MemberDirect

Your Guide to Using MemberDirect

COAERS is preparing for the launch of its new online information portal for members, called MemberDirect. The new online portal will allow members to securely access their retirement account and information from anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
 
Through MemberDirect, active COAERS members will instantly know when they’re eligible for retirement, obtain benefit estimates, see options for survivor benefits, and view how deductions and insurance will affect retirement take-home pay. Retired COAERS members will be able to easily access their 1099-R forms, review benefit payment details, update tax withholdings and view payment history. All members can see beneficiaries, update contact information, securely communicate with COAERS staff, obtain forms, and receive important notifications electronically.
 

Register for MemberDirect

Starting this Fall, COAERS members will be able to register for a MemberDirect account on our website. Be sure to email news@coaers.org to sign up for MemberDirect launch updates, important announcements, and to receive information about how to register. 

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Using MemberDirect

Explore Your Benefits with MemberDirect

  • What is proportionate time?

    If you have participated in certain other public retirement systems in Texas, you may be able to combine your service credit from those retirement systems to help you meet retirement eligibility under the Proportionate Retirement Program. Proportionate service does not increase the amount of your monthly retirement benefit. COAERS recognizes service credit in the following systems:

    • Austin Police Retirement System
    • El Paso Firemen and Policemen’s Pension Fund
    • The El Paso City Employees’ Pension Fund
    • Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS)
    • Judicial Retirement System of Texas I and II
    • Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS)
    • Texas County and District Retirement System (TCDRS)
    • Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS)
    • Other Texas retirement systems covering municipal employees who have elected to participate in the Proportionate Retirement Program
  • What are pre-tax and post-tax contributions?

    As a member, you contribute 8% of your base pay to COAERS, excluding overtime, and not subject to any limit. These contributions are made pre-tax (or before taxes), meaning they are deducted from your gross base salary before any federal income tax assessment. Post-tax contributions (after taxes) are already taxed funds which may appear in your records from a purchase of service credit that you made with personal funds, like a check.

  • How is interest posted to my account balance?

    COAERS credits interest to your account annually on December 31 for the balance you had on January 1 of that calendar year. The COAERS Board of Trustees determines the interest rate each year.

  • Where do I go to get information about retiree insurance plans?

    You can visit the City of Austin’s website at the link below for information about retiree insurance options or contact the Benefits Division at (512) 974-3284.

    www.austintexas.gov/department/retired-employee-benefits-program

  • What is sick leave conversion?

    At retirement, you may convert a portion of your unused sick leave hours to service credit. A sick leave purchase does not make you eligible to retire any sooner, but it will increase your monthly benefit payment. Unused sick leave hours eligible for cash payment may not be converted to service credit.

  • Where do I go to get information about all the different types of service purchases?

    You can visit the Active Member FAQ on the COAERS website (link below) to learn about service purchase options or contact Member Services at (512) 458-2551.


    www.coaers.org/Active-Members/FAQs-for-Actives

  • I need help understanding the decimals associated with my service credit. How does that work?

    On your account summary home page in MemberDirect, the “My Service” box details your service credit using decimals. If you hover above the  in that box, a chart appears showing the decimal-to-month conversion. For example, 5.6667 years equals 5 years and eight months of service credit. If you have questions about your service credit, please contact Member Services.

  • What’s Group A and Group B?

    Your City of Austin employment date determines which retirement group you are in. If your full-time, regular employment date is before January 1, 2012, you are in Group A. If your full-time regular employment date is on or after January 1, 2012, you are in Group B.

  • What is a Partial Lump Sum or a BackDROP?

    The Backward Deferred Retirement Program (Back DROP) is available only to members who have worked at least one month past their normal retirement eligibility date. Under this program, you may have your retirement benefit calculated based on an earlier normal retirement date and receive a one-time, taxable, lump sum payment. The lump-sum payment is based on the period between the earlier normal retirement date and your actual retirement date. This is called the “DROP period.” The lump-sum payment is 90% of the life annuity monthly benefit multiplied by the number of months in the DROP period.


    If you do not qualify for a Back DROP, you can still elect to take a Partial Lump Sum, which is also a one-time, taxable, lump sum payment. This option reduces the amount of your monthly retirement benefit.

  • What is a Joint and Survivor Option?

    A Joint and Survivor option allows you to continue some or all of your monthly retirement benefit to a beneficiary upon your death. Visit the COAERS website for more information on the various payment options.

    www.coaers.org/Portals/0/Resources/FAQs/Retirement%20Benefit%20Options.pdf

  • What is the tax-free portion of my monthly retirement benefit?

    You may have a tax-free portion of your retirement benefit if you have post-tax funds in your account.  The tax-free amount is the total post-tax balance in your COAERS account divided over a certain period depending on your age and other factors. You do not pay federal income tax on the tax-free portion of your benefit.  Your annual Form 1099-R reflects this calculation.

  • My benefit estimate shows “IRS 415(b) Result/Limit: Fail”. What does this mean?

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) places certain limits on benefits from a defined benefit retirement plan like COAERS.  When you run a benefit estimate, our computer system evaluates your benefit to see this IRS limit applies.  If you see “IRS 415(b) Result/Limit:  Fail” on your benefit estimate.  This means that it is likely that an IRS 415 limit applies to your monthly retirement benefit.  When you retire, it may be necessary to pay a portion of your benefit from a different retirement fund that COAERS manages.  In this case, you may receive two retirement benefits – one for the portion of your benefit below the IRS 415(b) limit and one for the portion above the IRS 415(b) limit.  For more information about the 415(b) limits, contact a Member Services Specialist at COAERS at (512) 458-2551.

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