I am writing in regard to complaints I read and hear about the state teacher’s pension plan and how it is siphoning money away from the state government. Here are a few facts that might shine a different light on this skewed picture:
Teachers contribute 7 percent of their salary to the pension fund, so a considerable portion of the fund has come directly from teacher contributions. It isn’t state tax money. It is money that has come directly out of the pockets of Connecticut’s teachers. It is taken out of every paycheck.
Teachers don’t receive Social Security. There is a very bizarre Connecticut law called the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset that decrees anyone participating in the teacher pension plan cannot participate in the Social Security system. They cannot join the system even if they want to. In fact – and this is even more bizarre – they cannot collect Social Security from their spouse. For example, if I die before my husband he isn’t entitled to collect my Social Security. If he had worked in any other business he would collect half of it, but because he belongs to the teacher’s retirement pension plan he cannot. I worked hard for my Social Security. Why is he not entitled to it? And it gets even more bizarre – he isn’t allowed to collect all of the Social Security he has earned from jobs outside the school system. He worked outside the public school system for 17 years, paying his full Social Security allotment, but he only receives 40 percent of what he would have gotten if he were not in the state retirement pension plan. Why? I have no idea.
This is the situation Connecticut’s teachers face upon their retirement. The only money they can count on is the money from the State Teacher’s Retirement Pension Plan – to which they have contributed for their entire career.
I really do not want to hear any more whining about how the Teacher’s Pension Fund is bankrupting the state.
— to www.nhregister.com