Retirees didn’t have much room to splurge with their 13th checks; they need a COLA

Retired educators were more likely to spend the 13th check, which they received in September, on credit card debt (about 3 in 10); medical debt (almost 1 in 4); home repairs (more than 1 in 5); doctor visits (almost 1 in 5); or prescriptions (1 in 6). Those figures were the result of a survey by the Texas Pension Coalition, which includes TSTA.

Retirees were grateful for the 13th checks — the maximum amount was $2,000 — but when the average monthly TRS benefit is $2,078 and most retired school employees in Texas don’t receive Social Security, they spent the extra money on basic necessities, not frills.

As the coalition’s report notes, “What retired school employees desperately need is a permanent cost of living (COLA) adjustment, in order to ensure that they aren’t back in the same financial situation they were before the 13th check.”