Texas School for the Blind

Please select your plan from the tabs below for more information about your plan and to gain access to your plan forms. If you have any questions or need assistance please contact us.

A 403(b) is a retirement savings plan generally offered by public schools and other tax-exempt organizations that allows employees to make contributions on a pretax or post-tax basis. Most plans allow you to start, stop, increase or decrease contributions at any time. The employer determines the investment providers and employees must open an account with one of those providers to contribute. Employers may also make contributions on behalf of employees.
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FAQ's

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 RAMS 403(b) Administration Plan?

This plan is a part of the Retirement Asset Management Services (RAMS) program.  The 403(b) Plan is a tax-deferred supplemental retirement plan sponsored by your Employer. ESC Region 10 has implemented 403(b) plan administrative services through a competitive proposal process. These services are available to any Texas public education organization through an interlocal agreement. The Employer’s Plan is authorized by Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 403(b) and is subject to specific Internal Revenue Service regulations and other 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 The amount invested plus earnings is not taxable until withdrawn from the Plan.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 10 403(b) Administration Plan provided to participants?

ESC Region 10 and your participating Employer contracted with TCG Administrators to provide administrative 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 Region 10 RAMS website menu.

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.  You will need to open an account with an approved vendor before entering your enrollment information on our website.

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
2016 $18,000

Catch-up contributions in 403(b) plans operate under the following rules:

In the year that you attain age 50, you become automatically eligible to contribute an additional $6,000 per year (2016; this is also indexed).

If you are not 50 years of age or older, and have 15 years of service with your current Employer, and have not contributed more than an average of $5,000 per year, you may be eligible to contribute an additional $3,000 per year, depending on your use of the age 50 catch-up.  Since the use of this special limit is dependent on the Employer and/or employee having records of all contributions the employee has made to the Plan since being employed, many Employers do not allow this limit.

The lifetime limit for Catch-up contributions based on years of service is $15,000.

For your convenience, TCG Administrators has provided a Maximum Allowable Contribution form, to aid you in calculating your Catch-Up contribution. It can be found by clicking ‘Forms’ from the left-side menu.  TCG Administrators monitors all payroll contributions by every participant in the Plan and works with the Employer to stop contributions that will exceed the annual limit.  This helps ensure that neither the Employer nor employee have a tax penalty for over contributing to the Plan.

 

How are my Plan contributions invested?

Your contribution will be remitted to the available investment providers based on the percentage or allocation you choose to each vendor.
Specific investment elections will need to be chosen through the approved investment providers. For more information about specific products you will need to contact your investment provider.  A list of the available vendors in your Plan are on the Region 10 RAMS website.

What are my investment option choices?

Specific investment elections will need to be chosen through the approved investment providers. For more information about the investments available in a specific product you will need to contact your investment provider.

The Texas Teachers Retirement System (TRS) is authorized by the Texas Legislature to determine 403(b) vendors and products that are available to public school employees. You are not allowed to select a vendor or product not authorized by TRS. Certain “grandfathering” applies. If you have any questions about this please contact TCG Administrators.

The TRS website provides an excellent comparison of the fees charged by every vendor and product available in Texas.  You are urged to review this website before deciding where to invest your money.  A link to the TRS comparison is on the Region10 RAMS website.

How do I make changes to my elections?

If you are changing your elections for the first time, you will need to enroll by choosing ‘Login’ on the left-hand menu and clicking “New to the system? Enroll Now!” 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 on our website by choosing ‘Plan Description’ from the menu. The elections you make during the enrollment process will take the place of your current elections.

If you have already enrolled on our system, you can make future changes online by clicking the ‘Login’ button on the menu and accessing your account.

The following transactions can be made online:

  • Contribution Amount
  • Investment Provider Allocation Percentages

How do I keep track of my account?

Investment providers who choose to cooperate fully with the information sharing requirements of the plan will have information available for you by logging in to your account.  You are able to view the most recent account value provided to us by your vendor on the Region 10 RAMS website under your participant login.

Investment providers who do not fully cooperate with the information sharing agreements of the plan may display zero balances. You will need to contact those investment providers for more information.

All funds are ultimately invested at the investment providers and you may still need to contact them for certain information.

Are there fees to the participants in the Plan?

TCG Administrators is the Administrator and handles the ongoing administration of the Plan for monthly fees equal to $1.50 per month.

You will need to contact your investment provider to determine their fees. Fees for allowable vendors and products are also displayed on the TRS website.

The TRS website provides an excellent comparison of the fees charged by every vendor and product available in Texas.  You are urged to review this website before deciding where to invest your money.  A link to the TRS comparison is on the Region10 RAMS website.

When can I withdraw money from my account?

  • Attainment of age 59½
  • Death
  • Disability
  • Termination of Employment
  • Hardship (if allowed by your plan, see your Summary Plan Description)

What are my distribution options?

  • Receive a lump sum distribution (subject to ordinary income tax)
  • Rollover your account balance to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other tax qualified vehicle.
  • Transfer your account to another Plan.
  • Some vendors and products allow payments in the form of a monthly annuity or periodic payments.

What happens if I leave employment?

The Internal Revenue Code allows distribution of funds upon termination of service with the participating employer under the options listed above.

When am I required to withdraw my money?

The later of when you retire or reach age 70½.

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.

Are loans available under the Plan?

See your Summary Plan Description  to find out if loans are allowed in your plan. Keep in mind that your investment provider may not allow loans, although your plan permits them.  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.

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 move my funds to another company?

If the company is an active vendor in the Plan, depending on vendor rules and restrictions, you may be able to “exchange” your funds into a different annuity or investment account with another vendor.

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.