FAQs


Q.


What is the investment return?

A.

The annual rate of return of 2013 was 14.0%.

Q. Can I get a refund of my contributions?
A.

If you left teaching before May 31, 2010 and have less than three years of qualifying service, you can get a refund of your contributions.

If you leave teaching on or after May 31, 2010, your contributions are locked in and "vested".

Q. What does "vested" mean?
A.

You are entitled to the full value of your accrued pension in accordance with the pension formula. This value is greater than your contributions alone.

Q. Can I transfer my contributions to or from another province?
A.

Yes, we have Reciprocal Transfer Agreements with all provinces and certain Manitoba public sector employers.

Q. Is TRAF part of The Manitoba Teachers' Society (MTS)?
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A.

No. TRAF is a separate organization from MTS.

Q Can TRAF change the legislation?
A.

TRAF administers your pension plan according to The Teachers' Pensions Act which sets out the plan's terms and conditions. The Government of Manitoba is the only body that can change The Act.

Q. Do I designate a beneficiary?
A.

Yes, you should submit a beneficiary designation to TRAF so that your file is up-to-date. If you are married or common-law, your beneficiary is your spouse or partner.

Q. Do I have to contribute to TRAF?
A.

Contributions to TRAF are mandatory for all full-time, part-time, term and in some cases, substitute teachers. Your contributions to TRAF start the day you begin teaching under contract.

Q. What is the earliest age that I can collect my pension?
A.

Providing you meet the eligibility requirements, the earliest you can collect your TRAF pension is age 55.

Q. What deductions will be taken from my pension payment?
A.

Income tax will be deducted from your payment each month. A variety of other deductions may be made from your pension payment depending on what options you choose when you retire.

Deductions may be taken for Manulife, Johnson Group and the Retired Teachers' Association of Manitoba, depending on which benefits you selected at retirement.

Q. Can I continue Extended Healthcare coverage after retirement?
A.

Yes, you have the option to continue healthcare coverage depending on your current status with your school division.

Contact The Manitoba Teachers' Society (MTS) to determine if you are eligible for the subsidized rate or non-subsidized rate for Extended Healthcare coverage under Manitoba Blue Cross. Once you retire, premiums will be made through pre-authorized debit.

Employees of the Winnipeg School Division should contact the Winnipeg Teachers' Association (WTA) to determine eligibility.

Premiums for Manulife and Johnson Group may be deducted from the TRAF pension.

As a member of the Retired Teachers' Association of Manitoba (RTAM), you may also continue healthcare coverage through Johnson Group.

Q. What is the best plan type for me?
A.

This is one of the most critical retirement decisions you will make. The plan type you select should be based on your specific situation. Talk to a TRAF Member Service Specialist who can provide you with the information needed to make an educated retirement decision.

You should consider your lifestyle, other income, expenses and the health of you and your partner when making this decision.

Q. Can I change my plan type after I retire?
A.

Once you have received your first payment, you cannot change your plan type. This is why TRAF stresses the importance of considering your options before making this decision.

Q. What do I need to apply for my pension?
A.

You will need the Pension Application, the original or notarized copy of your birth certificate, baptismal or citizenship certificate (and your partners' birth certificate, if applicable), banking instructions, and TD1 forms.

If you are registered for Online Services, you have the option to complete the Pension Application online up to one year in advance. Applying online prevents delays and ensures the process goes smoothly. Alternatively, you can complete the form you will receive along with your pension estimate if you are retiring within eighteen months.

Q. Do I need to meet with a Member Service Specialist before I retire?
 

You will need to make many important decisions before you receive your TRAF pension. We suggest that if you are considering retirement you should meet with a Member Service Specialist to ensure that you understand the choices you have made.

It is also a good idea to meet with a financial advisor.

Q. At what age am I eligible to start collecting pension?
A.

You must be at least age 55 before you are eligible to collect your TRAF pension.

If you terminated your contract before May 31, 2010, you must have at least 10 years of service. If you have less than 10 years, you can start collecting your pension at age 65.

If you terminated your contract after May 30, 2010, you can start your pension as early as age 55 with any length of service.

In either case, you must terminate your contract with the school division.

Q. Can I go back to work after I retire?
A.

Yes, you can. For details see Working After Retirement.

Q. What is the rule of 80?
A.

To avoid an Early Retirement Penalty, your age and qualifying service must equal at least 80 or you must be 60 years of age.

If you are subject to an Early Retirement Penalty, a bridging benefit will be paid until age 65 or death to offset this reduction.

Q. Will I receive a COLA (cost of living adjustment)?
A.

A separate account, called the Pension Adjustment Account (PAA), has been set up to pay for the cost of living adjustments. A portion of active teachers' contributions go into this account. If there are sufficient funds in the PAA, you will receive a COLA equal to 2/3 of the Consumer Price Index increase in Canada for the previous calendar year, to a maximum of 5.33%.

If there are not sufficient funds in the PAA, the COLA granted will be reduced to the amount the account can support.

This arrangement is in place until 2017. After that date the COLA will be based on the lesser of the change in CPI for the previous year or the amount the PAA can afford.

Our actuary has projected future COLAs to be in the range of 0.5 to 1.0% with a long-term average of approximately 0.8%.

Cost of living adjustments are paid in July of each year. The first year's adjustment is pro-rated.

Your beneficiary will receive 2/3 of the COLA regardless of the plan chosen - both the cumulative COLA (from start of pension) to date, as well as future COLA.

Q. Will my pension be affected if I decide to move out of Canada?
A.

No. You can receive your TRAF pension anywhere in the world. If you take up residency in another country you will be subject to income tax applicable for that country.

Q. Is it true that after contributing to TRAF for 35 years of service I will not earn any further pension benefits?
A.

No. You will continue to earn pension benefits for your additional service. The average member has to teach well over 40 years before reaching the maximum pension benefit which is 70% of their average salary.

Q. If I disagree with a decision TRAF has made, can I appeal it?
A.

TRAF has a Member Appeal Policy which outlines a process to follow should you wish to appeal certain decisions.

 

TRAF offre une politique d'appel à ses membres qui explique le processus à suivre dans l'éventualité où un membre voudrait en appeler de certaines décisions.

 

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