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posted: 8/21/2012 5:00 AM

Limit postretirement pay not just for teachers

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Thank you for your July 23 editorial "Restrict public pensions to retirees" (July 23), which exposed a flaw in the local government pension system. Police officers and municipal officials are rehired full time, after retirement, for a salary close to what they made before retirement.

It is important for the public to know that this form of "double dipping" is not available to retired teachers. Here are a few facts about the Teachers' Retirement System rules: Any retired teacher who returns to work in a school district is limited to 100 days or 500 hours per school year in a TRS-covered job such as substitute teaching. Retired teacher who violate the restrictions have their retirement annuities suspended and have to repay any annuities paid after 100 workdays.

Why doesn't this apply to all public employees? Moreover, the only way retired teachers can receive Social Security benefits is if they had worked at another job, (for example, in the summers), where they paid into Social Security and earned quarters for Medicare. However, a federal law, The Windfall Elimination Provision, cuts their Social Security benefit by as much as 90 percent because they worked under a separate pension plan when they were teaching. Retired teachers may have contributed to Social Security, but few will receive a Social Security benefits and Medicare.

Let's not put teachers into the same category as the police chiefs and municipal administrators when it comes to evaluating a solution to the pension debt. The problem stems from the state failing to fund a system that was working before they voted in "pension holidays." The solution should not be to cut pensions or insurance from people who have no other source of income.

Candace Purdy


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