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Texas House Pensions Committee to Meet on Bills Providing TRS Benefit Cost-of-Living Increases, More

05.01.2015 — The Texas House Pensions Committee will meet at 2 p.m. (or upon final adjournment of the full House), Monday, May 4, on the following bills:
  • HB 45 by Armando Martinez would provide that a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) be applied to the amount of service retirement benefits, disability retirement benefits, or death benefits paid by TRS. The TRS Board of Trustees would determine the rate of adjustment for the next year in October based on the data used to provide a COLA for Social Security benefits. Benefits would only be increased if the system is actuarially sound with money available to pay increased benefits.
  • HB 1149 by Ana Hernandez is similar to HB 45.

  • HB 1967 by Jim Keffer would allow TRS to provide a one-time supplemental payment to annuitants eligible to receive certain types of annuity payments. This payment would be authorized if the amortization period for TRS’s unfunded actuarial liabilities does not exceed 30 years by one or more years after the supplemental payment. TRS could make the payment between September 1 and December 31 only on a finding by the TRS Board that the payment can be made in conformance with these requirements. The bill would require the supplemental payment to be made by December 31, 2016, and, if practicable, on a date that coincides with a regular annuity payment. The amount would equal the lesser of the gross amount of an eligible annuitant’s regular annuity payment for August 2015, or $2,400. The supplemental payment would be payable without regard to forfeiture of benefits and would be in addition to and not in lieu of a regular monthly payment. The TRS Board would determine the eligibility for and the amount and timing of a supplemental payment as well as the manner of payment. HB 1967 is identical to SB 1833.

  • HB 2873 by Alma Allen would increase the monthly TRS service retirement benefit, disability retirement benefit, or death benefit to include a 10 percent adjustment. In addition, the monthly benefit would be increased to include a 4 percent annual COLA. The bill would also require TRS to make a one-time supplemental payment in January 2016 and, if practicable, on a date that coincides with a regular annuity payment. The amount of the payment would equal the greater of $2,000 or the gross amount of an eligible annuitant’s regular payment for December 2015. The supplemental payment would be payable without regard to forfeiture of benefits and be in addition to, not in lieu of, a regular monthly payment. The TRS Board would determine the eligibility for and the amount and timing of a supplemental payment as well as the manner of payment.

  • HB 2974 by Dan Flynn would require, rather than allow, TRS to limit the purchase of service credit. The bill would modify the number of TRS Board members appointed by the governor. The bill would extend the deadline by which employers or other entities must remit contributions under TRS and the Texas school employees uniform group coverage program from the seventh to the 10th day after the last day of a month. The bill would also require the TRS Board to study the benefits, funding, and administration of TRS and report findings and recommendations to improve TRS to various state officials by December 1, 2016.                 

  • HB 3259 by Abel Herrero would require TRS to make a one-time COLA payable to annuitants receiving a monthly death or retirement benefit annuity. The bill would specify the eligibility requirements for the adjustment, and the adjustment would not apply to payments under certain provisions. An adjustment would be made beginning with an annuity payable for the month of September 2015, and would be limited to the lesser of 3 percent of the monthly benefit subject to the increase or $100 per month. The TRS Board would determine the eligibility for and amount of any adjustment in monthly annuities. HB 3259 is identical to SB 1991.

The committee will also consider HB 701 by Alma Allen relating to certain benefits paid by the Employees Retirement System of Texas.

Watch the live broadcast.