The regular session of the 84th Texas Legislature has ended well for members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA). Governor Greg Abbott recently signed House Bill 2 into law, which provides $768 million to fill the TRS-Care funding shortfall.
The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) voted earlier this month not to raise premiums on TRS-Care, and TRTA’s expectation is that TRS-Care premiums will remain the same for the upcoming biennium.
Legislative session may be over, but TRTA is busier than ever and gearing up for a strong second half to 2015!
As we look towards the work we must do for the interim, TRTA is ready to address the long-term solvency issues facing the health care program. Members from both the Texas Senate and House will serve on a committee to study options to maintain TRS-Care, and the bulk of their work will be done between now and January 2017.
This committee was established by another bill that was signed into law, Senate Bill 1940. The members of that committee have not yet been appointed. TRTA will continue monitoring the progress of the committee and will report back with new information soon.
TRTA has hosted numerous committee meetings at our state offices throughout June, and will host our District Presidents Leadership Training Conference starting on July 7. Additionally, we have finished production on the latest edition of The VOICE, which will start appearing in your mailboxes within the next couple of weeks.
Our greatest work, however, is pushing for the repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). We need your help as we make the repeal of the WEP a top priority in the 114th Congress!
The WEP is an unfair federal law preventing retired educators from receiving their earned Social Security (SS) benefits. The WEP, which took effect in 1983, provides a means of eliminating the “windfall” of SS benefits received by beneficiaries who also receive a pension based on work not covered by SS. Many educators are blindsided by this news, and it can have a significant impact on their financial security.
Click on the image below to view our exclusive WEP video, featuring Congressman Kevin Brady!
Kevin Brady (R – The Woodlands) introduced HR 711 into Congress earlier this year, but the bill is stuck in the House Ways and Means committee. The bill needs more cosponsors from other states to advance.
HR 711 proposes to reduce the WEP for current and future retirees without impacting the SS trust fund. If passed, HR 711 could increase the lifetime SS benefits of retired teachers by between $20,000 and $32,400.
Many of the bill’s cosponsors are from Texas, and that shows a great dedication from our members to get traction for this bill. However, we must now expand our reach to Congressmen across the U.S. Please contact your friends, family and colleagues in other states, and ask them to contact their Congressmen and tell them to support HR 711!
On average, TRTA members report the WEP reduces their monthly income by $400. HR 711 will reduce the WEP for current retirees by as much as 33 percent. Future retirees will see the WEP’s impact reduced by as much as 50 percent.
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. Repealing the WEP is TRTA’s #1 priority, 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.