Blog

30 Sep
0

TRS to Host Town Hall Meeting about Health Insurance Program

(PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING CORRECTION: The TRS Town Hall Meeting will be held on October 22, 2015, not October 23 as was initially published).

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees met September 24 and 25 to discuss various issues impacting the pension fund and the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. To view a webcast of the meeting, you may click this link. One significant matter of discussion was the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) and its vigilant, dedicated members have worked to preserve TRS-Care for 13 years. The health insurance program is vital to nearly 250,000 participants, and has proven to be successful and well-liked. TRS-Care offers quality health care at a reasonable cost, and is necessary for our public education retirees’ financial security.

Our friends in the Texas Legislature worked with TRTA during the 84th Legislative Session to protect TRS-Care from an impending shortfall of $768 million. The funding approved by our Senators and Representatives meant that TRS-Care participants would not have to face crippling premium increases or worry about losing their coverage.

The appropriation of $768 million to keep TRS-Care solvent was just one step the Legislature took in 2015. They also passed a bill to create an interim study group tasked to discuss TRS-Care and what can and their next move.

TRTA sees this study group as a way to find real, long-term solutions to prevent crises such as these from occurring again in the future and ensure retirees that their health care coverage will still be there for them.

Though we won one battle in securing additional funding for TRS-Care in 2015, the next and most important step is to participate in finding solutions to the program’s funding instability.

The process for discussing these long-term solutions begins soon!

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS: TRS will host a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, October 22, 2015. The time and other details are still being finalized, but members can expect the meeting to be held at TRS Headquarters in Austin, Texas.

Now is the time for our members to get involved and be as vocal as possible! YOUR VOICE MATTERS. In fact, your voice matters more than any other voice in this process!

TRS and the Texas Legislature need to hear from you and your fellow retirees!

Please stay tuned to the Inside Line in the coming weeks as details about the TRS Town Hall Meeting become available. We will need participants to attend the meeting in Austin, as well as members watching and participating online.

If you are a local unit or district leader, please share this information with your fellow retirees at your fall meetings and through email and phone trees! If you know of members who are not receiving the Inside Line, please show them how simple and quick it is to sign up at www.trta.org!

Let’s not exclude our friends who are still actively teaching and working in our public schools. Please encourage all active school employees to receive the Inside Line. We are all in this together, and our ability to protect TRS-Care today will ensure those pre-retirees that their benefits are safe as well.

Most of the success in resolving the TRS-Care program’s issues will be done in the interim, not during the 85th Legislative Session that begins in 2017. TRTA members can expect much work to be accomplished in the coming months.

We must spread the word and get retirees and pre-retirees motivated and inspired to be part of the solution! Our friends in the active community are working on this vital issue as well. We know that by sharing information and getting everyone involved, we can solve any problem that may impact the retirement security of our current and future TRS retirees.

Thank You
Your support helped us receive $768 million towards TRS-Care during the 84th Texas Legislative Session, but there is still more work to be done. Protecting TRS-Care is one of TRTA’s top priorities, and your help can make all of the difference. Be sure to stay tuned to our other digital mediums to keep informed on all the latest news and updates. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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10 Aug
0

TRTA Launches Membership Renewal Website

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) took its next step towards modernizing the TRTA membership experience today with the launch of its Renew Now website. Through this site, members can now renew their dues online!

Renew Now is a huge step forward for the organization. Previously, TRTA members relied upon mail and phone to renew their membership dues. With nearly 80,000 members, the amount of paperwork and manual data entry our staff sees will significantly decrease with the introduction of the online renewal site. This means our staff will have more time to focus on what really matters, protecting your hard-earned Teacher Retirement System (TRS) benefits!

Additionally, the online renewal site will make it more convenient for our members to renew their dues. You will no longer have to call the state office or spend money and time mailing in your renewal form. With a few easy clicks, you can renew your TRTA dues, and rest assured that your access to important news affecting your retirement benefits is at your fingertips!

Of course, we will still offer mail and phone options for our members who prefer traditional methods of payment. We are truly excited for the future of TRTA, and we hope you are too!

Renew your dues online today!

Find Your Local Unit Interactive Map Launched

TRTA has also developed an interactive map aimed at helping our members find and contact their local units.

TRTA’s District Presidents were major contributors to this project, helping us verify and collate the data underlying the map.

Now you can easily select your county and find a local unit near you. Also included is the contact information for the Local Unit Presidents. It is easier than ever to get involved at the local grassroots level.

Contact your Local Unit President to find out the fall meeting date, and join the fight to protect your TRS benefits and repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision.

Local units are the heart of TRTA, and your participation can make all the difference as we prepare for the 85th Texas Legislative Session.

TRTA Local Unit Map

Join Now Site Taking Off

In July, TRTA launched its new Join Now site for members joining the organization for the first time. Since its introduction, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Joining TRTA is easy! Our online sign-up can be completed within minutes.

If you have a friend or family member who is not yet a member of TRTA, now is the best time to encourage them to join. Not only will they enjoy TRTA’s numerous benefits, but they will also start receiving our quarterly news bulletin, The VOICE, and the knowledge that their money is going toward protecting their retirement benefits.

TRS continues to see outside attacks from organizations such as the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Let’s stand up together to protect our benefits! Please encourage your fellow teachers to stand with you and your fellow retirees and join TRTA.

Thank You

Thank you for your membership in TRTA. Your membership ensures our continued protection of your retirement benefits. The technological advances we’ve made this year are just the beginning.

Through the increasing use of digital applications, we will be better prepared to improve and maintain your benefits. As the world becomes more digitally inclined, so must TRTA, and through our new join and renewal sites, we are better prepared than ever before to achieve our goals!

We have supplemented our Before the Bell project with its own Facebook page. It provides excellent education-centric stories and is rapidly expanding its content! Please take a moment to like this page.

Sincerely,

Tim Lee, Executive Director

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05 Aug
0

Help Us Repeal the WEP by Visiting This Web Page

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) has been a thorn in retired educators’ sides for far too long. First implemented in 1983, the WEP prevents retired educators, as well as policemen and firefighters, from receiving the Social Security benefits they earned.

We have developed a web page specifically dedicated to repealing the WEP. On the page, you can find the Congressional Representatives who have and have not co-sponsored HR 711, a bill that proposes to repeal the WEP.

Please share this page with your fellow educators and family members. If your Congressman has not co-sponsored HR 711, please contact them and encourage them to do so.

Please remember the WEP is a national issue, and repealing it requires action from your Congressman, not your Texas Senator or Representative.

The WEP is designed to eliminate the “windfall” of Social Security benefits received by beneficiaries who also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security.

Ninety-five percent of educators in Texas do not pay into Social Security through their school districts. Whenever one of these educators works in a field that pays into Social Security, such as working in an alternative field before or after becoming an educator or working a summer job, they are subject to be penalized by the WEP.

On average, the WEP reduces TRTA members’ monthly incomes by $400. These reductions are very significant for retirees who live on fixed monthly incomes.

Fortunately, a solution has arrived. HR 711, also known as the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, would reduce the WEP’s penalties on current retirees by as much as 33 percent. Future retirees would see the WEP reduced by as much as 50 percent!

Congressman Kevin Brady (R – The Woodlands) introduced HR 711 on Feb. 4. The bill is currently sitting in Brady’s House Committee on Ways and Means. The bill requires more co-sponsors to advance. Help us create a national movement to repeal the WEP by supporting HR 711.

Use this web page to find your Congressman, and implore them to support HR 711. Additionally, contact your friends and family members outside of Texas and ask them to contact their Congressmen about HR 711.

The only way we can change the WEP is through congressional action. We need Congressmen from across the United States to co-sponsor HR 711.

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. It is through your membership that we are able to create information pages such as this one. The best way to encourage change at the state, local and national level is to stay informed. If you haven’t already, please follow us on our social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

If you are not already a TRTA member or if you know a friend who would like to join, please encourage them to use our new Join Now website. It’s quick and easy, and will help ensure TRTA’s continued success.

Sincerely,

Tim Lee, Executive Director

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