Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) attended a press conference this week hosted by Congressman Kevin Brady in the Houston area. As you may have read in a recent Inside Line article, Representative Brady recently introduced H.R. 5697, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act.
The bill, if passed, would repeal the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), and replace it with a more fair formula helping those who have been impacted by the WEP and those who will be in the future.
On Monday, December 16, Congressman Brady spoke about the bill’s potential effects while retired school personnel and other retired public servants discussed how the WEP has impacted them.
“Since 1983, it’s treated these workers, I believe, unfairly. It’s costly. I think it’s wrong, and it’s time that it be changed,” said Brady.
H.R. 5697, if passed, would:
- Permanently repeal the current Windfall Elimination Provision and replace it with a new and fair formula that treats public servants like the rest of American workers.
- Guarantee public servants receive the benefits they earned while they paid into Social Security.
- Reduce the WEP by up to a third for current retirees, and up to half for future retirees – increasing lifetime Social Security benefits by between $20,000 and $32,400 (as estimated by the Social Security actuary).
- Not impact the Social Security trust fund.
What does this mean for retired educators in Texas? If H.R. 5697 passes, your Social Security amount will no longer be figured by the arbitrary WEP formula established in 1983, but will be based on your real-life Social Security contributions and work history — just like everyone else.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, a committee on which Representative Brady serves.
After review by the Committee, the bill would need to be brought to the House of Representatives for a vote, then if passed, would need to be presented to the Senate for a vote as well. If the bill passed both Houses of Congress, it would then be sent to the President to be signed and become law.
We are still in the very early stages of the bill’s progress. While the news is good, there is much work to be done to get H.R. 5697 passed! TRTA will launch an email advocacy campaign on this issue with our Texas Congressional Delegation in the weeks to come.
For now, TRTA members can spread the word to their fellow retirees and their friends in the active school community that we have not given up on the idea of fairness for our members and their Social Security earnings. We are gearing up to pass a bill that puts more money back into your pockets!
Send in Your TRS-Care Letter!
Hundreds of members of TRTA have used the fourth quarter issue of The VOICE (page 3) to send in a personal letter about TRS-Care and how it impacts their lives. TRTA is calling on all members to tell their story and let our Texas legislators know that TRS-Care is a vital part of retired educators’ benefits!
As TRS-Care faces a funding shortfall that nears $1 billion, the Texas Legislature must make some tough decisions about resolving the crisis. The Legislature will be faced with choices such as drastically increasing premiums, reducing benefits or BOTH!
We cannot allow the entire burden of the shortfall to fall onto the backs of retirees! We must make our voices heard NOW and work with the Legislature to save TRS-Care!
Please take some time to review page 3 of your news bulletin and write a short letter in the space provided. The back of the page includes several charts and figures that will provide valuable information for your legislator.
Please mail your letter to the TRTA state office by addressing it to: TRTA, Attn: TRS-Care, 313 E. 12th Street Suite 200, Austin, TX 78701. TRTA will hand-deliver your letter to your Texas State Senator and Texas State Representative!
The response we have received so far has been very positive, and we thank you for taking the time to discuss what TRS-Care means to you. Please let your fellow retirees know that their input is important. Encourage them, as well as active educators you know that hope to use TRS-Care during their retirement years, to send in their letter today!
You may also download the letter here.
Thank you for your membership to the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA), and thank you for your support of the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation’s (TRTF) charitable endeavors. Our very existence is dependent upon YOU!