- Local Unit Meetings Beginning, Find Yours Today
One of the best and most rewarding ways to get involved with the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is through our 250-plus local unit chapters. Local units offer opportunities for fellowship and fun, and are a community-driven entry into the world of retirement.
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- Details Start to Come Into Focus for Upcoming TRS-Care Changes
Starting Sept. 1, TRS-Care participants will begin paying increased deductibles and out-of-pocket limits. These changes were approved by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) to the health care program in a June 16 Board meeting.
TRS-Care serves more than 250,000 retired educators, but its funding has been at a critically low level. Without the assurance that the health care plan would remain solvent through Aug. 2017, the TRS Board of Trustees made changes to save TRS-Care money.
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- TRS Board of Trustees Talks Budget, Plans for TRS-Care
The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees met today, July 29, to discuss TRS-Care and budget requests that will be made to the Texas Legislature later this summer.
TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee provided impassioned public comment, approaching the trustees with heartfelt concern about the looming TRS-Care budget crisis.
Lee stressed that the participants in the retiree health insurance program pay $1.4 billion in revenue to sustain the program annually (35 percent of the program’s total revenue), while the state pays $300 million and school districts pay $150 million per year approximately. The health care plan covers 260,000 lives, and provides a vital, quality retirement benefit.
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- TRTA Legislative Committee Meets, Solidifies Plans for 85th Texas Legislature
The Texas Retired Teachers Association’s Legislative Committee held meetings throughout July 18-19 to discuss the 2017 Texas Legislature. The committee is comprised of 21 members from the various TRTA districts.
It is the responsibility of the state Legislative Committee to communicate with their local unit counterparts to ensure a cohesive, well-organized lobbying effort throughout the interim and during the legislative session.
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- WEP Reform Receives Major Setback in Committee Hearing, Fight for Equal Treatment Continues
The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (H.R. 711) received a major setback in its hearing under the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee today. The bill, which seeks to reform the harmful Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), was scheduled to receive a vote, but was postponed indefinitely due to push back from various public worker organizations.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R – The Woodlands) expressed his disappointment for the bill’s exemption from the committee meeting. He stated that an agreement could not be formed among advocacy organizations, and that this disagreement is the cause of the bill’s postponement.
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- WEP Reform a Difficult Road
Like so many of you, we were disappointed that the help for current retirees may not be as much as we originally believed, certainly not as much as it should be. However, TRTA is right to support this current effort, and I wanted to offer some additional explanation to you before today’s vote.
Many of you have worked on this issue for years, decades even. TRTA pointed out when the WEP originally was passed it was a bludgeon against future retirees. Congress used the proverbial hammer when a scalpel may have been warranted. The issue that WEP was trying to address, that of non-covered Social Security years of employment (referred to as uncovered earnings), was an attempt to address benefit calculation issues with the SS formula.
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- Changes Expected as WEP Repeal Progresses
As you may have read last week, the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) has been visiting Washington D.C. throughout the summer to work for the passage of HR 711, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act.
Texas Congressman Kevin Brady (R – The Woodlands) introduced the bill to Congress in an effort to provide financial relief to current and future retirees who fall under the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). While HR 711 is not a full repeal of the WEP, it will provide significant financial relief for millions of current and future retirees.
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- Ways and Means Committee To Vote On WEP Reform Bill
The U.S. House of Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to vote on H.R. 711, a bill that proposes to replace the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) formula. The hearing will take place Wednesday at 1PM CT. The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) will be bringing you details as they arrive.
This marks the first time in 30 years that a bill proposing to repeal the existing arbitrary WEP has gone to a vote. Additionally, this marks the first step towards making H.R. 711 into law. The bill first must pass out of committee before it can reach the House floor.
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- TRTA Continues to Push for WEP Reform
The Texas Retired Teachers Association made another push for reform on the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), as Executive Director Tim Lee, Legislative Coordinator Bill Barnes and Pensions Consultant Ronnie Jung visited Washington, D.C.
The WEP is an unfair social security provision that hurts the financial income of retirees in Texas and 12 other states. Retirees who fall under the WEP are penalized for their years of public service. These retirees include public educators, firefighters and policemen.
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- Answers to TRS-Care Questions Coming Soon
Last week, the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) reported that the Board of Trustees of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) approved several changes to the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. You may read TRTA’s update about those changes by clicking here.
TRTA has received several questions from members regarding these changes. Please know that we are working closely with TRS to receive answers to your questions, and that we will update our members with this new information as soon as it becomes available.
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