Life Events

Marriage and family, home and career — life is constantly changing. That’s why it’s important to keep your account information up-to-date.

For example, any time you move to a new residence you’ll need to update your account. Changing your address is as easy as signing in to your member account on this website.

With bigger life changes — like getting married, having a child or serving in the military — you’ll need to take additional steps to ensure your account stays current.

First, congratulations! And second, be sure to review and update your TCDRS account. It may not be as exciting as opening wedding presents, but keeping your account up-to-date helps protect the financial well-being of you and your spouse.

Here are some account changes you may need to consider:

Add Your Spouse as a Beneficiary

Your husband or wife may have a right to any benefit you earn while you are married. That goes for a common-law husband or wife, too. To designate your spouse as your beneficiary, sign in online or fill out the Beneficiary Designation (TCDRS-06) form and return it to TCDRS.

If you wish to designate someone other than your spouse as your primary beneficiary, you may want to consider contacting an attorney to discuss the rights and options for you and your spouse.

To learn more about beneficiaries, see Naming a Beneficiary.

Change Your Name

If you are changing your legal name as part of your marriage, you need to update your account information to reflect your new name. We'll need a copy of your marriage certificate or a copy of your driver's license or Social Security card showing your new name. Call Member Services at 800-823-778 for assistance.

Change Your Address

If you are moving into a new home, you need to update your account. You can update your address online when you sign in to your account. If you prefer, you can complete a Change of Address (TCDRS-72) form or call Member Services at 800-823-7782.

A growing family means greater responsibility. By taking simple steps now, you can help provide for your child in the future.

Here are some account changes you may need to consider:

Add Your Child as a Beneficiary

If you are married and your spouse is listed as your primary beneficiary, you may want to consider adding any children as alternate beneficiaries. Alternate beneficiaries are paid a benefit if there are no primary beneficiaries. This would ensure your child gets a benefit if both you and your spouse pass away. You can also name your child as a primary beneficiary. Sign in online or fill out the Beneficiary Designation (TCDRS-06) form and return it to TCDRS.

TCDRS cannot pay a benefit directly to any child under the age of 18. However, there are ways you can make sure a minor child gets the benefit you wish.

Designate a Trustee

A trust is a legal arrangement that lets you specify how you want your benefit to be paid. Once you have set up the trust with help from a lawyer, you then can name a trustee as a primary or alternate beneficiary when you sign in online or on your designation form.

Learn More About Beneficiaries

To learn more about custodians, trustees and other beneficiary options, see Naming a Beneficiary.

According to the College Board, the current average price for four years at a public college is more than $78,000 including room and board, and the average price for four years at a private college, including room and board, is more than $175,000. That price will only go up. No matter how old your child or grandchild is today, it's never too early to start saving for their college years.

The most popular college savings programs are 529 plans (named after the IRS code that authorized them). These special savings accounts grow tax-free and may offer additional benefits to students who choose in-state schools.

Here are the 529 plans currently offered by the State of Texas:

Texas Tuition Promise Fund

This program is a prepaid tuition plan that locks in today's tuition rates and fees. The beneficiary can apply the prepaid funds toward two- or four-year public colleges in Texas, as well as private universities or out-of-state schools.
Learn more about the Texas Tuition Promise Fund

Texas College Savings Plan

This program offers a variety of investment options. Funds can be withdrawn tax-free if applied to qualified educational expenses. 
Learn more about the Texas College Savings Plan

LoneStar 529 Plan

This program is also a tax-advantaged college savings plan, except it is advisor-driven. 
Learn more about the LoneStar 529 Plan

Other Saving Options

Though popular, 529 plans are not your only option for college savings. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts and Uniform Gifts to Minors Acts (UGMA) accounts offer additional choices. A financial advisor can help you sort through the options to find what's best for you.

You have many financial issues to consider during a divorce, including how it affects your TCDRS benefit. Your benefit is considered community property, which means your former spouse has a joint interest in your retirement account. Every case is different, however, and you have a variety of options in a divorce settlement.

If you are going through a divorce, please call TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782 so we can provide you with information about how a divorce may affect your TCDRS benefits.

Please note: There is a different process for retirees getting divorced.

WATCH: Getting Divorced Before Retirement

You May Not Have to Split Your Benefit

The law does not require you to split your benefit. Your former spouse may waive claim to your benefit in the division of your shared assets and property.

If You Decide to Split Your Benefit

Please review these QDRO instructions to help you and your attorney file a QDRO. TCDRS cannot give you legal advice, but there are specific legal requirements you must follow:

Keep Your Information Up-to-Date

Please keep in mind that a divorce nullifies your ex-spouse as your beneficiary. However, you may redesignate your ex-spouse as your beneficiary, if you wish. If you need to change your beneficiary, sign in online or fill out the Beneficiary Designation (TCDRS-06) form and return it to TCDRS.

If you are moving to a new home, sign in to update your address.

If you are changing your legal name, please call Member Services at 800-823-7782 for assistance.

When someone in your family has passed away, we know you have many difficult decisions to make. If your loved one was listed as your beneficiary, you’ll need to update your TCDRS account to ensure that your benefit is paid out as you wish.

Review Your Beneficiaries

Update and make any changes needed by signing in online or by filling out the Beneficiary Designation (TCDRS-06) form and returning it to TCDRS.

To learn more about custodians, trustees and other beneficiary options, see Naming a Beneficiary.  

If You Are a Beneficiary

If your loved one was receiving a TCDRS benefit or had a TCDRS account, please call Member Services at 800-823-7782. We will let you know if you are eligible for a benefit and walk you through the process.

Performing your military duty shouldn’t force you to put off your retirement plans. In fact, you may be able to have your military service time counted toward your retirement eligibility.

If You Are Called to Active Duty While Employed

As a member of the Reserves or National Guard, you may be called away from your job to serve on active duty.

When heading to a domestic base or deploying overseas, you need to update your account to reflect your new address. To change your address, sign in on this website or call Member Services at 800-823-7782.

When you return to work, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) gives you a chance to fully restore your retirement account with credit for service time and the chance to make up for missed deposits.

To learn about establishing service time under USERRA, see Active Reserves & National Guard.

If You Have Past Service

With past active military service, you can get service time for up to 60 months of military service if:

  • Your discharge was under honorable conditions.
  • You have not applied for military service time in another Texas public retirement system.
  • You are vested with your employer (based on TCDRS service).

To check your vested status, simply sign in to your account.

If eligible, you will get a month of service time for each month of active-duty military service. Simply fill out a Military Service Time Application (TCDRS-92) and return it to TCDRS along with a copy of your DD-214 or other discharge documents.

To learn more about military service time, see Military Service Time.

Other Resources for Veterans

Texas Veterans Portal 

This website provides information about resources and services the State of Texas offers to veterans, their families and their survivors. This is provided for informational purposes only.


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