Retirement

Thinking about Retirement? 
ANNUAL INFORMATIONAL RETIREMENT PRESENTATION


View the January 2022 Retirement Meeting.


POST RETIREMENT 

Employees retiring directly from active service with Hamilton County Department of Education and not entitled to Medicare by reason of age or disability may be eligible to continue medical health coverage with payment of the appropriate premiums.  

At age 65, retirees and/or dependent spouses currently on our health plan will transition to Medicare on the first day of the month of your birthday month.  If your birthday is on the 1st of the month you will go to Medicare the month prior on the 1st of the month.  

The age and service time requirement to qualify is detailed in the attached documents.

Please contact Christy Thurman at (423) 498-7067 if you have questions regarding  TCRS retirement.

Please contact Lori Heffington at (423) 498-7086 if you have questions regarding retiree insurance benefits or transitioning to Medicare. 

Please contact TCRS at 1-800-922-7772 if you have questions regarding your service time with TCRS.

Post Retirement Benefits Information


Retiree Cost - Classified and Certified Employees (Dental and EyeMed)

Retiree Cost - Classified and Certified Employees (Blue Cross Blue Shield)


Retiree Cost - Classified and Certified Employees (CIGNA)

Retiree Cost - Classified and Certified Employees (High Deductible Plan)

TCRS Benefit Information

TCRS Retirement Application


Retirement Frequently Asked Questions

What are the steps to begin my retirement process? 

  • Send a letter of intent to retire to your supervisor and HR director. Your letter of intent should include your last date of employment. 
  • Complete the online TCRS application within 90 days of your retirement date to ensure your retirement compensation is in affect upon retirement. (You can opt to draw your retirement now or later.)

Who is my contact at HCS for retirement and for benefits?

How do I view my retirement calculations?

  • Go to mytcrs.tn.gov and create an account to view your benefits estimate or contact TCRS at 1-800-922-7772 and request a benefit estimate be sent via mail.

How do I purchase retirement years? 

  • Contact TCRS in order to request an application to purchase years where contributions were not paid while working with any TN entity. 

What happens to my sick time and vacation time at retirement? 

  • If you turn in your intent to retire by February 1st and work your full contract year, you will receive $40.00 per day for your sick days. 
  • If you retire within the school year or turn in your intent to retire after February 1st, you will receive $20.00 per day for your sick days. 
  • You will also receive service credit toward TCRS for the number of sick days that you have remaining at retirement. (20 sick days are equal to 1 month of service credit.) 
  • You will receive full payment for the vacation days you have accrued. 
  • If your vacation days and/or sick days add up to more than $20,000, you will must roll the funds into a 403b account. You will need to email the payroll supervisor, Melissa Holloway.

How will my FSA work?

You may elect COBRA to keep your annual elected benefit. If COBRA is not elected, the following will apply:

School-Based Employees:

  1. If you are a school based (10 month) employee and you complete the contract year, your FSA card will end on August 31st.
  2. If you retire within the school year, the FSA card will end on the last day of the month in which you retire.
  • 260 Day Employees: 
  1. If you are a year round employee and complete the contract year, your FSA card will end June 30th.
  2. If you retire within the school year, the FSA card will end on the last day of the month in which you retire.

What day do I declare as my retirement date? 

  • The date of your retirement is the day after the last paid date of employment. Your TCRS retirement date will be the day after your last day of employment.
Examples
  • If you are a teacher and choose to work through the end of your contract, your last date of employment would be 5/26/2022 and your TCRS retirement date would be 5/27/2022.
  • If you are a 260 day employee and choose to work through the end of your contract, your last date of employment would be 6/24/2022 and your TCRS retirement date would be 6/25/2022. 

Does HCS match money put into my retirement account? 

  • Please visit our website at www.hcde.org/retirement in order to view your plan options based on being Legacy or Hybrid. 
  • Legacy Plan - Certified Employees:  HCS contributes 10.3%
  • Legacy Plan - Classified Employees: HCS contributes 14.7%
  • Hybrid Plan - Certified & Classified Employees: HCS contributes 9%

Can I add more money to my 401K? If so, how do I do that? 

  • Yes, you may adjust the amount you contribute to your 401K by contacting Empower at 800-922-7772 or retirereadytn.empower-retirement.com.

Can I keep my medical insurance after retirement?

  • Yes, you may keep your medical insurance if you are under 65 years of age and not Medicare eligible.  To be eligible for coverage you must be 55 years of age or have 30 years of HCDE service and meet the retirement requirements.
  • Dependents may be eligible for insurance coverage if they were on your plan prior to retirement. Adult dependents are eligible until age 65 and not Medicare eligible and minor dependents are eligible until age 26. Dependents cannot be added at retirement.
  • Rates are based on age or years of service and can be found on our website at https://www.hcde.org/staff/benefits/retirement_benefits. 
  • If you are a school-based employee, your insurance will end on August 31st and your retirement insurance will begin on September 1st. 
  • If you are a 12 month employee, your insurance will end on June 30th and your retirement insurance will begin on July 1st. 
  • If you retire within the school year, your insurance will end the last day of the month you retire and your retirement insurance will begin on the first day of the next month. 

Do I need to complete a Spousal Coverage Affidavit if my spouse continues coverage after I retire? 

  • Yes, you must complete Spousal Coverage Affidavit every year at open enrollment while your spouse is covered.  

Can I keep my dental and vision insurance after retirement? 

  • Dental and vision insurance are available to you and any dependents currently on the plan for 18 months through COBRA.
  • The State of Tennessee offers dental plans to retired state employees after your 18 months of coverage is exhausted. To enroll, call 1-800-253-9981.

When do I have to go to Medicare coverage?  

  • If you retire prior to turning 65, you will transition to Medicare on the first day of your birthday month in which you turn 65.  The same rule applies to a spouse who is covered on your retiree health plan.  If the retiree turns 65 before the spouse, the spouse can remain on our retiree health coverage until the spouse turns 65.  If retiree/retiree dependent birthday is on the 1st of a month, you will transition to Medicare the month prior on the 1st of the month. 
  • If you are 65 or older at retirement, you will be under Medicare coverage.
    School-based employees who complete their contract will go to Medicare on September 1st. 
    12 month employees who complete their contract will go to Medicare on July 1st. 
    Employees who retire within the year will go to Medicare on the first of the month after the month in which you retire. 
  • If you need the CMS L564 form to prove you have had continued medical coverage, contact Lori Heffington at [email protected]
  • You will need to sign up for Medicare part B, Medicare part B supplement and a Medicare part D drug plan.

Does Hamilton County offer Medicare part B supplements? 

  • No, but the State of Tennessee offers a supplement to retired state employees. You can contact benefit administration at 1-800-253-9981.

How do I sign up and pay for my retiree insurance? 

  • The benefits department will email you a Docusign link to enroll in retiree benefits once notified of your retirement. 
  • Retirees will receive a quarterly invoice statement in the US mail.  We accept check or money order. 
  • Payments should be made to:
     Hamilton County Schools
    Attn: Benefits department 
    3074 Hickory Valley Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421
  • If you have online banking, you can set up the payment to automatically draft from your checking account using your employee ID number as your account number. These payments can be made to the same address above. 
  • Questions about retiree billing, please contact Lori Heffington at [email protected]

Can I work after retirement for Hamilton County Schools? 

  • Yes, you may work part time for up to 120 days or 900 hours and maintain your TCRS benefits. There is a 60-day waiting period after your last date of employment. This time includes the summer months for school-based employees. A TCRS Temporary Employment Report must be completed by the retiree and HCS. 
  • Under special circumstances, you may work full time while maintaining your TCRS benefits. Please contact Christy Thurman at [email protected] A TCRS Temporary Employment Report must be completed by the retiree and HCS. 
  • Visit https://treasury.tn.gov/Retirement/Retire-Ready-Tennessee/for-Retirees to learn more about retirees returning to work. 

Can I be a substitute teacher after retirement?

  • Yes, you will need to contact ESS at jobs.willsubplus.com/jobs.
  • ESS does not participate in TCRS, so days/hours worked are not limited by HCS or TCRS. ESS may set their own limitations.  

When will I get my last paycheck and salary payout? 

  • You should expect your final paycheck two weeks after your last day worked. This will include any biweekly payments from the summer due to expanded pay. 
  • If you are due a payout for accumulated leave, you should expect it a few weeks after your final paycheck. 

When am I vested in the retirement plan?

  • You are vested when you have 5 years of service credit with TCRS.
  • Vesting=100% ownership of the retirement plan, you even own the district's contribution into your account 

Can I withdraw funds from TCRS if I leave the school district before I am vested with TCRS?

  • Contact TCRS for an application to cash out contributions. 
  • If you cash out your contributions and return to the district, you would be re-enrolled as a new member of the TCRS system.