Retirement Benefits

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

Heating Assistance Available

MARCH 2005
- Application Deadline: April 30 - You have until April 30 to apply for help to pay your heating bills
during this winter. Funded through the federal government, the state's
LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) has been providing
assistance to an average of 130,000 individuals and/or families for
more than 25 years.

Circuit Breaker Law Offers Property Tax Relief

- Tax time is fast approaching. Because our public pensions are not
taxed by the Commonwealth, many members do not find it necessary to
file a state tax return.

2004 Annual Meeting: New Location & Many New Faces

- This year, the 36th Annual Meeting of our Association was held at a
new venue - the Sheraton Colonial in Wakefield on September 17.

Problems Brewing Over Paying Medical Bills Of Disabled Police And Firefighters

- As healthcare costs climb and municipal budgets tighten, more and
more problems have been brewing in communities that agreed to pay
directly for the medical bills of disabled police officers and
firefighters. By adopting the local option law (Section 100B of Chapter
41), a community "indemnifies" its retired police and fire, receiving
an accidental disability pension, and pays all medical bills for their
work-related injuries. Editor's Note: It's important to
remember that this is a local option law and not all cities and towns
have adopted it. In communities, that have not accepted the law,
disabled police and fire submit their bills to their health insurance

State's Deferred Comp Among The Nation's Largest Public Plans

JULY 2004
- ING Continues To Service Members - With over $2.9 billion in assets, the Commonwealth's Deferred
Compensation Program ranks as the sixth largest public deferred
compensation ("457") plan in the country. Established some 29 years
ago, the Mass. 457 program offers to state workers, and local employees
from the 250+ municipalities and subdivisions that participate in the
state program, a voluntary retirement plan in addition to our public
pension (Chapter 32) system.

Members Beware: Home May Be Subject To Lien For Nursing Home Costs

MAY 2004
- During the budget crisis last year, changes were made in the Medicaid
law that expanded the state's power to recoup its cost for nursing home
care - a practice known as "estate recovery". Consequently, members,
whose homes were exempt from estate recovery, may find that this is no
longer the case and their home may be subject to a lien.

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.

Disability Retirees Update: Courts Uphold PERAC's Authority

- 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.