Legislative Survey

In the last session‘s filing of legislation we asked for our members and others retired from the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System to take a survey to help us justify the legislation. The cooperation of so many helped us to have successfully passed two bills, which will become law in April of 2012.  One was the Maternity Bill, now known as Chapter 176, that allows those who retired prior to September 2000 and were forced to leave the classroom prior to January 1975 to have a child, to get credit of up to 4 years of this unpaid leave. Contact Marie Ardito at mardito@retireesunited.org if you need more information on this new law. The other successful law we had passed was to enable those who return to public sector jobs in Massachusetts to increase what they previously could make by $15,000.

One area we are looking for your input is to see if you feel the 960-hour limit for working in the public sector should be increased or eliminated?

In July 2004 the penalty for those who took Option B was reduced from 3% to 1% and those who took Option C the penalty was cut just about in half. Yet the penalties remained the same for those retired prior to that date whose pensions are half or less than those getting the benefit.  Those who are survivors of someone who took an Option C are also getting a smaller pension. Also those who retired prior to January of 1988 had their penalty also affected by the gender of the member and in the case of Option C members, the age of the beneficiary.

Those who retired after May 24, 1996 were able to add up to 4 years of their veteran’s service time to their creditable service. We want to extend this same benefit to those who retired prior to that date and were classified as veterans as long as they do not exceed 80%.

We will continue working toward increasing the amount of the COLA base to $16,000 and working to have a law that will automatically increase that base every 4 years.

We also want your input into legislation you would like to see filed at either the federal or state level to correct injustices that presently exist.

Please complete the following survey and press the submit button when it is completed. It would be helpful if you would email this address http://retireesunited.org/pages/Survey3.html to a friend so that they might also complete the survey. You can download and print the survey if you would like to mail it in or give it to a friend who doesn't have access to a computer.

Survey

Please supply all the information that you wish to address.

1. At the national level we are hopeful and continue to fight for the repeal of the Social Security GPO (Government Pension Offset) that denies spousal Social Security benefits if the survivor receives a state pension, and the WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) that penalizes state pension retirees who have also contributed to Social Security by working at part time jobs. Please let us know if you want us to continue this battle.
2. At the state level we will continue to press for an increase to the base for the Cost Of Living Adjustments. It has been increased from $12,000.00 to $13,000.00 giving us a huge $30.00 per year increase! We would like to press for the base to be at least $16,000.00. How do you feel about this?
3. We will continue to argue for fairness for the Option B and Option C retirees who retired prior to July 2004. This bill would give those retirees the same rates for those two options as the current retirees enjoy. Comment.
4. We are dedicated to veterans and hope for passage of our Veterans’ Bill which will add up to four years of creditable service towards their total years for all who retired prior to July 24, 1996. Comment.
5. We were instrumental in increasing the amount one may earn working in the public sector after retirement by $15,000. We want to hear if you would like us to adjust or eliminate the 960 hours in the next session. Please, if the hours adversely affect you tell us the type of work you are doing in the public sector? Comment
Now it is your turn. What issues that affect you as a former teacher, retiree, homeowner, Social Security contributor, consumer, Medicare recipient, or widow or widower, do you want us to fight for. Please let us know. You are the best line of defense against those who want to scapegoat retirees as the group that is destroying the economy of our country.

You have to be involved and informed all the time. That is one of the missions of the MRU. Please help yourself by helping us with this survey! Together we can continue making a difference!

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Thank you for assisting us in this important matter.