Teachers' Retirement System



The Montana Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) serves active and retired teachers and educators in the State of Montana.  As a Montana University System (MUS) faculty member, if you are hired into a position that was previously covered by TRS and are currently an active, inactive or retired member of TRS, you may have a choice to remain in your current retirement plan or transfer to the Montana University System Retirement Program (MUS-RP).  Written election to move to the MUS-RP must be done within 30 days of becoming eligible to participate.  MUS employees not already members of TRS, or that are members of TRS but are hired into a position that was not previously covered by TRS, will become members of the MUS-RP *.  For more information please visit the TRS website.


TRS is a defined benefit plan only available to MUS employees that are active, inactive or retired TRS members working in a TRS covered position. 

Employee and Employer Contribution

Montana statute specifies how much you and your employer contribute to the plan.  By law, you cannot make additional payroll contributions more than the amount defined in the statute.

Member contributions are calculated based on your gross compensation, before any pretax deductions.  This means your contributions are made on a pretax basis and grow tax deferred until you withdraw the funds.  At that time, you pay taxes on the amount you withdraw. 

Total contributions to TRS are 19.00%

  • 8.15% Employee
  • 10.85% Employer

You are vested when you complete five years of membership service which means you are guaranteed a retirement benefit when you meet the age and membership service requirements.  Being vested in the TRS means you have a right to a benefit.

How to Enroll

TRS enrollment is not available to MUS employees.  If you are an active, inactive or retired member of TRS you may have a choice to remain in your current retirement system or become a member of the MUS-RP.   Written election to move to the MUS-RP must be done within 30 days of becoming eligible to participate.  Please contact TRS to discuss your options before you make any decisions.  We recommend you review the MUS-RP and the TRS information so you understand all options available to you.  Further information and training is available through the TRS website.

Access Funds Upon ending Employment (Before Retirement)

If you are leaving employment with the MUS, you may have several choices regarding your retirement funds.  Please note that
in-service distributions from the DBRP and DCRP are not permitted.

  • Leave Your Money on Account
    Generally you may leave your assets in the TRS plan to grow tax deferred, up until you reach age 70 ½. 
  • Direct Rollover into Another Eligible Plan
    You can choose to roll your funds into another eligible plan.  Be sure to confirm that the new plan will accept your rollover and discuss with your new plan the potential tax penalties and/or fees that may apply. Please contact TRS for any restrictions that may apply.

  • Take a Distribution
    If you take a distribution from your account, federal law requires TRS to hold 20% of the distribution for federal income tax purposes.  State tax withholding may also apply.

    Once you take a distribution, you also have the option of rolling it over into an IRA or a qualified employer’s plan.  Amounts not rolled over within the 60 day time frame will be taxed to you as ordinary income tax in the year received.

    If you are under 59 ½ years old, you may also have to pay a 10% additional income tax for early distributions.  Please contact a tax professional before making a final decision.

    If you choose a direct rollover or distribution, you will need to have severed employment for at least 30 days and have been paid out all of your compensatory, annual and sick leave. 

TRS members will receive a refund of their contributions plus interest.  Per statute, employer contributions are not refundable. 

If you are receiving retirement benefits from any other Montana state plan, contact the plan for terms and restrictions on re-employment.

What happens if I change jobs within the MUS?

While working at the MUS, if you change positions and your position is no longer a TRS covered position, you may have the option to join the MUS-RP as a professional employee or join the Montana Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS).  If you are no longer in a TRS covered position, you cannot continue to be an active member of TRS.  Please contact your HR office to discuss your options.

Manage Your Retirement

TRS provides informative workshops for its members who are either new to the workforce and/or are ready to retire after years of hard work.  Please visit the TRS Tutorials page for more information.

If you are ready to retire, please visit the TRS Retiree/Benefit Recipient page.

TRS Contact Information

Public Employee Retirement Administration
1500 East Sixth Avenue
P.O. Box 200139
Helena, MT  59620-0139

Toll Free:  1-877-600-4045 
Phone:  406-444-3134
Fax:  406-444-2641
Website:  http://www.trs.mt.gov/Default.asp
e-mail:  trswebadmin@mt.gov

Disclaimer: If there are any discrepancies between this website and the provisions of TRS, the Plan Document will prevail.

If you are in an academic or a professional administrative personnel position and are an active, inactive or retired member of the TRS or the PERS you may have a choice of remaining in your current retirement system or becoming a member of the MUS-RP. If you are eligible, written election to move to the MUS-RP must be done within 30 days of becoming eligible to participate or you will remain in your current retirement plan. Please contact either TRS or PERS to discuss your options before you make any decisions.

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