Thomas Barker-White has worked for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) for more than 20 years. He is currently a statewide intake supervisor, overseeing a staff of nine.
Barker-White and his wife, Lutishia, a former state employee, value their ERS-administered health and retirement benefits. They have also set aside money for retirement through Texa$aver.
But five years ago, the most important benefit became short-term and long-term disability insurance.
In 2011, Barker-White’s wife Lutishia became disabled due to arthritis and related injuries. Her disability insurance payments made up for a portion of the income she lost when she could no longer work.
As a result, the couple was able to manage their finances without any substantial changes.
Having both short-term and long-term disability insurance made a huge difference by providing the financial support the couple needed when one of them could no longer work, says Barker-White.
“I know people who work in the private sector who do not have access to disability insurance through their employer. They can buy it on their own, but the premium is not as reasonable as what we have paid as state employees.”
Second in importance to disability coverage is health insurance. The state covers the full cost of the employee’s premium—another valuable benefit that makes working for the state attractive, says Barker-White.
“Having good insurance coverage is so important. You may never need it (and I hope you don't), but if you do, you are probably REALLY going to need it. Life can come at you quick, so it’s best to cover all your bases."