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A 457 is a retirement savings plan that allows employees to make contributions on a pretax basis, thus income taxes are deferred until your assets are withdrawn. Most plans allow you to start, stop, increase or decrease contributions at any time. The contribution limits are separate from those of 401(k) and 403(b) plans allowing additional employee savings. There is also no 10% early withdrawal tax applicable to distributions from a 457(b) plan.
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Who is eligible?

Eligibility is determined by your Employer, so please contact TCG Administrators or your Employer Benefits Office to find out who is eligible under your Employer’s Plan. You may also find a list of who is eligible on the Summary Plan Description, which may be found on our website.

What is the ESC Region 10 457(b) Retirement Savings Plan?

This plan is a part of the Retirement Asset Management Services (RAMS) program.  The ESC Region 10 Cooperative is a 457 Deferred Compensation Plan and is a tax-deferred supplemental retirement Plan sponsored by your participating Employer. The Plan is authorized by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 457(b) and is subject to specific Internal Revenue Service laws and requirements. The Plan allows employees to voluntarily contribute a portion of their compensation on a pretax basis. The amount invested plus earnings is not taxable until withdrawn from the Plan.  The Plan also offers Roth contributions, if allowed by the Employer.  Roth contributions are taxed when made, but earnings grow tax free.

How is the ESC Region 10 457(b) Retirement Savings Plan provided to participants?

ESC Region 10 and your participating Employer contracted with TCG Administrators, TCG Advisors, LP (a subsidiary of TCG Group Holdings) and Wilmington Trust to provide administrative, investment and communication services to participants. TCG Administrators is the main contact for participants. You can find out how to contact TCG Administrators by choosing “Contact Us” from the menu on the Region 10 RAMS website.

How does the Plan work?

You elect the amount you wish to defer from your gross salary each pay period. The amount you elect to defer is withheld from your paycheck each pay period before taxes (after tax for Roth contributions).

Who contributes?

You. There are no Employer contributions under this Plan.

How do I enroll?

You may join the Plan at any time by clicking the green ‘Login’ button and clicking ‘Register’ You will need your Social Security Number and the plan password provided on the Summary Plan Description for your Employer. The Summary Plan Description can be found in the plan description for your employer.  You can browse there by clicking the green  ‘Login’  button, and choosing your employer. 

What is the contribution amount?

You decide the amount that you want to contribute. Please keep in mind that there are limits imposed under the Internal Revenue Code. The maximum amount you can contribute during each calendar year is up to 100% of your includable compensation or the maximum listed in the table below, whichever is less.

Maximum Yearly Contribution
Year Maximum
2015 $18,000

(This is indexed based on calculations done by the IRS each year so always check the Region 10 RAMS website for the current limit)

 

During one of the three calendar years prior to your Normal Retirement Age* you may utilize the Standard Catch-up provision by making additional contributions to the Plan of up to twice the regular deferral limit.

Maximum Yearly Contribution
Year Maximum
2015 $25,000

(This is indexed based on calculations done by the IRS each year so always check the Region 10 RAMS website for the current limit)

If you are age 50 or older in a Plan year, you may utilize the Age 50+ Catch-up provision by making additional contributions to the Plan. During any year in which you are utilizing the Standard Catch-up provision you may not utilize the Age 50+ Catch-up provision. The additional contribution amounts are listed in the table below:

Maximum Yearly Contribution
Year Maximum
2015 $24,000

(This is indexed based on calculations done by the IRS each year so always check the Region 10 RAMS website for the current limit)

Before utilizing the Standard Catch-up and Age 50+ Catch-up, please consult your tax advisor.

 

*The term “Normal Retirement Age” shall mean the range of ages from the earliest age at which the Participant has the right to retire and receive an unreduced retirement benefit under the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), without actuarial or similar reduction because of retirement through and including age 70½, as designated by the Participant. Any Participant who works beyond age 70½ may designate a Normal Retirement Age greater than 70½, provided, however, that Normal Retirement Age may not be later than the date or age at which the Participant terminates employment with the Employer.

How are my Plan contributions invested?

You will have full access to your account upon enrollment. You may choose your preferred allocation at the time of enrollment. A selection of risk based portfolios are available at no extra cost. If you do not make an election, your contributions will be invested in the Signature Portfolio.  To view the most recent investment option information as well as the Signature Portfolio you can view the most recent Quarterly Review from the Plan Description section for 457(b) and your employer on our website.

What are my investment option choices?

To view the most recent investment option information you can view the most recent Quarterly Review from the Plan Description section for 457(b) and your employer on our website.   The Plan offers risk-based portfolios ranging from Capital Preservation to Aggressive Growth that are managed by the investment advisor to the Plan, TCG Advisors, LP.  You may also create your own investment allocation among the fund choices in the Plan.

If you are managing your own account, you may select which funds to use. There are additional tools online to assist you in determining the appropriate investments and allocations at www.tcgservices.com.

How do I make investment option changes?

If you are making your investments for the first time, you can enroll in the Plan at any time by clicking the green ‘Login’ button and clicking ‘Register’ You will need your Social Security Number and the plan password provided on the Summary Plan Description for your Employer. The Summary Plan Description can be found in the plan description for your employer.  You can browse there by clicking the green  ‘Login’  button, and choosing your employer.    If you have already enrolled, you can make future changes online by logging in through www.region10rams.org and accessing your account by clicking the green ‘Login’ button.  

The following transactions can be made online:  

  • Move all or a portion of your existing balances between investment options. 
  • Change how your future contributions are invested.  

How do I keep track of my account?

You can check your account balance on the website at www.region10rams.org or you may call TCG Administrators toll free at 800-943-9179.

Are there fees to the participants in the Plan?

TCG Advisors, LP has been hired by ESC Region 10 as the investment advisor and fiduciary to the Plan and receives an advisory fee of .40% of account assets annually. TCG Administrators is the Third Party Administrator and handles the ongoing administration of the Plan for annual fees equal to $18.50 per year and .25% of account assets. These asset-based fees are subject to a sliding scale and can be adjusted downward as the assets grow.

An additional one-time charge of $30 is paid for any distribution and a one-time charge of $50 is paid for any loan processed from the Plan.

When can I withdraw money from my account?

  • Attainment of age 70½
  • Death
  • Termination of Employment

What are my distribution options?

  • Receive a lump-sum distribution (subject to ordinary income tax)
  • Rollover your account balance
  • Leave in the Plan until a future date (but no later than age 70½ or retirement)

What happens if I leave employment? When am I required to withdraw my money?

The Internal Revenue Code allows distribution of funds only upon retirement, termination of service with the participating Employer, or attainment of age 70½. At the time you terminate service you may:

  • Keep your money invested in the Plan and if desired, continue to manage your money within the offered investment options;
  • Withdraw your money — subject to ordinary income tax; or
  • Roll your money to an IRA or another eligible employer that accepts rollovers.

What if I need some of the funds while still working for my employer?

The Internal Revenue Code and the Plan contain three provisions that allow withdrawal of funds while still employed. These three provisions are limited and have strict requirements, which must first be met. They are:

  • An unforeseen emergency which must be documented, meet the Internal Revenue Code definitions and criteria, and be approved by the Plan Administrator.
  • A “de minimis” withdrawal — this provision allows a withdrawal while employed if your balance is $5,000 or less, you have not deferred for the last 24 months, and have never used this provision before.
  • Attainment of age 70½, but you must stop your deferrals.

What happens to my money when I die?

Your designated beneficiary(ies) will receive the full value of your account. Your beneficiary(ies) must contact TCG Administrators to apply for a distribution.  If you do not designate a beneficiary, your spouse will automatically be your beneficiary, and if you are not married, the beneficiary will be your estate.

Are loans available under the Plan?

Yes, loans are available. The minimum loan amount under the Plan is $1,000 and the maximum loan amount is 50% of your account value. Participants with account values less than $2,000 are not eligible for loans. For further information on loans, please contact TCG Administrators at 800-943-9179.

How can I change my salary reduction?

You can change your salary reduction online at any time by logging on to your account.

How can I stop my salary reduction?

You can stop your salary deferrals online at any time by logging on to your account.

You may begin contributing again to the Plan online at any time by logging on to your account.

How can I get more information?

To get more information about the Plan or enrolling in the Plan, please contact TCG Administrators at 800-943-9179, or visit the other areas of this website.

Some public employers have created FICA Alternative plans to provide all employees the opportunity to have retirement savings and to lessen the employer's Social Security tax burden. Participating employees are not subject to Social Security taxes while covered by this plan. Contributions to this plan are made on a pretax basis.
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What is the Region 10 457(b) FICA Alternative Plan?

Legislation passed as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA 90) mandated that all employees of state and local governments, including public school employers, colleges and universities, either cover their employees under Social Security or provide a retirement plan that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determines is comparable to Social Security.  Since the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) meets the comparability requirement, full time employees covered by TRS do not have to be covered by Social Security.  Since substitute teachers, temporary employees and part-time employees are not covered by TRS, the law requires that they participate in either FICA (Social Security Tax) or an alternative retirement plan set up under guidelines established by the Internal Revenue Service. A “FICA Alternative Plan” meets these requirements if at least 7.5% of the employee’s compensation is contributed to a defined contribution retirement plan.  The contribution can be made by the employee, employer or any combination.  The plan can be set up under Sections 401(a), 403(b) or 457(b) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

The Region 10 FICA Alternative Plan is set up under Section 457(b) of the IRC.  This Plan is a part of the Retirement Asset Management Services (RAMS) program. The deductions for the FICA Alternative Plan are taken out of your paycheck in lieu of deductions normally made to FICA (Social Security taxes).  Since contributions are made to the FICA Alternative Plan on a pretax basis and Social Security taxes are after‑tax, the employee pays less income tax on the deductions for the FICA Alternative Plan.

Who is eligible for the Region 10 457(b) FICA Alternative Plan?

You are eligible to participate in the Plan if you are an active employee and are not eligible to participate in the TRS Pension Plan.

How much do I contribute to the Region 10 FICA 457(b) Alternative Plan?

Social Security requires that the equivalent of 12.4% of an employee’s salary be contributed each month (6.2% employee, 6.2% employer). However, the FICA Alternative Plan requires only a 7.5% contribution to a retirement account. The Employer determines the amount of the contribution made by the employee.  You are always 100% vested in your account balance in the Plan, whether contributions are made by you or your Employer.

What are the advantages of participating in the Region 10 457(b) FICA Alternative Plan?

The contribution to the Region 10 FICA Alternative Plan will be deducted from your paycheck on a pretax basis, so you are not taxed on the gross amount. Funds remain tax-sheltered until they are withdrawn. Unlike Social Security withholding, if your employment with your Employer ends, you may withdraw funds subject to the Internal Revenue Code distribution guidelines under a 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan.

How do I participate in the Region 10 457(b) FICA Alternative Plan?

Enrollment in the Plan is automatic for eligible employees.

Do I still pay the Medicare portion of FICA?

Yes, Medicare withholding will be made from your paycheck in addition to the contribution to the Region 10 457(b) FICA Alternative Plan.

Where are the funds invested?

The portfolio is a fund similar to the one offered under the Teacher/Employee Retention and Recruitment Program (TERRP) managed by the ESC Region 10 Investment Advisory Committee assisted by the investment advisor to the Plan, TCG Advisors, LP.  It is also very similar to the Signature Portfolio which is the automatic investment option in the Region 10 457(b) Retirement Savings Plan.  

How do I find out how much money is in my account?

You will receive annual statements from TCG Administrators, the Third Party Administrator for the Plan (an affiliate of TCG Advisors, LP) outlining your account activity. You may also call TCG Administrators to receive your account balance at (800) 943-9179 or log into your account at www.region10rams.org.

How do I withdraw or rollover my money?

Upon termination of employment, attainment of retirement age, or in the event of death, you will have access to your account. You will also have access to your funds if you have a change of employment status at your Employer to a position covered by TRS, if there have been no contributions to the account for two (2) years, and if the account balance is less than $5,000. If the account balance is greater than $5,000, the account will only be eligible for distribution due to termination, retirement, or death.