highest monthly payment, but all payments stop when you pass away. Your beneficiary will not continue to receive monthly payments. You might select this option if you are single and have no dependents or if you are married and your spouse has his or her own retirement benefit.
  • Guaranteed Term: You get a lifetime benefit. If you pass away before the term ends, your beneficiaries will continue receiving payments until the end of the term. You can choose terms of 10 or 15 years. The term starts on the day you retire. You might select this option if you want to provide financial support to a loved one in case you pass away during a certain timeframe, such as when a child is in college.
  • Dual Life: Your beneficiary receives 100%, 75% or 50% of the benefit you received for life. The lower the percentage you leave to your beneficiary, the higher your monthly payment. You may name only one primary beneficiary. You might select this option to provide for a spouse or other loved one who needs lifetime financial support.
  • 100% to Beneficiary With Pop-Up: Under this Dual Life option, your beneficiary receives 100% of your monthly payment for life when you pass away. However, if your beneficiary passes away before you, your monthly payment will “pop up” to a higher monthly amount, as if you had retired under the Single Life benefit payment option.

You can experiment with different options to find the best fit for your retirement needs. To run benefit estimates, simply sign in or register for online account access, or call TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782.


Job Changes

Leaving your job doesn't mean you have to withdraw your TCDRS account. You can keep your money with TCDRS and save for retirement. See Leaving Your Job to learn more. 

Your payment will be issued within two to four weeks after TCDRS receives your application.

If you decide to withdraw your account, you must take the full amount. Remember that as long as you are employed and making deposits into your account, you cannot make a withdrawal.


Retiree Accounts

In 2019, payments will be deposited in your account on the following dates:

  • January 31
  • February 28
  • March 29
  • April 30
  • May 31
  • June 28
  • July 31
  • August 30
  • September 30
  • October 31
  • November 27
  • December 31

You can update your banking information quickly and securely by signing into your online TCDRS account. If you would rather submit your change by form, you can complete the Direct Deposit Authorization (TCDRS-70) form. Please mail the form to TCDRS at Barton Oaks Plaza IV, Ste. 500, 901 S. MoPac Expy., Austin, TX 78746 or fax it to (512) 328-8887.

How much you should withhold depends on your filing status and total income, not just the amount of your TCDRS benefit payment. TCDRS cannot give you tax advice. Talk to the IRS or a tax professional about the amount you need to withhold for federal taxes. The IRS Withholding Calculator at IRS.gov is also a helpful resource.

You may change your federal tax withholding at any time online. If you would rather submit your change by form, you can complete the Income Tax Withholding (TCDRS-73) form. Please mail the form to TCDRS at Barton Oaks Plaza IV, Ste. 500, 901 S. MoPac Expy., Austin, TX 78746 or fax it to (512) 328-8887.

To see how much is being withheld from your payment for federal taxes, sign in to view your Account Summary. You may change your federal tax withholding at any time online or by completing the Income Tax Withholding (TCDRS-73) form.

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FORMS

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