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COVID-19
TRS Operations During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic 

May 15, 2020

CARES Act Loans

Qualified members may now apply online for a QPP or TDA loan under the CARES Act Provisions. The available loan amounts are higher through these CARES Act loans (generally, up to the lesser of $100,000 or 75% of available account balances) than through the standard QPP or TDA loans. Separate CARES Act loan applications are available for members who log in to our website.

CARES Act FAQs

Answers to many questions about the CARES Act provisions are available on our FAQs page. Topics include TDA withdrawals under the CARES Act, loans under the CARES Act, deferral of loan payments, and the suspension of TDA Required Minimum Distributions for 2020.

May 5, 2020

Loan Payment Deferral

Members who certify that they meet criteria established by the CARES Act may defer payments on any QPP or TDA loan for 12 months. Interest will continue to accrue during the period, and the term of the loan will increase by 12 months. Qualified members must apply for the payment deferral on our E-Forms page after logging in with their username and password. Additional information about deferral of loan payments is available here.

Members who are paid on the Department of Education payroll have limited time to make this election before their summer paychecks are cut. If you want to have your loan payment deductions stopped before your summer paychecks, please file as soon as possible this week. Payroll changes (such as stopping loan payment deductions) that are requested in early May can generally be implemented before the summer paychecks are cut, but changes requested later cannot be implemented until the first payroll in September or later.

May 1, 2020

CARES Act Provisions
  • Qualified members may now apply online for a TDA withdrawal under the provisions of the CARES Act. After logging in to the secure section of the website, members can use the Withdraw Funds option on their TDA page. Please note that the TDA Withdrawal Application (code TD32)—both the PDF and e-form versions—cannot be used for CARES Act distributions.

    Under the CARES Act, qualified members may receive TDA distributions of up to $100,000 with no early withdrawal penalty. These distributions are not rollover-eligible and are taxable as ordinary income, reportable over a period of up to three years. These distributions may also be paid back to the member's TDA account or to another eligible plan within three years. In total, a member may not receive more than $100,000 in CARES Act-related distributions from all City-sponsored plans. For more information, please contact your tax advisor.

    As part of the withdrawal application, qualified members must certify that they a) have been diagnosed with COVID-19, b) have a spouse or dependent who was diagnosed with COVID-19, or c) were financially harmed by COVID-19 due to quarantine, furlough, layoff, reduction in work hours, inability to work due to lack of child care, or closure/reduction of hours of their own business.
  • Qualified members will be able to apply for loans online under the provisions of the CARES Act in the second half of May. We will publish more information in a future update.
Mail Delivery to TRS
When sending mail to TRS, members are advised not to use certified mail or other methods that require a signature. Because our offices are closed, there is no one onsite to sign and receive the mail. However, we are receiving and processing regular mail as normal.
Correspondence from TRS
Members can view correspondence from TRS in the secure section of our website on the Documents page. Correspondence sent since April 1, 2020 is posted online, and TRS has begun sending emails to members to notify them about new correspondence.
Payment of Loans and Withdrawals
TRS is not issuing loans and withdrawals by check at this time. Loans and withdrawals will be paid to members by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) to the bank account on file. Members whose bank account information is not already on file must submit an EFT Authorization Form e-form and supporting documentation along with their loan/withdrawal application. If TRS does not receive this information within five business days, the loan/withdrawal application will be canceled.

April 17, 2020

The CARES Act provides easier access to retirement funds for those who are in financial need due to the pandemic and meet qualifying criteria (specified below). TRS will introduce the following CARES Act provisions over the next several weeks:

  • Qualified members will be able to apply online for a special CARES Act TDA distribution of up to $100,000. No early withdrawal penalty will apply. Recipients will have the option of spreading the distribution over three years on their tax returns, and of repaying the distribution to their TDA accounts.

  • Qualified members will be able to apply for a CARES Act loan under both TRS plans, the Qualified Pension Plan and the TDA Program. The available loan amounts will be higher through these CARES Act loans (generally, up to the lesser of $100,000 or 75% of available account balances) than through the standard QPP or TDA loans. Separate CARES Act loan applications will be available on our website.

  • Qualified members will be able to defer making loan payments for a 12-month period on both new loans and existing loans. (Interest will accrue during this period.) This option will be built in to the new CARES Act loan applications, and special forms will be available to members who want to pause their current loan payment schedule for 12 months.

We will announce the availability date for each feature in a future update. All of these provisions are temporary, and they will be available to members who certify that they meet the criteria established by the CARES Act—specifically that they a) have been diagnosed with COVID-19, b) have a spouse or dependent who was diagnosed with COVID-19, or c) were financially harmed by COVID-19 due to quarantine, furlough, layoff, reduction in work hours, inability to work due to lack of child care, or closure/reduction of hours of their own business.

The CARES Act has also suspended Required Minimum Distributions for 2020 for defined-contribution plans like TRS' TDA Program. RMDs would normally be paid to certain retired members with TDA accounts and TDA Beneficiary (TDAB) members, but no distribution will be required in 2020. By early May, TRS will contact affected members by letter to explain the suspension and to communicate the amount that they would have been required to receive as an RMD; that amount is not eligible for direct rollover in 2020.

April 9, 2020

  • The CARES Act contains various provisions for qualified individuals who may need access to retirement funds due to the current pandemic. Among these is a special "coronavirus-related distribution" that will be available to TRS members from their TDA account. In addition, loan limits will be temporarily increased for members who meet certain criteria. TRS is working on making the additional distribution and loan options available to members later in April, and we will post more specific information here next week.

  • Our disability retirement applications are available for download on our Forms page. Members who are considering filing for disability retirement should contact our Member Services Center with any questions.

April 2, 2020

  • On March 27, 2020, the CARES Act, a federal coronavirus relief law, was enacted. Among other things, the CARES Act temporarily eases restrictions on retirement plan loans and in-service distributions related to the coronavirus. It also suspends certain upcoming required minimum distributions. TRS is reviewing the CARES Act and will publish details about the provisions and our implementation when available. However, at this time, our Member Services Representatives do not have additional information.

  • Members should not mail forms or payments to TRS because staff are not onsite to process mail. Instead, members should use online options whenever possible, or submit forms by e-fax at (212) 918-9253 instead of by mail.

  • All loans and withdrawals will be paid to members by electronic deposit to a bank account; TRS will not issue checks for loans or withdrawals. If you want to take a loan or withdrawal, your bank account information must be on file with TRS. For in-service members paid on the Department of Education payroll, and retirees paid electronically, the bank information is already on file. Other members can provide their bank account information to a Member Services Representative by phone.

  • Members who want to retire should file online. After logging in with your username and password, look for a fillable "e-form" retirement application on the secure E-Forms page. Please use Internet Explorer as your browser to complete the e-form. After we receive your submission, a Member Services Representative will contact you by phone to review your filing. Currently, the service retirement applications for all tiers are available as e-forms, but over the next several days we will be adding other forms typically filed at the time of retirement. Check our Electronic Forms page frequently for updates.

March 23, 2020

As a result of the Governor's order directing non-essential workers to work from home, please note the following changes in TRS operations:

  • Our Member Services Center will remain closed to visitors until further notice.
  • All new loans and withdrawals will be paid electronically. We will not be able to issue loans or withdrawals by check.
    • Members can apply for loans and withdrawals online in the secure section of our website. As part of the online application process, members will be able to see the bank information TRS has on file for them. If no bank information is shown, members should complete the application and either a) provide the information to a Member Services Representative by phone or b) enter it directly into the website. These options will become available later in the week and will be announced on this page.
  • Rollover checks (payments issued to another financial institution as part a rollover of funds) and other payments made by check will continue to be made, but only on a monthly basis.
    • Members who want to roll over funds from TRS are advised to make a withdrawal request for any funds they want to receive directly and a separate rollover request for funds they want to direct elsewhere. (In other words, two transactions are needed: a 100% direct withdrawal and a 100% direct rollover.)
  • Members are encouraged to avoid mailing in forms or payments to TRS. Because staff will not be onsite regularly to process received mail, there may be delays in processing mailed forms or payments. We encourage all members to use online alternatives in the secure section of our website.
  • Onsite educational programs have been suspended until further notice. Members who have registered for upcoming programs will be contacted by email and provided with online alternatives to the in-house presentations.

TRS' most critical functions will continue. Payments for March will be issued on schedule to retirees and others who receive monthly benefits. Members will still be able to use our website for self-service transactions and reach a Member Services Representative by phone during our regular business hours. Additional online transactions—including an electronic retirement application—will become available in the near future and will be announced on this page.

March 13, 2020

For the safety of our members and our staff, TRS has decided to close our Member Services Center to visitors for at least two weeks beginning Monday, March 16. We will monitor the situation over the next two weeks and evaluate the possibility of reopening on Monday, March 30.

Although members will not be able to visit TRS during this time, all other member services will be available:

  • Our website is available 24/7, and members with a username and password can do their business with TRS online.
  • Any forms or paperwork can be submitted by mail.
  • Member Services Representatives will be available to answer calls from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Please refer to NYC Health for information and instructions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

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