I feel compelled to rant back against all the whiners who write that TIAA CREF is volitionally not executing account holder requests for retirement account rollovers or lump sum withdrawals. Some patience is required, but I will tell you step by step how we got every penny of our Houston Community College retirement withdrawn begining with the submission of a cash withdrawal form pre-filled by a helpful TIAA CREF employee and approved by the TSA Consulting Group.
The TSA Consulting Group is the much maligned third party that processes all withdrawal claims/requests. They essentially confirm the authenticity of the request, accuracy of the form filling, and the scan of the authorized signature. We consummated our request completely via emails and attached PDFs with no faxing required!!
As you can see in the screen shot below, two service requests are posted conveniently online indicating a Maintenance Contract Termination AND a Cash Withdrawal Payment from the Houston Community College System Social Security Alternative Plan.
The payment was received within 5 days of the request with 20% deducted and paid to the IRS. The service staff at TSA Consulting Group were helpful, professional, and cooperative.
The only minor hassle was having to scan my signature and convert it to a PDF file, but that avoided having to use a FAX machine as we just attached the signature PDF and the Cash Withdrawal PDF to the email.
Finally just to be sure the steps involved getting your hard earned retirement contributions are clear.
First, Get Cash Withdrawal or rollover forms from the TIAA-CREF website and have an employee prefill the forms for you with relevant account numbers and information.
Second, forward these forms to a rep of the school you worked for to approve the withdrawal/rollover. In our case HCC, had assigned this duty to the TSA Consulting Group.
Third, get acknowledgement of receipt of said forms from a TSA Consulting Group rep which was very easy in our case. Confirm when they will forward their approval back to CREF.
Fourth, login into CREF website to monitor the status for the release of your funds!!
All these steps took ONLY 3 days for us in stark contrast to all complaints posted harshly criticizing TIAA CREF for making it difficult if not impossible for teachers to get their retirement money back expediently.