Active MembersRetirees & BeneficiariesEmployersGeneral Information

TRS Glossary


Accumulated Contributions

The total amount of member contributions, voluntary payments for purchase of special service credit (not including fees), and all interest attributable to an individual member. This includes TRS retirement plan contributions deducted from the member’s compensation, other amounts that must be placed in the member’s individual account such as payment for special service credit, and interest credited to the account.

Active Contributing Member

A member who is currently working for a TRS-covered employer and is contributing to the TRS retirement plan.

Active Non-Contributing Member

A member who fits into one of the two following categories: (1) has at least five years of service credit and is not currently employed in a TRS-covered position, or (2) has less than five years of service credit, is not currently employed in a TRS-covered position, and has been absent from TRS service for less than five years.


A distribution by TRS in accordance with the plan requirements. The types of benefits payable are service retirement benefits (including Deferred Retirement Option Plan (Drop) and Partial Lump-Sum Option (PLSO) payments), optional annuity payments continuing to a beneficiary, disability retirement benefits, death and survivor benefits, and a return of accumulated contributions.

Creditable Compensation

Salary and wages paid or payable to a member for service rendered during a school year and creditable for TRS purposes.

Employer Pension and Health Benefit Surcharges

A required amount paid monthly by employers to the pension fund (pension surcharge) for each retiree working in a TRS-covered position and reported to TRS. Also, the employer must pay a health benefit surcharge for each retiree enrolled in TRS-Care and working in a TRS-covered position. Under state law, the surcharges are not required for a retiree who (1) retired before September 1, 2005, (2) works only as a substitute (serves on a temporary basis in the place of a current employee), or (3) works in a position that does not meet TRS membership eligibility requirements for active members.

Inactive Member

A person who has less than five years of service credit and ceased employment more than five years ago in a TRS-covered position.


A person regularly employed at least half time in an eligible position in public education in Texas expected to last for a period of 4½ months or more and who is paid at a rate comparable to that of other persons employed in similar positions. Does not include a retiree or a person who is participating in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) instead of TRS.

Public School

An educational institution or organization in Texas that is entitled by law to be supported in whole or in part by state, county, school district, or other municipal corporation funds. Also, this term is commonly used to distinguish elementary and secondary educational organizations from higher education institutions. The term may also mean any employer whose employees are eligible for TRS membership. The context of the term and definitions in state law may determine whether it is used in its broadest meaning or its narrower meaning.


Terminating service with a TRS-covered employer with a retirement benefit granted under law, following application for retirement.

Retirement Date

The earliest effective date of retirement may either be the last day of the month in which the application is received or the last day of either of the two previous months, provided the employee has terminated employment.

Retirement Plan

The TRS defined benefit retirement plan established by state law and administered under those laws and the rules of the TRS Board of Trustees. The plan provides service and disability retirement benefits and death and survivor benefits funded by the TRS pension trust fund. The retirement plan does not include group health benefit plans such as TRS-Care or TRS-ActiveCare.

School Year

For members, a 12-month period beginning approximately September 1 and ending approximately August 31 of the next calendar year or, for a member whose employment contract or oral or written work agreement begins after June 30 and continues after August 31 of the same calendar year, a period not to include more than 12 months beginning on the date the contract or work agreement begins. For retirees, the school year begins September 1 and ends August 31 of the next calendar year.


The time a person is an employee in a position eligible for TRS membership. The amount of service required to establish a year of membership service credit is established by TRS rules.

Service Credit

The amount of membership or special service credited to a member in the retirement system. It is used to determine eligibility for, and calculation of, TRS benefits. Service credit in TRS is expressed in whole years.


A person who serves on a temporary basis in the place of a current employee and whose pay does not exceed the rate of pay for substitutes established by the employer. Does not include service in a vacant position.

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