Why Join TESRS?
The TESRS pension system is a cost-effective way for a volunteer fire department (or other volunteer emergency services department) to recruit, retain, and reward firefighters and emergency services personnel.
What type of department can join TESRS?
Any fire department or emergency services department in Texas that is not a for-profit entity and has at least seven active volunteers can join TESRS as a Participating Department.
Active Member Benefits
- On-duty death benefits: If a TESRS Member’s death is the result of the performance of emergency services duties, TESRS will pay beneficiaries a lump-sum benefit of $60,000. Additionally, the Member’s surviving spouse and minor children will share a monthly annuity benefit equal to the Member’s full service retirement benefit.
- Off-duty death benefits: Beneficiaries are eligible to receive a lump-sum benefit if the TESRS Member’s death is not related to the performance of emergency services duties. If the Member’s surviving spouse is also the beneficiary and the Member had attained a minimum of 10-years of Qualified Service Credit, the spouse has the option to receive either a lump-sum payment or a lifetime monthly annuity.
- On-duty disability benefit: A TESRS Member is eligible to receive a temporary disability benefit if injured in the performance of emergency service duties and unable to work or attend school. The minimum disability benefit is $400 per month.
- The amount of a TESRS Member’s
monthly benefit is based upon their number of years of Qualified Service Credit
and the average contribution rate paid by the local governing body on their
- A TESRS Member is
eligible to apply for a monthly retirement benefit at age 55 after accruing at
least 10 years of Qualified Service Credit (50% vested).
- A fully vested TESRS Member (100% vested) will have earned at least 15-years of Qualified Service Credit.
- A fully vested
retirement benefit is equal to six times the average contribution rate for all
of the Qualified Service Credit earned by a Member.
- A TESRS Member’s monthly retirement payment will compound by 6.2% for each year of Qualified Service Credit they earn after 15 years.
- Upon a TESRS retiree’s death, the surviving spouse may apply and receive two-thirds of the Member’s retirement payment for life.
Qualified Service Credit
A TESRS Member earns Qualified Service Credit in TESRS through service in TESRS Participating Departments. To earn a year of retirement system credit, an active TESRS Member must attend at least 20 hours of training and participate in a minimum of 25% of the Participating Department’s emergencies during the calendar year.
Within the first five years of joining TESRS, Participating Departments have the opportunity to purchase up to 15 years of prior qualified service for the active TESRS Members enrolled effective the date the Department joined the TESRS pension system.
TESRS works with governing bodies such as cities, counties, and emergency services districts to provide contributions to the system for TESRS Members. The minimum monthly contribution rate is $36 per month for each TESRS Member who is an active volunteer for a Participating Department.