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29 Oct
0

TRS Retirees Deserve Better Video: Cost-of-Living Adjustment

The last time TRS retirees received a cost-of-living increase was in 2013—five years ago. It was a three percent cost-of-living increase, capped at $100 per month, and it only went to TRS retirees who retired before September 1st, 2004. If you retired after that date, 14 years ago, you’ve never seen a cost-of-living increase during your retirement.

To say that a lot has changed since 2004 would be a massive understatement. The most commonly asked question I receive is “what is the likelihood that retirees will receive a COLA this year?” Retirees are in desperate need, and when the previous COLA was done in 2013, we were told that the Legislature would come back to finish the job and help the retirees who didn’t receive it.

One of the issues that has plagued the chances of a COLA has been the state requirement of the TRS fund being ‘actuarially sound.’ The state defines actuarial soundness as the TRS fund being within 31 years of paying off its unfunded liabilities.

So, what does this mean for the chances of retirees hoping for a COLA or other benefit adjustment in 2019?

A COLA will never materialize unless the elected officials can agree on increasing funding for TRS. Retirees have been told that since TRS has lowered its rate of return assumption, a benefit increase will not occur for the next 50 to 100 years. TRTA believes that this is unacceptable. The Legislature should increase state funding for TRS by approximately 1.83 percent, which equates to $768 million per year. This increase, paired with strong investment returns, could open the door for a COLA.

The only way this type of increase can occur is if both active and retired educators get out the vote in the November election. The election will determine whether the Legislature will be filled with legislators friendly to retirees’ needs. Texas early voting continues through Nov. 2! TRTA is encouraging its members to VOTE EARLY!

We are asking all TRTA members to reach out to their legislators and candidates running for political office. Ask them to set policy that will provide adequate funding for the TRS pension fund so that retirees can receive a much-needed benefit adjustment to keep up with increasing health care costs and modern-day expenses.

Everyone running for office in Texas should know, understand, and agree that TRS retirees deserve retirement security including a pension increase. TRS Retirees Deserve Better!

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24 Oct
0

TRS Retirees Deserve Better Video: Defined Benefits

The TRS traditional defined benefit plan is the best type of retirement plan for public education retirees. The defined benefit plan is a secure and healthy pension plan. It’s intended to provide a lifetime annuity. It differs from defined contribution plans, 401(k)s, that provide only a sum-certain amount. TRS has never missed a payment to its annuitants in its 81 years of existence.

However, some interest groups and legislators are seeking to change TRS into a defined contribution plan. This would be a disastrous move. It would undermine the integrity and trust that retirees have placed in our state government. It would risk the livelihood and investments of the 1.5 million educators who rely on and have paid into TRS.

That’s why TRTA is steadfast in its approach to protecting the defined benefit plan. Legislators and candidates running for political office in Texas should also know that 95 percent of school employees in Texas do not pay into the federal Social Security program, and most retirees -about 80 percent – receive no Social Security benefits at all.

Most TRS retirees rely on their modest monthly annuity as their sole form of retirement income. The average monthly annuity is a little over $2,000 and more than 125,000 retirees earn $1,000 or less per month!

TRTA supports increasing the employer contribution rate, which includes the state and school district, to the pension fund to 8.62 percent. This open the door for the pension fund to reach actuarial soundness as soon as possible. Since 95 percent of the school employees do not contribute to Social Security, a contribution rate of 8.62 percent is reasonable, and would still be one of the lowest rates for any state pension fund in the nation. TRTA also supports requiring all school districts in Texas to pay the 1.5 percent employer contribution rate.

Adjusting these rates will bolster the pension fund and ensure retirement security for all current and future public education retirees in Texas. The fund must be actuarially sound by statutory definition for the Legislature to consider a cost-of-living increase for retirees.

We are asking all TRTA members to reach out to their legislators and candidates running for political office. Ask them to set policy that will provide adequate funding for the TRS pension fund so that all current and future retirees can have the retirement security they deserve.

Everyone running for office in Texas should know, understand, and agree that TRS retirees deserve retirement security including a secure defined benefit plan. TRS retirees deserve better!

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23 Oct
0

TRS Hosting Fall TRS-Care Information Sessions

Over the next month, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) is hosting online and in-person informational seminars about the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

TRS and its health partners are hosting these information sessions for TRS-Care retirees and their families. Though there are no changes to TRS-Care health plans in 2019, the information sessions provide the opportunity for you to connect with TRS and get information so you have a fuller understanding of your health plan.

TRS will travel across the state to 30 cities to conduct 58 in-person sessions and 24 webinars. TRS will hold question-and-answer sessions after each presentation and will be available to answer specific questions one-on-one.

Register for a Session

To register for a session, please call 1-800-850-1992 (TTY: 711), Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Central Time. If you’re unable to attend a session in person, you may tune into a webinar instead.

Register for a non-Medicare webinar

Register for a Medicare webinar

To review a complete list of all events, including the breakdown of morning and afternoon sessions, please click this link.

Schedule of In-Person Events 

Central Texas
Date City Location Address
Oct. 30 Austin Norris Conference Centers (Red Oak Ballroom) 2525 W Anderson Ln., Ste. 365, Austin, TX 78757
Oct. 31 Temple Frank W. Mayborn Civic & Convention Center (Main Hall) 3303 N 3rd St., Temple, TX 76501
Nov. 1 Round Rock United Heritage Center (Conference Center) 3400 E Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock, TX 78665
Nov. 2 Austin Hilton Garden Inn (John Glenn Ballroom) 7610 John Glenn Way, Austin, TX 78741

 

East Texas
Date City Location Address
Nov. 13 Lufkin Pitser Garrison Convention Center (Lufkin Room) 601 N Second St., Lufkin, TX 75901
Nov. 14 Tyler Magnuson Grand Hotel & Conf. Center (Magnolia Ballroom) 3310 Troup Hwy., Tyler, TX 75701

 

Houston Metro Area
Date City Location Address
Oct. 23 Houston Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake (Atlantis Ballroom) 3000 E NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058
Oct. 24 Beaumont MCM Elegante Hotel (Grand Ballroom) 2355 I-10 South, Beaumont, TX 77705
Oct. 25 Richmond Safari Texas (Infinity Ballroom 11627 FM 1464 Richmond, TX 77407
Oct. 30 Houston Marriott Houston North (Salons ABCD) 255 North Sam Houston Parkway East, Houston, TX 77060
Oct. 31 Cypress Berry Center of Northwest Houston (Arena Westside & Atrium) 8877 Barker Cypress Rd., Cypress, TX 77433
Nov. 1 Bryan Brazos County Expo Complex (West & Central Texas Ballroom) 5827 Leonard Rd., Bryan, TX 77807
Nov. 2 Katy Powerhouse Church (Auditorium) 1818 Katyland Drive, Katy, TX, 77493

 

North Texas
Date City Location Address
Oct. 23 Fort Worth Radisson Hotel Fort Worth North-Fossil Creek (Ballroom) 2540 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76106
Oct. 24 Lewisville Hilton Garden Inn (Tuscany I, II & III) 785 SH 121, Lewisville, TX 75067
Oct. 26 Wichita Falls Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall (Exhibit Hall B) 1000 5th St., Wichita Falls, TX 76301
Nov. 8 Amarillo Amarillo Tri-State Exposition (Commercial Exhibits Hall) 3301 SE 10th Ave., Amarillo, TX 79104
Nov. 15 Mesquite Hampton Inn & Suites (Salons A & B) 1700 Rodeo Dr., Mesquite, TX 75149
Nov. 16 Plano Plano Event Center (Collinwood Hall) 2000 E Spring Creek Pkwy., Plano, TX 75074

 

South Texas
Date City Location Address
Nov. 6 Victoria Victoria Fine Arts Center (Auditorium) 1002 Sam Houston Dr., Victoria, TX 77901 (morning session only)
Nov. 7 Corpus Christi Mansion Royal (Mansion Ballroom) 8001 S Padre Island Dr., Corpus Christi, TX 78412
Nov. 8
(morning session only)
Laredo Life Downs Indoor Pavilion (Please note: This is a new venue location.) 7210 E. Saunders, Laredo, TX 78041
Nov. 9 Harlingen Casa De Amistad 1204 Fair Park Blvd., Harlingen, TX 78550
Nov. 14 San Antonio San Antonio Event Center 8111 Meadow Leaf Dr., San Antonio, Texas 78227
Nov. 15 Uvalde SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center (Live Oak Hall) 300 E Main St., Uvalde, TX 78801
Nov. 16 San Antonio Alzafar Shrine Temple Auditorium (Ballroom) 901 N Loop 1604, W San Antonio, TX 78232

 

West Texas
Date City Location Address
Oct.25 Abilene Abilene Convention Center (Conference Rooms 1-3) 1100 N 6th St., Abilene, TX 79601
Nov. 6 Midland Hilton Garden Inn (HGI Ballroom) 1301 N Loop 250 W, Midland, TX 79706
Nov. 7 Lubbock MCM Eleganté Hotel (South Plains Conference Center) 801 Avenue Q, Lubbock, TX 79401
Nov. 13
(Mountain Time)
El Paso Radisson Hotel (Venetian Grand Ballroom & Atrium) 1770 Airway Blvd., El Paso, TX 79925

 Schedule of Non-Medicare Webinars

Non-Medicare Webinar Schedule
Date Time (CT)
Oct. 22 2:00 p.m.
Oct. 24 10:00 a.m.
Oct. 26 2:00 p.m.
Oct. 29 10:00 a.m.
Oct. 31 10:00 a.m.
Nov. 2 10:00 a.m.
Nov. 5 2:00 p.m.
Nov. 7 10:00 a.m.
Nov. 9 2:00 p.m.
Nov. 12 2:00 p.m.
Nov. 14 2:00 p.m.
Nov. 16 10:00 a.m.

 Schedule of Medicare Webinars

Medicare Webinar Schedule
Date Time (CT)
Oct. 22 10:00 a.m.
Oct. 24 2:00 p.m.
Oct. 26 10:00 a.m.
Oct. 29 2:00 p.m.
Oct. 31 2:00 p.m.
Nov. 2 10:00 a.m.
Nov. 5 10:00 a.m.
Nov. 7 2:00 p.m.
Nov. 9 10:00 a.m.

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