If you’ve ever phoned the Employees Retirement System of Texas—and thousands of retirees do each year—you’ve spoken to a Benefits Counselor in the ERS Contact Center.
The Contact Center is ERS’ front line in supporting State of Texas employees, retirees and their dependents and survivors. They answer questions, resolve issues, update records and help members navigate all stages of their career and retirement.
Each week, the Contact Center fields an average of 8,500 calls. Requests range from updating beneficiaries, to coordinating members’ Medicare and state health insurance benefits, to processing retirements.
ERS Contact Center counselors engaged with members through 445,500 phone calls, emails and one-on-one visits in Fiscal Year 2019.
In addition to handling phone calls, Benefits Counselors respond to member emails and provide individualized counseling through in-person visits. In Fiscal Year 2019, they handled more than 17,500 emails and facilitated 5,000 member visits.
Every Contact Center Benefits Counselor must have a broad and deep knowledge of the seven health plans and three retirement plans ERS administers. They also must be up-to-date on any developments impacting those programs, such as the recent coronavirus pandemic.
To build this expertise, counselors complete more than 300 hours of initial training to learn ERS’ programs and participate in additional training yearly.
Because of the large volume of calls to the Contact Center, along with the time counselors spend talking to individual members, callers may encounter long wait times. The Contact Center is constantly exploring ways to make this experience better for members.
Other ways to connect with ERS
You can avoid waiting on hold to speak to a Benefits Counselor by emailing ERS. For even faster results, you may be able to handle your request through ERS OnLine.