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Eligible Employees

 

  
Description
  
  

 

Eligibility

 

You are eligible to participate in the County group health, life and long term disability plans as well as the Flexible Benefits Program if you are an elected official, an appointed official or a regular employee who is employed by the County on a continuous basis for a regular work week of at least 32 hours.

 

"Dependent" or "Eligible Dependent" of an Employee or retired employee who is a member of an Eligible Class includes that person’s:

 

  • legal spouse (Note: A common law spouse is considered a legal spouse, however, you are required to obtain a Certificate of Informal Marriage from the County Clerk.);
  • children up to age 26*. For purposes of determining eligibility, an Employee's "children" includes:
    • natural children;
    • legally adopted children (including children placed with adoptive parents pending finalization of adoption proceedings);
    • stepchildren
    • children permanently residing in the Employee's or retired employee’s home and for whom the Employee or retired employee is the appointed permanent legal guardian or permanent legal custodian; up to age 18.​
    • foster children up to age 18 for whom the Employee or retired employee furnishes documents from the State of Texas;
    • children over age 26 who remain dependent on the Employee or retired employee for support and maintenance because the child becomes incapable of self support due to mental or physical incapacity. The incapacity must have commenced prior to reaching age 26 under the Plan or a prior health Plan of the Customer (if the child was insured on the date of termination of the prior health Plan); and
    • unmarried grandchildren under age 26 for whom the Employee or retired employee furnishes (a) a certificate of financial dependency, (b) birth certificate on the grandchild, (c) birth certificate on the grandchild’s mother or father indicating that the Employee is the biological or adoptive parent and (d) the grandchild is claimed as a dependent on your Federal Income Tax Return.

    *For dependents reaching age 26, coverage continues until the end of the calendar month in which the dependent child turns age 26.

    No person may be covered both as an employee and dependent and no person may be covered as a dependent of more than one employee.

    Note: Dependents not listed above (i.e.; in-laws, parents, grandparents, and non-qualifying relationships and other such non-qualifying dependents) are not eligible dependents under the Employee Benefits Program. Any change of dependent status must be made within the same calendar year of qualifying change.

     

    Retired Employees

     

    Retired employees of the county who regularly receive benefits under a formal retirement plan of the county and their dependents who were covered under the group benefits plan (in effect at least one year prior to the retirement) are eligible to participate in the group health and life plans, with the exception of the optional term life, dependent life, and long term disability.

    ​ 

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In 1967 the Texas Legislature created TCDRS to provide the state's county and district employees with retirement, disability and death benefits. Every time you get a paycheck, 7% of your money goes into your TCDRS account. Your money currently earns interest at a rate of 7%. The money you deposit into your TCDRS account is not taxed until you withdraw it or choose a retirement benefit.

 

One of the great things about a defined-benefit plan like your TCDRS plan is that the ups and downs of the investment market don't affect your account. Whether the market does well or does poorly, your account still gets the 7% interest rate. Harris County assumes the investment risk of providing your retirement benefit.

 

You are considered "vested" when you have earned enough service time to be eligible for retirement once you reach the age requirement. To be vested, you must have 8 years of service credit. Once vested, you may stop working for Harris County and still keep your right to a future retirement benefit. Your personal account will keep earning interest each year until your membership ends. Your membership ends when you withdraw your personal deposits or choose a retirement benefit, or upon your death.

 

When you retire, you may choose to receive a monthly benefit payment. All payment options pay you for your lifetime. Some of the payment options also provide a monthly benefit for your beneficiary after your death.

 

Your monthly benefit is based on the amount of money in your account and the matching credits your employer has agreed to provide. Under your plan, you will get a 2.25:1 ratio of matching credits when you retire. This means that your employer will provide $2.25 for every $1.00 in your account as part of your monthly benefit.

 

Your participation in TCDRS is mandatory unless you are a temporary employee.

 

Questions or comments? Send email to: Human Resources and Risk Management.

 

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Plan Year

The plan year begins March 1 and continues through the end of February of each year.

 

Current Employee

If you are eligible to participate in the Harris County Flex Plan, you may choose benefits during open enrollment which will be held each year during the month of January. The elections will become effective as of March 1 of that year.

 

New Employee

As a new employee, you will become eligible for benefits on the first day of the calendar month following two full months of continuous employment as a regular employee. You may then elect to participate in the group benefit plan as well as the HCFlex Plan.

 

Dependents

You may elect coverage for your dependents that will become effective on the same date as yours. 


Life Changes

If you experience a life change that would allow you to add or drop a dependent during the year, you may enroll or disenroll them at any time during the calendar year of the event or wait until the next open enrollment period. To do this, you must complete a Harris County Employee Benefits Change form which may be obtained from your Benefit Coordinator.

 

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