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Join the RTC for benefits

New York Teacher
Mature red headed woman stands at podium holding a newspaper in hand
Miller Photography

Director of Retiree Programs Gerri Herskowitz tells members about programs they can access through the Si Beagle Learning Centers.

As a new retiree, you are eligible to become a member of the exclusive 66,000-member UFT Retired Teachers Chapter. Since its founding in 1960, the UFT has kept its retirees engaged and provided a broad array of social, educational, legal and economic services so that the RTC program today is widely considered the best offered to public school teachers nationwide.

RTC members continue to be active participants in their union, retaining voting rights and membership on the UFT Executive Board. But RTC membership is not automatic. To become a member and benefit from all the chapter services, you need to fill out the blue card you received at your final retirement consultation meeting. If you don’t have the membership card, contact the UFT at 212-331-6314.

As a new RTC member, you have the opportunity to take advantage of lots of services and benefits. For detailed and up-to-date information about all RTC activities and services, go to the UFT website.

Here are some reasons to join the Retired Teachers Chapter:

SHIP: A Supplemental Health Insurance Program was formed 30 years ago to provide a low-cost supplement to retiree health benefits. Today, 44,000 members are enrolled — 62,000 when you include spouses and domestic partners. But SHIP enrollment is only open during the first year after retirement.

COPE: The UFT’s Committee on Political Education works here in New York City, as well as in Albany and in Washington, D.C., to fight for improved wages, benefits, pensions and working conditions, and to support candidates who will support those efforts. To continue your voluntary contributions or become a contributor, fill out a new COPE card to have your contribution deducted from your pension check that comes from the Teachers’ Retirement System.

Turning 65: The UFT booklet “When You Turn 65” (available on the UFT website) will help you through the process of signing up for Medicare and making choices about the options open to you.

Legal plan: RTC members who are also enrolled in the UFT Welfare Fund have access to a legal plan that will draw up a simple will, health care proxy and power of attorney at no cost. The plan also provides access to elder law attorneys for other legal concerns at discounted rates.

Health and pension consultations: Consultants are available daily to answer your questions, all part of the busy 17th floor devoted to retiree issues at union headquarters in Manhattan.

Social services: A full staff of professionals, including a geriatric social worker, offers short-term counseling and guidance, information and references to community services if difficult personal or family problems arise.

Si Beagle Learning Centers: Sign up for any of the many classes offered at the centers located in all five boroughs and the greater metropolitan area. The centers also offer seminars and day trips.

New Retiree Luncheon: In late October, look for your invitation to the luncheon to be held in your honor at the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan on Nov. 26.

Stay active and involved. Even if you are relocating, there are RTC sections in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Israel. Stay informed by reading the New York Teacher newspaper for the latest news on chapter activities, pensions and benefits, and the RTC newsletter, which is mailed to members quarterly. Also be sure to get yourself on the list for UFT email blasts by signing up on the UFT website.

To ensure you don’t miss a thing, keep your non-DOE email address and your phone number up to date with the union and report any change in your mailing address.