TRS has begun to contact about 40,000 members who owe pension contributions on some past earnings. In this situation, known as a "deficit," TRS calculates the amount due and sends members a letter with payment options. Deficit letters will be mailed through late April.
For many of these members, pension contributions are owed on the first lump-sum payment made under the recent United Federation of Teachers contract. (These payments, made in October 2015 or later, represented back pay due under the contract. Now that we have all necessary data from the employer, TRS needs to collect required contributions on any contract-related back pay. If you were making pension contributions during the period that the back pay represents, then you will have a "deficit" now.)
Members who are in the Age 55 Retirement Program may receive two separate deficit letters--one for their basic pension contributions, and then one for the Additional Member Contributions required under the Age 55 Retirement Program.
Although these letters do not explicitly state the reason for a deficit (e.g., the October 2015 payment, for some), they do indicate the pay periods for which the contributions are owed.
The letters also explain the available payment options:
Deficits of $50 or less will be automatically deducted from the member’s pay (before taxes).
Deficits over $50 may be paid by check within approximately 30 days.
Deficits over $50 may be paid through deductions from the member’s pay (before taxes) over multiple pay periods. Payment plans will begin automatically unless the member submits a timely payment or response to the deficit letter.
Not all payment options are available in all cases, so please read your deficit letter to see which options apply to you.
Members of the UFT are reminded that, under the recent contract, additional lump-sum payments are scheduled for October 2017, October 2018, October 2019, and October 2020. After each of those payments, TRS will again contact members who have deficits in pension contributions as a result.