Your Retirement

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

"Circuit Breaker" Update

MARCH 2001 -
While the state's new property tax relief law,("circuit breaker") went
into effect this year, members, eligible for the relief, must wait
until next year (2002) to actually apply and receive money back.

have called us for the circuit breaker forms," reports the
Association's Counsel Bill Rehrey. "Since eligible persons will file
next year, those forms are not available yet. Once they are and more
details are available, we'll let our members know."

Remember persons, 65 or over, will be eligible if their income is $40,000 or less ($60,000 for a couple).

Disability Retirees Seek Relief From Court

MARCH 2001 - Controversy Over Earned Income Continues - For
disability retirees, the controversy over what is earned income
continues. As reported, the Public Employee Retirement Administration
Commission (PERAC) has been at odds with certain disability retirees,
whom it claims have earned in excess of what the retirement law allows.

"Circuit Breaker" Tax Relief Available: Homeowners and Renters, 65 or Over, May Be Eligible

JANUARY 2001 -
Estimated 130,000 Could Benefit - Beginning this year, a new property tax relief law takes effect, under
which members, who are age 65 or over, can receive either a credit on
their state income taxes or, even if they owe no taxes, a cash refund
up to $375.

Deferred Comp Update

Since June when Aetna replaced Copeland as coordinator of the Mass
Deferred Compensation Program, Association members, who participate in
it, have contacted us to discuss the changes. Here's some of the
frequent topics of conversation.

PERAC Wins Round Two vs. Disability Retirees

In July, we reported on the ongoing controversy surrounding disability
retirees and the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission
(PERAC), over the law relating to disability retirees and the
restrictions on, as well as the reporting of, their earnings while on
disability (Section 91A, Chapter 32). We emphasized that as with any
litigation, these were initial findings, then favoring the retirees,
and, therefore subject to change. Well, unfortunately for these
retirees, our words of caution came true - with round two apparently
going in PERAC's favor.

Debate Over Alternative Retirement Plan Continues

SEPTEMBER 2000 - With
state and local officials claiming they are having difficulty filling
key jobs because of the current pension contribution rate and lack of
portability, a defined contribution (DC) plan such as that offered to
faculty members of the Commonwealth's higher education system,
continues to be a front-burner issue within the Massachusetts public
pension community.

Property Tax Abatement For Community Service

JULY 2000 - Time To Take Another Look - Members, age 60 or over, may want to explore whether their town may be
willing to establish a property tax abatement program that allows them
to perform volunteer service in exchange for a break in their property
taxes. While the concept is not new, there may be renewed interest
among local officials in the subject because of a provision contained
in the state budget passed at the end of last year.

State Taxes: A National Overview

MAY 2000 - When we
reported on taxes in other states, we’ve generally looked at whether
they taxed our public pensions. But what about the added cost of buying
merchandise and goods – in other words, sales taxes – which also
impacts on a retiree’s standard of living.

Apply For Fuel Assistance By April 28

MARCH 2000 - Needless
to say, this winter has not been kind when it comes to heating our
homes. Relief - other than with warmer temperatures - may be available
to you from the Commonwealthís Fuel Assistance Program.

More About Federal Taxes And Pensions

JANUARY 2000 - Most Commonly Asked Questions - Not
unexpectedly, our office has received numerous phone calls from members
about federal taxes on their pensions since our article on that subject
in the March Voice. We hope our answers, to some of the most commonly
asked questions, help you not only to complete your '99 tax return but
also to better plan for this year.