Your TCDRS Benefits

Once you're eligible for retirement, you can apply for a monthly benefit that you'll receive for the rest of your life.

With TCDRS, you choose the benefit option that works best for you. All of the options provide you with a lifetime monthly benefit. Some options also provide a lifetime monthly payment or payment for a guaranteed term to your beneficiary.

Your Monthly Benefit Amount

How much you receive each month depends on several factors, including how much money is in your account, your employer's matching rate, the option you select and your age. You can estimate your monthly retirement benefit online when you sign in to your account.

Additional Membership Benefits

Read on below to find out about the additional benefits that may be associated with your TCDRS account.

If you have four or more years of TCDRS service, your beneficiary has the option of receiving a lifetime monthly payment from your account if you pass away before you retire. Called the Survivor Benefit, this monthly payment is made up of your deposits and interest, as well as employer matching. Your beneficiary doesn’t have to wait until you would have been eligible to retire. He or she can begin taking the benefit immediately.

The Survivor Benefit is not tied to your employment. It's tied to your TCDRS account. As long as you have four or more years of TCDRS service and money in your account, your beneficiary can choose a lifetime monthly benefit.

If you aren’t eligible for the Survivor Benefit, TCDRS will pay your account balance, including deposits and interest, to your beneficiaries. See Naming a Beneficiary for details on beneficiary selection.

WATCH: On the Road to Retirement: Survivor Benefit

If you become disabled, you may be eligible for a disability retirement benefit. This benefit allows you to retire early with a lifetime monthly benefit.

Eligibility for Disability

If you are vested, you are eligible for disability retirement if:

  • You are permanently disabled and
  • You are unable to work at any gainful occupation

To find out if you are vested, sign in to your account. If you are not vested, you may be eligible for disability retirement if the permanent disability is due to a job-related injury.

How to Apply

To qualify for disability retirement, you must prove you are physically or mentally incapacitated for any gainful employment. In other words, you'll need to prove you are unable to work in any job — not just your current job — and that the disability is permanent.

You need to complete a Disability Retirement Application (TCDRS-31) and submit it along with other required documents and medical records. Your physician(s) will be required to complete a statement, too. You can find all the forms you need on the Forms page.

Your application will be reviewed for eligibility; this process may take up to eight weeks. Our Medical Board may require subsequent medical examinations after approval.

If you are already eligible for retirement, we will process your benefit as a regular service retirement. This allows you to start receiving your lifetime monthly benefit more quickly and the benefit will be exactly the same as if you had applied for disability retirement.

It is also important to speak to your employer about any other requirements or benefits they may offer. For more information about disability retirement and to discuss your options, call Member Services at 800-823-7782.

Group Term Life is an optional insurance program that almost half of TCDRS employers offer to their employees. To find out if your employer participates in this program, talk to your human resources department or sign in to your TCDRS account online.

Under this program, your beneficiary will receive a one-time payment of your yearly salary or wages if you happen to pass away while you're still employed. Some employers also provide Group Term Life coverage for retirees. Retiree coverage provides your beneficiary a $5,000 life insurance benefit.

Regular Coverage

This benefit covers you as long as you're making deposits into your TCDRS account. It provides your beneficiary with a one-time payment equal to your annual salary or wages. Your beneficiary may also choose to send the money directly to a funeral home, hospital or other organization to help pay for expenses.

Extended Coverage

The Group Term Life program also provides you with extended coverage if you're unable to work. However, it applies only if you pass away within two years of your last TCDRS deposit. Under extended coverage, your beneficiary will get a one-time payment of your last annual salary or wages. To claim the benefit, your beneficiary must prove that you were unable to work due to illness or injury. They could also make a claim if you were on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Taxes on Premiums

Your employer pays the premiums for this program, and under federal tax law, the premiums are considered a type of income for you.

  • If you make less than $50,000 annually, your premiums are tax-free.
  • If you make more than $50,000 annually, you are required to pay taxes on some of your coverage. Your employer puts this amount on your W-2, so you can report it when you file your income tax return.

Any beneficiaries you name for this program will not have to pay income taxes on the money from this coverage.

Naming a Group Term Life Beneficiary

To name a beneficiary, sign in online or complete the Group Term Life Beneficiary Designation (TCDRS-51) form and return it to TCDRS. You may name the same beneficiary as you've designated for your TCDRS account, or you may designate another person. You can change your beneficiary at any time.

If we don't have a beneficiary for you on file at the time of your passing, we'll make the payment to the beneficiaries on your TCDRS account.


TCDRS not affiliated with promotional email campaign

An email campaign has been targeting TCDRS members to possibly promote retirement planning services. This company is not affiliated with TCDRS.  TCDRS did not authorize these communications nor share your contact informatio...

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You CAN Do That Online

Whether a member or retiree, there are many things you can do when you sign in at .  If you haven’t yet registered online, it’s quick and easy. Visit  and click “Register” on th...

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