Retirement Benefits

Articles about Retirement Benefits that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees.

Retirement Board Profile: Gloucester

MAY 2004
- Focus On Retirees Runs Deep - It is fair to say that the main focus of nearly all of the
Commonwealth's 106 retirement boards is bettering the lives of the
members of the retirement system, namely retirees. However, there are
some retirement boards, such as the City of Gloucester, which deserve
special recognition for their dedication to retirees.

State Board Employees Met Challenge... And Succeeded

MAY 2004
- Responded To Early Retirement Demands - Employees at the State Retirement Board recently completed a
challenging two-year work cycle that will likely never be matched again.

State Supreme Court To Decide Earnings

MARCH 2004
- Controversy For Disability Retirees - While it's taken years of litigation, the controversy over what
should be earnings for disability retirees may finally be resolved. In
January, the state's highest court (Supreme Judicial Court) heard oral
arguments in the case of a disabled Boston police officer, Paul Theodos.

3,600 Accept State's Early-Out

NOVEMBER 2003
- Local ERIs Also Being Adopted - The Commonwealth's second early retirement incentive offer in
two-years was accepted by 3,600 state employees prior to the cutoff
date of September 8.

Appeal Board Rules For Option C Veterans

NOVEMBER 2003
- Final Word: Full Vets Benefit Allowed - For veterans, who retired with an Option C regular pension, they now
have the final word on whether they should receive the full amount of
their vets benefit, and the answer is yes. "Our patience has paid off,"
reports Legislative Chairman Bill Hill who is himself a Korean War
veteran receiving an Option C pension.

Spousal Benefit: Employees Win First Round But Wait Continues For A Final Decision

NOVEMBER 2003
- Association Takes On Fight For Member's Spouse - Employees, who have been denied the right to retire under the spousal
benefit provision because of the law's repeal this past July, have won
the first battle. But unfortunately, final victory cannot yet be
declared, as members, along with their spouses who are affected by the
repeal, must continue to wait for a decision from the state's appeal
board.

Disability Retirees Update: Courts Uphold PERAC's Authority

NOVEMBER 2003
- Members on disability are permitted by the pension law to work and
supplement their retirement. But the law does limit the amount that
they can earn.

Heating Oil Assistance Deadline: April 30

MAY 2003
- With fuel oil prices soaring this past winter, you may want to take
advantage of the state’s fuel assistance program, known as Low Income
Home Energy Assistance Program, (LIHEAP). But time is quickly running
out with an April 30th deadline for filing.

DALA Decision Appealed

MAY 2003
- No Final Word Yet - As predicted in the January Voice, the two decisions, issued by the
Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA) on Option C veterans and
personal use of official motor vehicles, have sparked further
controversy. Currently, they are being appealed, so the final word on
these issues has yet to be heard.

Municipal Early-Outs Slowed

NOVEMBER 2002
- Caution At Local Level - After a rush of local government early retirement incentive (ERI)
activity this past spring, the caution flag has been flown and
acceptance of the home rule law has slowed considerably.

The
law (Chapter 116), which allows cities, towns, counties and various
authorities to avoid layoffs by offering up to five-years extra
retirement credit, went into effect on May 15 of this year, with a
November 1 local acceptance deadline.

Initially communities, such as Springfield, Quincy, Somerville, Fall River and New Bedford, were ready at the starting gate, immediately accepted the new law, and retired several hundred employees.

Nine
other communities and counties also accepted Chapter 116, mostly with
more limited numbers of allowed retirements and later effective
retirement dates. These are: Boston, Worcester, Westfield, Barnstable County, Melrose, Chicopee, Saugus, Athol and Dukes County.

All
of these retirement systems were listed in our September Voice. Since
that time, many cities and towns have looked at Chapter 116 with
caution and have decided not to accept the ERI law or to do studies on
the financial feasibility of allowing ERI retirements.

In
Rockland, for example, Town Administrator Bradley Plante said the sick
leave buyback alone for the employees, who indicated interest in
retiring early, would cost the town $200,000. Officials are also
concerned about additional costs, such as health insurance and
additional payroll for new hires, that would come with the plan.

"This
plan is really meant for larger communities - the Bostons and the
Worcesters and the Springfields," Plante said. "But for a small town
like us, I don't know."


Local ERI Update:

Adams set no limit on its 5-year ERI. Employees must file by November 1 and retire on December 31.

Barnstable
voted for an ERI, granting 5 years, with a limit of 20 employees (17
Group 1 and 3 Group 4). They had to apply by October 1 and retire by
October 31.

Belchertown accepted a 5-year ERI without limit. Applications were filed by September 2 with a December 31 retirement date.

Beverly accepted Chapter 116 and retired 27 (16 Group 1 and 11 Group 4). They had to apply by September 25 and retire by October 4.

Cohasset
limited its 5-year ERI to 4 employees (2 Group 1 and 2 Group 4).
Applications had to be filed by October 1 with a retirement date no
later than December 31.

Groton
set a December 1 filing deadline for a 5 year ERI with no limit. At
press time, there are 15 applicants including 4 police. They must
retire by December 31.

Holbrook adopted a no-limit ERI with 5 years. Employees must file by November 1 and retire by December 1.

Lawrence
set no limits on its 5-year ERI. Applicants had until September 30 to
apply and must retire by October 1. At press time, 83 have applied.

Leicester voted for an ERI of 5 years, limited to 8 employees (7 Group 1 and 1 Group 4 (police)). They retired by September 15.

Mass Turnpike voted a 5-year ERI with no limit. Employees must apply by October 30 and retire between August 5 and November 30.
Merrimac has received, at press time, 5 applications, including 1 Group
4, for its 5 year ERI with no limit. Applicants must retire by December
31.

Milbury
has received, at press time, 22 applications for a 5-year ERI. There is
no limit and employees must apply and retire by December 31.

Milford
voted a 5-year ERI, limited to 35 employees. Applications had to be
filed by September 13 with a retirement date no later than October 31.

Milton limited their ERI to 10 employees (8 Group 1 and 2 Group 4). They were given 5 years and must retire by November 30.

Montague
limited its 5-year ERI to 4 employees (2 Group 1 and 2 Group 4).
Applications were filed by August 16 with a retirement date of August
31.

New Marlboro Board of
Selectmen voted a 5-year ERI with a limit of three retirements. Only 2
employees filed by the October 1 deadline. They must retire prior to
November 1.

Palmer adopted a no-limit ERI with 5 years. Applications were due by September 30 and a retirement date set no later than December 30.

Revere
adopted an ERI, with 5 years and retired 18 employees (14 Group 1 and 4
Group 4). The applicants had to apply by May 30 and had to retire by
June 30.

Rochester approved
an ERI with 4 employees (3 Group 1and 1 Group 4) who were given 5
years. The application deadline was September 13 and they must retire
by December 31.

Salisbury
voted for a 5-year ERI with a limit of 6 employees (4 Group 1 and 2
Group 4). They must apply by November 30 and retire by December 31.

Southampton adopted a no-limit ERI with 5 years. Applications must be filed by December 2 with a December 31 retirement date.

Swampscott
voted to accept a 5-year ERI with a Group 1 limit of 16 and a Group 4
limit of 8 - 4 police, 4 fire - with a retirement date of December 31.

Truro adopted an ERI of 5 years, limited to 3 employees (2 Group 1 and 1 Group 4). They retired prior to July 30.

Waltham accepted a 5-year ERI with no limits. Applications were filed by October 1 with a retirement date no later than October 30.

Ware
accepted an ERI and limited to 5 employees who were given 5 years.
Applicants had to apply by September 6 and retire by December 31.

Wellesley
limited its 5-year ERI to 22 employees (12 Group 1 and 10 Group 4
including 5 fire, 3 police and 2 municipal light). They had to apply by
September 15 and retire by October 31.

West Tisbury set no limits on its 5-year ERI. Employees must retire by December 31.

Westwood set a limit of 8 employees, including Group 4, for a 5-year ERI. They must apply after October 1 and retire by November 30.

Williamstown
ERI was voted by the Board of Selectmen. They set no limits on 5-year
incentive. Applicants must file by September 30 and retire by November
30. The town expects 6 retirements.