History of Our Association
What is the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association (NCRGEA) and how did it begin?
The first gesture toward an organization of retired state and local governmental employees took place in 1970 when a group of retirees met to talk about the plight of retirees who did not have an agency to represent them before the legislature. Although there were several good associations at that time, their greatest efforts were directed to active employees as opposed to retirees.
The most recent legislature had authorized the Governor to appoint a commission to study the status of all governmental employees, so our group met to discuss and organize a committee to visit the commission concerning needs of retirees. After this experience, a group of about 10 realized that state retirees needed to have their own organization. The group elected a board of directors and officers and instructed them to proceed with development of plans for the Association.
In the early days of NCRGEA, many leaders came from Wake County and the surrounding area but as the organization grew, leaders joined in from across the state. During the early seventies, a great deal of attention was devoted to providing increased benefits to those who had retired in the earlier years at a lower rate of pay. These efforts were successful and benefit increases were given. Early efforts of the Association included issues such as the Homestead Exemption issue, credit for military service, repayment of withdrawn contributions, credit for work outside of North Carolina, and the issue of disability retirement.
A big milestone for the Association’s leaders and members was reached in 1978 when the legislature approved the payment of health insurance for state retirees. Also, because of gains in the retirement systems, NCRGEA worked for those extra funds to be given back to retirees in the form of cost-of-living increases.
Most recently, the accidental death insurance was increased to $7,000 and then to $10,000. A group dental insurance plan through MetLife was offered beginning in January 2002 and the HearPO hearing aid discount program was introduced in 2005. In 2009, NCRGEA created the Associate Member category to allow spouses of current members to join NCRGEA and introduced the Superior Vision Discount Card and optional group vision insurance.
Forty-five years later, with membership over 66,000, who would have thought that the vision of NCRGEA’s early pioneers would have resulted in the strength the Association has today? NCRGEA is the largest lobbying Association in the nation for retired state and local governmental employees. The objectives and mission of this Association have been and will continue to advance, promote and defend by any lawful means the rights, interests and welfare of retired employees of the local governments and the State of North Carolina.