Retired Texas teachers are approaching getting a “13th check” after House approves legislation

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After months of political debate, Texas House has submitted a bill that allows retired teachers, counselors, and other school staff to pay up to $ 2,400 in lump sum payments.

Senate Bill 7, which gives retired teachers of the Texas Retirement Program in Texas supplementary payments to offset increased living costs, won preliminary approval in the House of Representatives on Friday. After obtaining final approval in the House of Representatives during the second special legislative session of this year, he will move to the governor’s desk.

SB 7 was also submitted during the first special legislative session, but was stalled after House Democrats broke the quorum and went to Washington, DC to prevent the Republican Party from passing the priority election bill.


“Our public education staff don’t have to choose between eating and going to the doctor,” said Republican Rep. Glenn Rogers. “This additional check makes a big difference in much of their lives.

“What we offer our retirees is not only their career benefits, but also with current educators. [future] Educators that the nation is there for them. “

The bill became a political club as the Democrats stayed in Washington until the beginning of the second special session. Republican lawmakers have accused the Democrats of leaving retired school staff hanging in balance with retirement checks.

The bill effectively provides supplementary payments to all educators of the Texas Teacher Retirement System who quit their jobs earlier this year. This payment is called the “13th check”. This was added to the retired teacher’s monthly pension check.


Tens of thousands of Texas educators are eligible to receive this additional scholarship.

But the Democrats have pushed back the Republican story of blaming the late passage of the bill.

Many pointed out this year’s regular legislative session of Congress when a House bill was proposed that would provide retired educators with similar additional payments. The House Building 3507, proposed by state legislator Vicky Goodwin, D-Austin, did not vote in the Republican-controlled chamber of commerce after passing the committee.

Republicans at the time cited the lack of state funding as the reason they didn’t vote on a bipartisan bill with more than 100 co-authors. According to the state, SB7 will cost $ 701.1 million.


“The funds available from have increased significantly [regular sessions] Rogers explained on the house floor why the Republicans changed their minds. “This additional funding allows us to find the 13th check than the general session.”

In May, towards the end of a regular legislative meeting, Texas regulators released a revised review estimate stating that Texas was in a position to “continue economic growth over the next two years” in a pandemic. Did. Originally, a glittering picture was drawn.

Despite political jokes, plans to give teachers additional checks have enjoyed relatively strong support from both parties. It passed the Texas Senate with 29-0 votes.

A few critics of the bill were less likely to oppose additional payments and argued more about structural changes in the pension system for retired educators.


The Texas-American Teachers’ Union, a union for educators, has insisted on a permanent increase in living expenses rather than a one-time payment. Retired teachers in Texas have not received an increase in living expenses since 2013.

“”[SB 7 is] A very necessary step for immediate relief. [but] There is an urgent need to increase living costs in the near future, “the union said in a post-voting statement.

“Most retired educators in Texas’ Teacher Retirement System haven’t had a pension increase for more than 16 years. The TRS is in a financial position to provide an increase in living expenses (COLA), and many state legislators are in general. In support of this idea, lawmakers promoting state budgets would like to consider COLA in a session in 2023, writing in another statement.

State legislators visited the issue in 2019, punted adjustments to living expenses, and paid educators a lump sum of $ 2,000 instead. Increasing living costs is especially important for teachers’ unions, as most educators in Texas do not participate in social security and have a TRS pension as their sole source of income at retirement.


Disclosure: Texas AFT is a financial backer of Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan news agency partially funded by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in tribune journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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Retired Texas teachers are approaching getting a “13th check” after House approves legislation

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