3% State / Teacher COLA Approved

Work Now Underway On Future COLA Improvements

September 2019: Since the state budget was not be approved by Governor Charlie Baker until July 31st, retired teachers will not receive their COLA payment until August – which is retroactive to July 1.

State retirees, along with members of local and district retirement systems began to receive their FY20 COLA in their July pension check. The annual COLA for local and district retirees is determined and approved by the respective retirement board and is not part of the Commonwealth’s annual budget process.

The state’s FY20 budget also fully funds the Group Insurance Commission and expands the state’s ban on balance billing across all GIC insurance plans. This ban only applies to medical services performed within Massachusetts, as the Commonwealth does not have legal authority to ban the practice in other states.

Mass Retirees is now working to develop a proposal that would expand COLA benefits for long-term retirees.

“The longer someone has been retired the harder it becomes to keep pace with inflation. Unfortunately, there will always be limits placed on the traditional COLA due to the funding requirements of our public retirement systems. We believe that the COLA can be enhanced for long-term retirees, while still working within the pension funding schedule,” explains Association President Frank Valeri. “Cost analysis needs to be performed using different variations of the concept that we’ve been working on

for the past several months. But the basic idea is to find a way to provide a greater COLA benefit for career public employees, who retired years ago with modest pension benefits.”

Association officials hope to unveil the proposal late this fall, with the goal of passing the plan in conjunction to the FY21 budget and Commonwealth’s triannual pension valuation.