New Jersey teachers, depending on length of service in the state school system, are eligible for various benefits upon retirement. The Division of Pensions and Benefits in Trenton, which administers retirement programs for teachers, also offers individual counseling to help retired teachers or those planning retirement understand the benefits available to them and any application process.
Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund
The Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) provides retirement benefits to full-time employees in New Jersey school districts or those employed by the New Jersey Department of Education. According to the state teacher's union, the New Jersey Education Association, employees are vested after 10 years, and teachers may usually receive retirement benefits after 25 years of service or after reaching age 60.
403b Tax-Deferred Savings Program
This plan allows teachers and other school district employees to shelter some of their salaries in an annuity and is often referred to as a "tax-sheltered annuity plan." Teachers enter agreements with their districts that reduces their salary, and the district then enters these monies, called selective deferrals, into a tax-deferred savings account to supplement the teacher's future retirement benefits.
Teachers eligible for disability retirement must be vested in the state pension system with a minimum of 10 years of service. They must be certified by a physician or hospital as totally and permanently disabled. The state may require that its own doctors examine the patient if the medical documents submitted are considered insufficient. According to the New Jersey pensions website, processing a disability retirement application may take six months or more.
Retirement Health Benefits
Teachers with at least 25 years of service upon retirement are eligible for the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program. Continuation of health benefits upon retirement depends upon filing the Retired Coverage Enrollment application, which should be submitted at least three months before the scheduled retirement date.