Blog

27 May
0

Action Alert Thanking Senators for HB 2, HB 2168 Explained

In yesterday’s Inside Line, members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) were grateful to hear about the passage of House Bill 2 in the Senate, as well as the passage of House Bill 2168. As you know, House Bill 2 includes funding to shore up the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. We appreciate the positive vote from the Senate for the $768 million to keep TRS-Care afloat and protect retiree premiums for the coming biennium.

Click here to send a thank you to your Senator for supporting HB 2!

HB 2168 Explained

TRTA also received several questions from members about HB 2168, which will cause Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) annuity checks to be issued on the last working day of each month that they are owed instead in the following month. The bill, if signed by the Governor, will go into effect in September 2015.

Historically, TRS annuitants have received their paychecks in the month after they were earned. TRS retirees’ annuity payments are currently received on first working day of the following month they are owed. For instance, the July 2015 annuity payment will be received on August 3rd.

The chart below provides an explanation of how your paychecks have been distributed in 2015 thus far, and how they will be distributed once HB 2168 takes effect.

2015 TRS Annuity Check Distribution

Check Number
Month Issued
Date Received
1
January 2015
December 2014 paycheck received on January 2.
2
February 2015
January 2015 paycheck received on February 2.
3
March 2015
February 2015 paycheck received on March 2.
4
April 2015
March 2015 paycheck received on April 1.
5
May 2015
April 2015 paycheck received on May 1.
6
June 2015
May 2015 paycheck will be received on June 1.
7
July 2015
June 2015 paycheck will be received on July 1.
8
August 2015
July 2015 paycheck will be received on August 3.
9
September 2015
August 2015 paycheck will be received on September 1.
HB 2168 takes effect September 1. (If approved by the Governor.)
10
September 2015
September 2015 paycheck will be received on September 30.
11
October 2015
October 2015 paycheck will be received on October 30.
12
November 2015
November 2015 paycheck will be received on November 30.
13
December 2015
December 2015 paycheck will be received on December 31.

HB 2168 will address a very concerning issue for many retirees. Under the new payment methodology, TRS retirees will receive their December 2015 annuity a full five days earlier than under the current payment methodology. With December 31, 2015 falling on a Thursday, retirees would have not received their annuity payment for December 2015 until Monday, January 4, 2016. Under the HB 2168, the payment will be in retirees’ accounts by Wednesday, December 30, 2015.

With the passage of HB 2168, retirees are one step closer to being treated like all other state retirees. Their annuity checks will be deposited on the last working day of the month they are owed. This is great news for TRS retirees as their payments will come on time and will not be delayed by weekends or holidays! We are very grateful for Rep. Sergio Munoz (D – Palmview), who filed the bill.

Thank You!

Don’t forget to send a thank you email to your Texas Senator for their support of HB 2 by clicking here!

Please be sure to stay tuned into the Inside Line throughout the 84th Legislative Session, as we will be bringing you all the latest updates on our broad legislative agenda, including any bills concerning TRS-Care, the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund, pension increases for all TRS retirees, and also congressional issues such as the WEP and GPO.

Thank you for your membership in the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA). If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! Visit our YouTube channel for regular video updates.

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26 May
0

TRS-Care Funding Receives Senate Approval

The bill funding TRS-Care’s budget shortfall has passed in the Texas Senate. House Bill 2 promises to add $768 million to TRS-Care during the 2016-2017 biennium. TRS-Care is the health insurance program more than 240,000 retired public educators rely upon.

The measure will now go back to the Texas House for one final vote.

TRTA members, let’s send a strong and loud message to the Texas Senate thanking them for supporting the funding needed to keep our TRS-care plan funded for the coming biennium.

This funding plan started in the Texas House with the House Appropriations Chairman, Rep. John Otto (R – Dayton), making it a major state budget priority. TRTA thanks all members of the Texas Legislature for supporting this funding.

We will keep you posted as the bill meets its final procedural deadlines.

We will have an action alert coming soon!

Additionally, we are still tracking the progress of SB 1940 and HB 2957. Each of these bills proposes to form a TRS-Care interim study. If passed, the TRS-Care interim study will create a committee to study TRS-Care’s funding issues. SB 1940 is on the docket to be considered by the Senate.

HB 2168 Passes

Pending Gubernatorial action, Teacher Retirement System of Texas annuity checks will now be issued on the last working day of each month that they are owed. The Texas Senate passed HB 2168 yesterday.

TRS retirees’ annuity payments are currently received on first working day of the following month they are owed. For instance, the July 2015 annuity payment will be received on August 3rd.

This practice allows the state of Texas to hold hundreds of millions of dollars in owed TRS annuity payments several days past the month they are owed.

While this budgeting trick may have helped the state, it does not put the hard-earned annuity dollars in the hands of retirees in the same month they are owed.

With the passage of HB 2168, retirees are one step closer to being treated like all other state retirees. Their annuity checks will be deposited on the last working day of the month they are owed. This is great news for TRS retirees as their payments will come on time and will not be delayed by weekends or holidays.

Rep. Sergio Munoz (D – Palmview) originally filed the bill on March 2nd. HB 2168 passed the House of Representatives on May 8th.

Thank You!

Please be sure to stay tuned into the Inside Line throughout the 84th Legislative Session, as we will be bringing you all the latest updates on our broad legislative agenda, including any bills concerning TRS-Care, the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund, pension increases for all TRS retirees, and also congressional issues such as the WEP and GPO.

Thank you for your membership in the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA). If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! Visit our YouTube channel for regular video updates.

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22 May
0

84th Legislative Session: Down to the Wire! (Featuring New TRTATV Episode)

Got a question for TRTATV? Email roy@trta.org with the subject line “TRTATV,” and your question could be selected for an upcoming episode. You can also submit questions via Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #TRTATV.

The 84th session of the Texas Legislature is nearing an end, as June 1—the final day the regular session—approaches quickly. The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is visiting Senators and Representatives daily to encourage passage of multiple bills that would impact retired school personnel.

Funding to plug the $768 million shortfall to the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program is still on track. While the supplemental budget bill (HB 2) is still being discussed in the Senate, the outlook for both houses of the Texas Legislature approving this funding is very positive. The $768 million appropriation will cause TRS-Care participants’ premiums to remain stable over the next two years.

TRTA’s Executive Director, Tim Lee, testified this morning to the Texas Legislature’s Senate Finance Committee. During his testimony, Lee also answered questions from legislators about the funding of TRS-Care.

TRTA is supporting numerous proposed bills that provide financial benefits for Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) annuitants. However, it is often difficult to pass bills this late in session.

Though we work every day and push hard to help retirees who didn’t receive the 3% cost-of-living increase in 2013 as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 1458, we have met considerable resistance from decision makers to pass any legislation proving an increase to retirees.

More than 100,000 TRS retirees did not receive the raise in 2013. The TRS pension fund has the capability to provide an increase to these remaining retirees at this point in time. However, only the Texas Legislature can approve a pension increase. With only days left in session, the calendar may simply run out of time before legislators act on any benefit increase bills.

In addition to bills that would provide a benefit increase to TRS retirees, TRTA is also working on favorable adoption of a bill that passed the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. Sergio Munoz (D – Palmview). House Bill 2168 would change the date of a TRS retiree’s annuity payment from the first working day of the following month to the last working day of the current month.

If passed, retirees’ annuity payments would be received in the same month in which they are earned. This means retirees may actually receive two TRS annuity payments in September of 2015 (the August 2015 annuity payment paid on the current schedule and the September 2015 payment paid at the end of September on the new schedule). TRTA is working with the Texas Senate to pass HB 2168.

Show Your Support for HR 711: The Equal Protection of Public Servants Act

FIND YOUR CONGRESSMAN

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) has been working closely with Congressman Kevin Brady to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), which reduces the ability of public educators to receive Social Security. HR 711 provides a more fair formula for Social Security calculations. However, HR 711 requires the support of other congressional members to advance.

The passage of HR 711 would represent a huge victory for the retirement benefits of public educators, firemen and police officers across the nation. Please show your support for this bill by making sure your Congressman has signed on to it.

Thank You!

Please be sure to stay tuned into the Inside Line throughout the 84th Legislative Session, as we will be bringing you all the latest updates on our broad legislative agenda, including any bills concerning TRS-Care, the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund, pension increases for all TRS retirees, and also congressional issues such as the WEP and GPO.

Thank you for your membership in the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA). If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! Visit our YouTube channel for regular video updates.

Read More