Retired teachers complain of retirement fund changes at Trumbull forum

January 24, 2018 GMT

TRUMBULL — Retired teachers took the initiative during a community forum held by state Sen. Marilyn Moore to complain about changes to the Teacher’s Retirement Fund.

Several retired teachers told Moore, D-22nd District, during the Monday gathering that they were not happy that the General Assembly raised their mandatory contribution from 6 to 7 percent and pulled around $19.4 million from the Retirement Fund’s surplus to help pay for the Medicare Savings Program for Connecticut’s seniors.

“I’ve been concerned about the condition of the retirement and the health insurance fund because it appears to me that whenever the state needs money, they use our funds as a slush fund,” said Rita McDougald-Campbell, a retired teacher from Trumbull.


Moore, whose forum drew about 15 people, defended her vote to re-fund the Medicare Savings Program, which helps low-income seniors and those with disabilities pay for their insurance premiums and prescription medication.

“It’s not that I’m not going to take responsibility for it,” Moore said. “I’m there to vote, there’s no way I could’ve voted against not taking that money when I knew I had 144,000 people in Connecticut who were telling me they weren’t going to be able to buy medicine, they weren’t going to pay for their food because they were no longer going to get that check that helps them once a year.”

After the General Assembly passed the state budget in October, the Department of Social Services notified Medicare Savings Program beneficiaries that some could lose their benefits under new funding guidelines. When complaints flooded into members of the General Assembly’s office, lawmakers, including Moore, voted to restore $54.5 million in funding.

Included in the new budget was an increase to teachers’ mandatory contributions to the retirement fund that was expected to create a surplus that could be used to help re-fund the Medicare Savings Plan.

Teachers in Connecticut do not receive Social Security benefits.

Moore said during the General Assembly’s next session, which begins on Feb. 7, one of the discussions they will have is where they can find the money to restore the funds that the teachers had contributed.

The 22nd District covers Trumbull and parts of Bridgeport and Monroe.