RPEN advocates for retirees | NevadaAppeal.com

RPEN advocates for retirees

The Retired Public Employees of Nevada (RPEN) advocates for workers who have retired or will retire from public service in Nevada. Many people — even public sector retires and workers — have no idea RPEN exists.

In 1976, a group of retired public employees noticed that when they had problems with health insurance, the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), Social Security of Public Employees Benefit Program (PEBP), there was no one to advocate for them. This small group of civic-minded seniors formed RPEN to fill that void.

From that humble beginning, the organization now serves a membership of about 10,000 statewide. RPEN maintains a state headquarters office in Carson City, which is funded by members’ dues and donates.

Some of the key facts about RPEN include the following: RPEN is nonpartisan and nonprofit. The primary focus of the organization is to address the challenges that members face after retirement whether it is health care, social security or dealing with government red tape and bureaucracies of state or federal governments. RPEN does not align to any political party or philosophy; rather the focus is on aiding those in need of assistance. RPEN holds the status of a 501c3 nonprofit entity.

RPEN is nonunion. Its members and retirees come from a wide variety of professions and trades. As such, most of them were members of various unions that served their trades and professions while they were employees. It is the only organization that serves as an advocate for all retired public sector workers in Nevada regardless of former trade or profession.

RPEN is not PERS. PERS is a completely separate organization from RPEN. When RPEN members are drawn from public sector employees, and therefore not PERS, the reverse is not true. Being a PERS benefit recipient does no make one a member of RPEN. Membership is open to public sector retirees as well as active public employees who have been employed in Nevada for five years or more. In order to become a member of RPEN, one must submit a membership application and pay dues of $5 a month.

RPEN is a watchdog by monitoring actions of the state legislature that could impact retirement benefits. It also monitors trends in Nevada and across the country that could affect retirees, both positive and negative. Members receive information through newsletters and the RPEN website.

Each member is affiliated with one of 19 local volunteer staffed chapters that are located in close proximity to their physical residence. Each chapter holds meetings and shares information. Members may voice their concerns and seek assistance to senior-relate issues.

The Fallon chapter of the Retired Public Employees will host a luncheon on Thursday starting between 11:30 a.m.-noon at the multi-use building at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.

Memberships are $5, nonmembers, $12. For information on the lunch or monthly meetings, email jhorsely@cccomm.net.

This viewpoint was presented by Gaye Johnston, a member of RPEN.