Benefit Increases

Increases In Teacher Retirement System Benefits For Retired Educators 1947-2002
The Teachers Retirement System began paying monthly benefits to retired teachers in January 1945. As early as 1947 legislation enabled the System to begin improving the benefits. Most of the early improvements increased the minimum benefits paid at the time. The first percentage increase was paid in 1962. The accompanying review of major TRS benefit increases includes increases enacted by the Georgia General Assembly and onetime increases authorized by the TRS Board of Trustees. Not specifically listed are the separate cost-of-living increases paid since 1969.

Since 1959 the Georgia Retired Educators Association has been working for increased benefits for Georgia's retired educators. Many of the original proposals for these increases were developed by GREA; all were supported by GREA.

1962
An increase of 1% for each year of service over 30.

1969
First cost-of-living increases. A maximum increase of 1% every six months authorized.

1971
Special cost-of-living increase paid to retirees age 62 and over. The amount, from 1.5% to 21.8%, determined by age and date of retirement. Cost-of-living increases authorized for beneficiaries of deceased retirees.

1974
A special increase of 2% for all retirees.

1977
TRS benefits increased to retirees by the same percentage as formula increases. The 1977 increase under this amendment was 2.857% for those who retired prior to 1975, 2.272% for those who retired between July 1, 1976, and June 30, 1977.

1979
2.17% increase to all TRS retirees.

1980
8.25% increase to all TRS retirees.

1981
TRS retirees with 30 or more years of service received benefit increase to eliminate the previously imposed age reduction. Cost-of-living increases first granted to retirees of local retirement systems. 2.13% increase to all TRS retirees.

1983
4.17% increase to all TRS retirees.

1984
Increase (from 1% to 20% depending on date of retirement) to retirees with at least 20 years of service and who were receiving less than $1,500 per month. TRS retirees with less than 30 years of service and at least 10 years of service received increases reduced by 5% for each year under 20 years of service.

1986
For retirees who retired on or before July 1, 1981, increases of $ 1.00 per month for each year of creditable service the retiree had at retirement and $ 1.00 per month for each year which had elapsed from the date of retirement until July 1, 1981. A minimum benefit of $17 per month for each year of service was enacted.

1988
Benefits of retirees who retired on or before July 1, 1984, were increased the amount, ranging from .5% to 15%, based on the date of retirement.

1990
An increase of 1. 75 % to (partially or wholly) offset the State taxation of TRS benefits.

1991
An additional increase of 1.25% was authorized to further offset the effect of State taxation of TRS benefits. The 1990 and 1991 increases are also paid to those who retired after those increases went into effect.

1994
The TRS Board of Trustees authorized and paid a 3% increase in benefits beginning July 1, 1994, to all TRS retirees who retired on or before July 1, 1994.

1999
The TRS Board of Trustees authorized and paid a cost of living adjustment to retirees ranging from 3%-10% determined by the date of retirement.

2002
The TRS Board of Trustees authorized an additional one time .5% increase in the cost-of-living adjustment to retirees. This adjustment increased the COLA, to 3.5% for the 2002-2003 year.

2006
GREA successfully led the campaign to pass HB 400 which gave pay raises to the older TRS members (retired before July 1, 1987). Depending on the year of retirement, the raise was between 2 and 10%.

EXAMPLE: To show the impact of increases in TRS benefits, let's look at the actual (rounded) increases for an actual retiree. In our example, the teacher retired in 1974 with 32 years of service. The basic monthly benefit at retirement was $521.00.

Basic monthly benefit at retirement..................................................................$521

All cost-of-living increases added to monthly benefit (as of July 1, 2002)...........$792

Increases to the monthly benefit resulting from formula increases:
(Senate Bill 23 of 1977)..............................................................$128
House Bill 169-Monthly increase (1984).......................................$38
House Bill 338-Monthly increase (1986).......................................$39
House Bill 357-Monthly increase (1988)......................................$47
House Bill 738-To partially offset state tax (1990)...........................$18
Additional increase to partially offset state tax (1991)....................$13
Special TRS Board increase of July 1, 1994.................................$36
Special TRS Board increase of July 1, 1999.................................$145
Monthly benefit as of July 1, 2002..............................................$1,777

SOURCE: Records of the TRS of Georgia. The Teachers Retirement System has stated that the accompanying information generally describes the benefit adjustments but does not necessarily include all specifications of the amendments to TRS law or all specific conditions of the adjustments.