Blog

29 Mar 2021
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TRTF Offer Disaster Relief Assistance to TRS Retirees

The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) wants members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) to know that help is now available in the form of grants for retirees who were affected by winter storm Uri in February.

The TRTF Board of Trustees has determined that each of the TRTA’s twenty districts will receive 30 Disaster Relief grants in the amount of $250 each to assist retired public-school employees who have been negatively affected by the storm.

We know that hundreds, if not thousands, of our members and TRS retirees suffered record-breaking low temperatures without electricity, heat, and running water during the storm. Many homes were destroyed due to flooding from broken pipes, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage. Many TRS retirees do not have substantial savings to help them recover from such unpredictable disasters.

Our Foundation supports educators of the past, present, and future, and has provided more than $210,000 to retirees and active teachers during natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, and winter storms.

Thanks to the generous donations from thousands of TRTA members, as well as the remarkable support from a few of our dedicated private donors and supporters, TRTF will be able to help at least 600 retirees! At a time a great struggle and uncertainty, our network of retired school employees and our friends gave to support each other.

For all those who gave, thank you! Your contributions are going to those who need the help, and we are very grateful for your kindness and generosity.

If your needs exceed the amount offered by the short-term grants, another option may be available for you. Please send an email to help@trtf.org to request a Disaster Relief Fund Long-Term grant application. A limited amount of long-term grants in the amount of $1,000 are available at this time.

How to Apply 

To request an application for assistance, please send an email to help@trtf.org. A brief application form will then be emailed back to you. Grants will be given on a first come, first served basis, until funds are depleted.

Want to Help?

If you would like to help provide emergency funds to retirees in need please consider making a donation to the TRTF Disaster Relief Program today! Your donation, no matter the amount, will help TRTF respond to requests for emergency assistance immediately and provide much-needed support to retirees.

Let us know if you know of a retiree who needs help! Many may have limited access to communications services, and you may be a lifeline between TRTF and someone in need. Contact us at 1.800.880.1650 (ask for Sarah) or send an email to help@trtf.org.

Thank You!

Thank you for giving hope during this time of uncertainty and every day for retirees in need. Your support helps TRTF to be ready at a moment’s notice when sudden and unavoidable disasters occur.

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25 Mar 2021
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RSVP for Zoom to the Capitol Today, Send Out Your Red Letters!

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is excited to see so many dedicated members sharing their photos and telling us their stories as we get closer to our legislative rally week, Zoom to the Capitol (April 5-6, 2021).

RSVP TODAY!

It is very important that all TRTA members RSVP to Zoom to the Capitol. If you want to participate in the events and receive the links to view our special sessions, including exclusive interviews with legislators, please RSVP today! CLICK HERE TO RSVP.

Please log in using your TRTA Member ID number (found on the back of The VOICE) and password. For most users, your password is trta123 (all lowercase, no spaces). If you need assistance resetting your password, please contact the membership department at membership@trta.org or call 1.800.880.1650.

We’re excited to share that Senator Eddie Lucio and Representative Giovanni Capriglione will appear on our live legislative panel on April 6 at 5:00 p.m. This will be an event you will not want to miss! Be sure to RSVP today so you don’t miss it!

Red Letter Campaign Full Speed Ahead!

We know some TRTA members have still not received their first quarter issue of The VOICE and are awaiting anxiously the arrival of their TRTA Red Letter Campaign materials. While all issues have been mailed, some delays in shipping may occur depending upon your local postal service.

If you are anxious to send a letter now, you may print the blank form letters for your Senator and your Representative and use a red envelope from the store to mail them in. Not sure who your Senator and Representative are? Please visit this link to look them up. If you reside outside of the state of Texas, please contact us at info@trta.org for suggestions on who to send your letter to.

Address for Senators:
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711-2068

Address for Representatives:
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

However, even if your issue of The VOICE arrives late, we encourage you to still send in your letters! Yes, TRTA hopes to flood the Capitol with a sea of red letters during Zoom to the Capitol week, but we know your legislators want to hear from you and will be glad to receive your correspondence throughout the 87th Legislative Session. Your voice is important and telling your story in your words means a lot to the elected officials who serve you.

Don’t forget to snap a photo when you put your red letters in the mail and post them to Facebook with the hashtag #TRTARedLetterDay or to the TRTA app in the Red Letter Campaign forum. All members who participate via the TRTA app will be entered in a prize drawing to receive TRTA branded merchandise. Learn how to download the app here.

If you missed TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee explaining the Red Letter Campaign on Facebook, you can view the video here.

Donate Your Date Campaign Update 

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) new Donate Your Date campaign! TRTF has raise $4,500 since the campaign began on March 22. We enjoy receiving your heartfelt stories honoring a special moment in your lives. You can read more about the campaign in this Inside Line article or you may submit a donation online here.

Thank You!

Thank you for being a member of TRTA! Be sure to download the TRTA app to receive all of the latest legislative updates.

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24 Mar 2021
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Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services Committee Discusses TRS Sunset Bill

On March 24, 2021, the House Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services Committee (PIFS) met to discuss several bills, including HB 1585 by Representative Stan Lambert (R, Abilene). The bill reflects changes recommended by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission Staff Report.

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) worked closely with members of the commission throughout the sunset process, and all of TRTA’s recommendations to the commission were included in the final report. The recommendations were developed by TRTA’s Legislative Committee and detailed in TRTA’s public testimony.

TRTA has been pivotal during the evaluation of TRS and subsequent sunset staff review. Our recommendations to improve the agency may be found by clicking here. You may also read our update about the commission’s January 14 meeting by clicking here.

Rep. Lambert thorough work briefly laid out the tenets of the bill, stating that “TRS manages its trust fund well but needs to focus more on its members.” The bill, if passed, would also set the next sunset review date for TRS in 2033.

The bill covers a variety of issues, including requiring TRS to develop a communications and outreach plan to better help members with retirement inquiries, changes to return-to-work and appeals processes, and adding an ombudsman position that reports directly to the TRS Board of Trustees.

A committee substitute to the bill by Rep. Sergio Munoz was also discussed. The additional language clarifies that the ombudsman position assists both members AND retirees and states that disability retirees are not subject to employment after retirement penalties.

TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee testified in favor of the bill. Lee stated that the bill “deals with a major issue for our members, which is the loss of their benefits if they exceed employment after retirement rules.”

Lee also stated the importance of the ombudsman position, saying it will help the agency and retirees with advanced cases of resolution that need to occur.

The bill was left pending in committee.

Contact Your Legislators About a Possible COLA Today!

As our members know, there are many items on our legislative agenda this session, including pursuing a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for TRS retirees. Please be sure to send this URGENT ACTION ALERT to your State Senator and Representative asking them to co-sponsor the following bills:

  • SB 2092 – Sen. Hughes
  • HB 3214 – Rep. Capriglione
  • HB 3206 – Rep. Herrero

WEP Update

TRTA has received many emails from members asking about progress on eliminating the unfair Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). This issue continues to be at the top of our federal legislative agenda. TRTA has been working closely with members of Congress and will have an update with new information coming soon!

Stay tuned to the Inside Line for this important update in the coming weeks.

Thank You!

Thank you for being a member of TRTA! Be sure to download the TRTA app to receive all of the latest legislative updates.

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