Members of the public Friday got their last chance to weigh in on the budget bill this session. Retiree advocates made a plea for more spending even as a gloomy new revenue forecast has lawmakers looking to cut money out of their budget proposals.
The so-called “13th check” is an additional yearly benefit for retired public employees and teachers. The amount can range from $150-$450.
But that can make a big difference, because as Indiana Retired Teachers Association executive director Nancy Tolson notes, at least 14,000 retired educators get less than $1,000 a month in benefits.
“And that makes it pretty difficult to pay for the medicine, the energy, and the things that they need to have to have some kind of a dignified existence,” Tolson said.
House and Senate budget proposals didn’t include the 13th check. And Retired Indiana Public Employees Association representative Larry Buell says retirees have come to rely on it each year.
“This will be quite a catastrophe for some of these people because there are quite a few of them that are really having a hard time making ends meet,” Buell said.
House and Senate fiscal leaders will spend the next week and a half crafting a finalized budget before the session ends April 29th.