Massachusetts Retirees United Legislative Interests

Prepared by Marie Ardito
MRU Information Coordinator

If you see any issue that you are really interested in, send for more information to  mardito@retireesunited.org

COLA

As a result of the Pension Reform Bill that became law on April 2, 2012 the base on which the COLA is figured was raised to $13,000

H2348

Would increase the COLA Base to $16,000 in 2012 and then every four years would continue to raise the COLA Base based on a percentage of what the maximum Social Security allowance is at the time. In addition, the Public Service Committee recommended that COLAs be based on Consumer Price Index changes as determined by the Social Security Administration or 3 percent, whichever is greater. This is a very good clause Filed by Rep. Jay Kaufman.

In 2015 the Maximum Social Security is $31,956 so we are using that figure to determine the following COLA bases. Obviously, Social Security will increase and so will the COLA base in the year specified.

2015 Raise Base to $16,000 immediately

2016 Raise COLA base to 65% of maximum Soc. Sec Benefit or $20,771.

2016-2020 Cola Base would be 75% of Max. Soc. Sec. Benefit or $23,967

2020  Cola Base would be 85% of Max. Soc. Sec. Benefit or $27,626

2024  Cola base would be 95% of Max. Soc. Sec. Benefit or $30,358

2028  COLA base raised to 100% of of maximum Social Security benefit 0r $31,956

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The Maternity Benefit that Massachusetts Retirees alone asked to have filed and worked to get passed became law on April 2, 2012. You had to self- identify if this applied to you. If any of the following items apply to you and you are a retired teacher of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System or a teacher of the Boston Retirement System contact your respective retirement system immediately or Marie Ardito at  mardito@retireesunited.org.

  • Applies to those Retired Prior to September 2000 and at less than 80%
  • Follows Criteria of Active Teachers’ Maternity Bill
  • Has No Buy-In as IRS will not allow us to contribute to our pension fund once retired. We are not asking that the bill be made retroactive to Sept. 2000, as retirees amply paid for the benefit.
  • Affects those who left a Massachusetts classroom prior to January 1975 and had a child within nine months of leaving
  • Must have returned to teaching in Massachusetts

The Maternity Bill became law on April 2, 2012. Great job Massachusetts Retirees United!

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Veterans Bill S1396 and H3146

The Veterans Bill is a bill that we intend to get passed in this session. We have been patient long enough on this Veterans Bill. We have asked Representative Jim Micelli to re-file it but in addition have asked Senator Tom McGee to file a Senate version of the bill.

S1396 and H3146

Are bills that would allow those retired prior to July 24, 1996 and were veterans to receive up to 4 years toward their creditable service providing they do not exceed 80% This bill was filed by Senator McGee, S1396 and Rep. Jim Micelli H3146. If the original bill was to acknowledge the service one rendered for one’s country how could those who rendered the service but were retired be ignored? There are a less than 600 men and woman classified as veterans, according to the MTRS, still alive who were forgotten when this bill was passed. The best way for each of us to show we appreciate the service they unselfishly gave is to call our Reps and Senators and ask them to support all the way to the Governor’s desk S1396 or H3146. Please also call your local Veteran’s Agent and ask them to support this measure. It is a small thing we can do for these fine people who did so much for us. Don’t put off making these calls, as they did not put off the call to serve.

S1396 has been assigned to the Public Service Committee and H3146 has been assigned to Veteran's Affairs Committee.

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Work Bill S1418

Those retired from a public sector job may return to work for a public employer in Massachusetts for a maximum of 960 hours in a calendar year. Additionally, the salary that the person receives from this position, when added to his or her retirement allowance, cannot exceed the salary that is being paid for the position from which he or she retired.

In the last session, solely at the request of the Massachusetts Retirees United, Senator Michael J. Rodrigues filed a bill that would increase by $15,000 the amount that a retiree could earn in a calendar year. It was included in the Senate version of the Pension Reform Bill and became law on April 2, 2012

We asked Senator Rodrigues to look at either eliminating the 960 hours or increasing them.

S1418 asks to increase the 960 hours to 1500 hours.

The money part of the bill passed and has been signed by the Governor  Great job Massachusetts Retirees United!

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Option B  and Option C Penalty Reduction

There are over 9,000 teachers who retired prior to July 2004 who took Option B/ Option C or are beneficiaries of those who took Option C.  The penalty for those who took Option B at that time was 3-5% (most 3%) and those who took Option B after July of 2004 the penalty is 1-2% (most 1%).

Those who took Option C before July 2004 , had a penalty that is two to three times greater than those who took it after July 2004. Yet the pensions of those who retired prior to the 2004 average $15,000 less than those after 2004 and the discrepancy is increasing yearly.

Also those who retired prior to January 1988 and took either of these options had the gender factor factored into the amount of their penalty and their average pension if a teacher is under $19,000 and if under the state the average pensions are under $15,000.

We used the average pensions in the 2004 PERAC Actuarial Valuation Report to help determine the flat rate. It is more generous to the older retirees who have born the penalty the longest and short for those who are closer to the 2004 date. To ask the 106 retirement systems to recalculate all the pensions of those who took these options would take years and require a great expenditure in hiring additional personnel.

 H2313   makes the following increases to the pensions of those who retired prior to July 2004 and took the above-mentioned options:

 Teachers: Option B $542
Option C  $1800
Survivor $1200
  State: Option B $395
Option C $1200
Survivor $900

Any of the other 104 retirement systems who elect to accepts the provisions of this act will use the figures of the State.

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General Information

Legislative update on any retirement issue affecting both active and retired teachers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can be found here.

This site will enable you to reach any Senator or Representative on Beacon Hill. By simply clicking on their name , you will get complete information on them, and access to their email address.
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State Legislation