This is an e-mail, which arrived as a comment from a retired teacher who signs herself “Hazel.” * * * * I am a retired teacher. Earlier this morning, I checked my checking account balance and was going to start paying my bills online. I was shocked to see there was no “bonus” money added to the TRS deposit. So, I searched for the reason why. What wonderful news. I will not be receiving the $500.00 which I had intended to use to catch up on my gas and electricity, water and phone bills which have been a month in arrears for several years now. In addition, about $20.00 more is being withheld this year for estimated income tax increases, my house payment has increased due to increases in taxes and my TRS medical insurance reimburses less for medical bills than my previous insurance. I have not been able to pay just my regular bills for quite some time and had to file bankruptcy a few years back due to the loss of my husband’s income and huge medical bills. I am unable to take 3 prescribed medications because I am unable to pay for them. I have pawned jewelry to make ends meet and have lost it when I could not make the payments on it. I cancelled the newspaper delivery, let my plants die in my yard during the drought because I couldn’t afford to water them, do not go anywhere because I can not afford the gas it ta kes and partake in no entertainment activities. I will probably have to give my 2 dogs up for adoption because I can not pay for their veterinary bills. I can not afford to cool and heat my home. The days and nights have been quite cold lately. I actually turned the heater on for 2 hours this morning because my joint pain was so bad. I have not bought a new pair of panties or bras in the 12 years after I retired. I have bought some clothes at the Salvation Army Thrift Store a couple of times. I would seek a job; however, I have had quadruple bypass heart surgery and have a heart problem as well as other serious health problems. I have lost 23 pounds of weight during the past 3 months because I have not been able to buy the food that I am supposed to eat due to my health problems. I will NOT receive Social Security due to the fact that the school district for which I worked did not withhold Social Security deposits. I do not personally know any teacher age 65 and above that receives Social Security payments. Further more, it is considered to be “double dipping” to do so. I may be wrong … I was under the impression that teachers who have paid into Social Security either receive the TRS payment OR Social Security payments (which ever is greater) unless they have previously served in the military. I would like to see you guys that state that retired teachers do not deserve more money try living on my annuity payment. What a joy to know that the state legislature has stabbed the retirees in the back once again. Most teachers are complacent and just go with the flow. I really believe a lot of teachers are too sheepish to stand up for themselves. Maybe a lot of retirees are to weak due to lack of funds to buy food. I, for one, will vote against all state incumbent politicians.
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