Fact vs. Fiction: The Reality of Retired Teachers’ Pension and Health Benefits
(A summary of an Op-ed. piece written by ARTC President Ed Messina with some additional points.)
- A main priority for ARTC is to dispel popular myths about retired teacher benefits.
- Active Connecticut teachers pay 9.7% of their paycheck:7% to Teachers’ Retirement Fund, 1.25% to Health Insurance Fund, 1.45% for Medicare (if hired or changed districts after 1986).
- Retired teachers who do not quality for Medicare pay anywhere from $550 to $1300 per month for health coverage. Those covered by Medicare pay the bulk of their health care.
- Teachers paid the required amount into the Retirement Fund and the Health Fund during their employment years; the State did not always contribute their share. There is an unfunded liability of $13 billion in the Retirement Fund and approximately $200 million in the Health Fund.( The State is using 1% of the 7% active teachers pay to offset its share, not to lower the unfunded liability.)
- It will be difficult to attract and retain quality teachers when retirement benefits are not guaranteed or are changed, as is being considered by the Pension Sustainability Commission.
- The Health Insurance Fund (HIPA) went to a Medicare Advantage option in 2018. Even so, the fund will become insolvent in 2020 unless the legislature contributes their statutory one-third share, not a flat amount. The fund defrays some costs; retired teachers still pay the bulk of their health insurance.
- Current response to the State financial situation misses the differences between State employees and teachers: teachers contribute a larger portion of their salaries toward their pension and are not able to fully participate in Social Security which allows exclusions for income tax. Our 50% tax exclusion has been postponed. There is a casual disregard for the fact that we have paid our fair share to maintain a solvent system; the State has not. On average, 26% of teachers leave Connecticut upon retirement, about 9000 people..
- Retired Teachers do not have a union. We do not have a contract with the State. We rely on the Legislature to hear our voices and to keep the State’s promise.
This from Social Security Fairness (January 15, 2019), “The old bills from last year and the year before that didn’t make it through Congress and get signed by the President are officially DEAD. We are delighted that we can announce a new repeal bill in the House of Representatives! Republican Member of the House from Illinois, Rodney Davis, has quickly re-introduced the same WEP/GPO repeal bill that he sponsored in the last Congressional session. His bill, introduced on the first day of the new session, already has 57 members signed on to co-sponsor – from 24 different states.“ As of this date only Rep. Joe Courtney and Rep. Rosa DeLauro have signed on. Call, write or email your Representative and urge them to sign on, if they haven’t already done so.
NEW RETIREES: WHY JOIN SFCRTA AND ARTC?
The op-ed piece summarizes what we are communicating to our legislators. Please see the enclosed timeline to see how things have changed. SFCRTA and ARTC keep you informed and speak for you.
SAVE the DATE:
Our spring luncheon will be May 1, 2019 at the Norwalk Inn. Our guest speaker will be: Helen Sullivan, the new Administrator of the TRB.
Sign up sheets will be mailed in March/April and space will be limited to the first 200 that send in their reservations. Also, due to space limitations we will not be able to accommodate people who want to come and listen to the speaker but do not sign up for the luncheon. These restrictions are due to fire code violations and parking availability.
Our membership goes from – January to December. If you have not yet joined — CLICK HERE FOR MEMBER REGISTRATION
Remember: Numbers matter and we still face many important issues regarding our pension and health insurance.
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Frank Cooper, President