COVID-19: TRSL Information and Resources
Last updated 5/28/2021

TRSL counseling appointments:
Appointments for virtual and office counseling are full for June and July. We are now booking appointments starting in August. To schedule a virtual or office counseling appointment email or call us. 
  • Email: appointments@trsl.org
  • Phone: 225-925-6446, ext. 1446
  • Toll-free (outside Baton Rouge area): 1-877-275-8775, ext. 1446
IMPORTANT: Members who visit the TRSL office without an appointment may experience extremely long wait times to speak with a counselor. There is no guarantee a counselor will be available to meet with a member who has not previously made an appointment, especially if arriving late in the work day.
Member Access saves you time and gas
Members can use the self-service features in Member Access to handle their TRSL business and get answers about their retirement.
 
Active members can do the following:
  • Get a benefit estimate
  • Apply for retirement
  • Update name/address/email
  • View annual member statement (with first eligibility dates for retirement/DROP)
Retired members can do the following:
  • View benefit history
  • View and print 1099-R tax documents
  • Change federal income tax withholding

Document drop off
You can drop off documents at the TRSL office. But...don’t forget! Documents can be submitted to us through normal delivery methods, including mail, email, or fax. Please note that TRSL requires originals (not copies) of some TRSL forms. If an original is required, it will be noted at the top of the form.
 
Other useful information
 School year and service credit:
Many employers pushed back the start of the 2020-21 school year due to COVID-19. Regardless of when your school year begins (or ends), if you receive your full annual salary, you will earn a full year of service credit for the school year. Generally, TRSL service credit is calculated for full-time employees based your salary, specifically what you are to receive if you complete the full teaching year compared to the salary you actually received. For example, if you are in a teaching position whose pay is $45,000 for a full year and you work the full year and earn $45,000, you will receive a full year of service credit.  
Borrowing from your retirement (hardship loans):
Under state law, loans or in-service distributions from your retirement account are not permitted. TRSL is a qualified governmental retirement plan that does not have provisions by which members can borrow/take a loan or any other distribution from their retirement accounts at any time prior to the member’s termination from employment.  
Refund of member contributions:
Members who have terminated employment in all positions eligible for TRSL membership can request a refund  of their member contributions by completing an Application for Refund (Form 7). Members who submit Form 7 should also know that there is a 90-day waiting period (from termination date)  for payment of the refund. Upon refunding your member contributions, membership in TRSL and all service credit is canceled. Once TRSL receives all refund paperwork, it is typically processed within two weeks. Refunds are issued twice a month on the 5th and the 20th. Additionally, there are certain tax implications associated with refunds. More information is available in our brochures, Taking a Refund of Your Contributions and Special Tax Notice Regarding TRSL Payments.  Also, please see CARES Act provisions (below) governing refund taxation for TRSL Regular Plan, Plan A, and Plan B (defined-benefit plan).
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 

NOTE: The CARES Act of 2020 expired December 31, 2020; therefore provisions in this law meant to allow access to funds in certain defined-benefit and defined-contribution plans are no longer available.
 
Retirement-related changes within the CARES Act 

In general, the CARES Act provides additional flexibility to access and manage certain types of defined-contribution accounts. It also provides certain tax relief for distributions which are currently authorized by a defined-benefit or defined-contribution plan. Otherwise, the CARES Act does not include changes affecting TRSL's defined-benefit pension plans.

NOTE: Required minimum distributions (RMDs) for TRSL DROP accounts, as recently changed by the SECURE Act of 2019, are unaffected by the CARES Act. 

CARES Act provisions may impact TRSL members who have supplemental plans such as a 403(b) plan offered by their employer or a 457 plan, like the Louisiana Public Deferred Compensation Plan. We encourage members to contact their supplemental plan vendors for additional information regarding those accounts and options that may be available.
TRSL Regular Plan, Plan A, and Plan B (defined-benefit plan)

Refunds and certain DROP distributions: TRSL members who have terminated employment in all positions eligible for TRSL membership and who are requesting a refund of member contributions or TRSL DROP/ILSB retirees receiving certain distributions may have their distribution qualify as a special “coronavirus-related distribution” due to COVID-19, if applicable. In this case, the CARES Act waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty tax for distributions of up to $100,000 per year from retirement plans if the distribution meets one of the following conditions:
  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Your spouse or dependent has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You have experienced adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid-off, reduced work hours, inability to work due to lack of child care because of COVID-19, the closing or reducing hours of a business owned or operated by the individual due to COVID-19, or other factors, as determined by the US Treasury Secretary.
This applies to eligible refunds or DROP withdrawals (single sum and partial-single sum only) made on or after January 1, 2020 and before December 31, 2020. This “coronavirus related distribution” is not subject to the 20% mandatory federal tax withholding; however, it is taxable. Tax on the income from this distribution can be paid ratably over a three-year period.

NOTE: A refund of member contributions can only be issued after a 90-day waiting period that begins on the date of termination from TRSL-covered employment.
Optional Retirement Plan-ORP (defined-contribution plan)

2020 Required Minimum Distribution Waiver: Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are required by the IRS for retirees over age 70½ or 72. These members must withdraw a certain amount from their ORP account each year. The CARES Act waives this requirement for 2020 for defined-contribution plans like the ORP. For additional information, ORP participants should contact their provider. Distribution after Termination from Employment: ORP participants receiving certain distributions after termination from employment may have their distribution qualify as a special “coronavirus-related distribution” due to COVID-19, for early withdrawal penalty waiver and tax withholding purposes, as applicable. For additional information, ORP participants should contact their provider.

Tax-Favored Withdrawals from Retirement Plans: CARES Act provisions regarding early withdrawals and loans from retirement accounts do not authorize TRSL to allow early withdrawals or loans from ORP accounts. While the CARES Act provides additional flexibility to access and manage certain types of defined-contribution accounts, the applicability of these CARES Act options is dependent upon the provisions within the particular defined-contribution plan. State law governs distribution options available for ORP participants. In order for these CARES Act provisions to apply, the plan document (in this case, state law) must authorize/permit such a withdrawal. State law currently does not permit a hardship withdrawal or loan. TRSL and its ORP providers cannot authorize such a withdrawal or loan.  
  
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