New Report: Teachers Without Social Security Benefits

I have a new report out this morning looking at the 5 million public-sector workers who lack Social Security benefits, including about 1.2 million teachers.

Federal law requires that states either enroll their public-sector workers in Social Security or cover them in a “qualified” retirement plan. In practice, however, I find that the rule leaves many short- and medium-term teachers with inadequate retirement benefits. For example, a new teacher in California would have to work 24 years in the teacher pension plan (CalSTRS) before qualifying for a pension that was at least as generous as Social Security. That is, many teachers in these states are not collecting Social Security benefits OR a building toward a decent pension benefit.

In the report, I calculate the break-even points for each of the 15 states– Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas–plus DC without universal coverage for teachers.

Read the full report here, or read my column for The 74 to dive deeper into the California example and what causes it.

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman