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Governor Signs Post Retirement Work “Waiver” Law

Governor Signs Post Retirement Work “Waiver” Law

No Hour & Income Restrictions for Non-Disability Retirees In Public Service During 2022

June 10, 2022: Governor Charlie Baker has signed into law H4456 that waives both the hour and income restrictions (imposed by Section 91 of Chapter 32) on retirees who are in public service employment during 2022. It became Chapter 80 of the Acts of 2022.

House Approves Largest COLA Increase Since 1992

House Approves Largest COLA Increase Since 1992

Local Retirement Systems Empowered to Increase COLA Up To 5% 

APRIL 27, 2022: Today, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously approved a 5% increase in the FY23 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for State and Teacher Retirees. The measure also contains authorization for the state’s 102 local retirement systems to increase local COLAs from 3-5% by a majority vote of the retirement board.

COLA improvements pending before House

COLA improvements pending before House

APRIL 22, 2022: After nearly a year of preparation by our Association, debate is about to begin in the House of Representatives on proposals that would make improvements to the annual COLA benefit paid to public retirees. Mass Retirees has sponsored two amendments to the House FY23 budget - #1136 filed by Representative Ken Gordon and #1411 filed by Representative Mark Cusack.

Before I get into the specifics of the two amendments, let me first remind you of two upcoming Mass Retirees meetings.

House FY23 Budget Contains 3% State and Teacher COLA

House FY23 Budget Contains 3% State and Teacher COLA

Amendments Filed to Improve COLA Benefits 

APRIL 19, 2022: On Wednesday the House released their version of the Fiscal Year 2023 state budget. This marks the next stage of the budget process, which began in January when Governor Baker filed his proposal. The $49.6 billion dollar budget included two items of significance to retirees. First, as in the Governor’s proposal, the House fully funded the Group Insurance Commission, making sure health insurance will once again remain stable. 

Very exciting news to share

Very exciting news to share

Weekly Update 4/8/2022: It is always a great day when we can share good news with our members. Since I have two pieces of very positive news to share, I suppose it makes today exceptionally good!

GIC launches health plan procurement process

GIC launches health plan procurement process

Weekly Update 4/1/2022: Every five years the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) is required to rebid all health insurance, pharmacy, dental, and life insurance contracts. FY23, which begins July 1, 2022, marks the final year of the current 5-year contract cycle for all GIC health insurance and pharmaceutical drug plans.

Today we anticipate the release of the first component of the GIC’s FY24 procurement – the Request for Response (RFR) for the health insurance plans. The pharmacy plan RFR will be released in early June.

Striking a deal on WEP reform

Striking a deal on WEP reform

Weekly Update 3/18/2022: Well over half of our membership are impacted by the Social Security WEP law. This means that they have had their personal Social Security benefit unfairly reduced.

GIC Announces FY23 Plan Design & Premiums

GIC Announces FY23 Plan Design & Premiums

Popular UniCare OME Plan to Increase 1.3%

March 3, 2022: The state’s Group Insurance Commission held their monthly meeting to vote on the plan design structure proposed at the January meeting, as well as vote on the plan rates for FY23.  As we were anticipating from the January meeting the Commission voted to make no changes in the plan design, meaning members will see no increases to the copays and deductibles of the plans.

Mass Retirees Calls For Divestment from Russia

Mass Retirees Calls For Divestment from Russia

Supports Moves by Treasurer Goldberg & Legislature to Act

March 2, 2022: In the wake of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the Mass Retirees Association has joined those calling for full divestment of public pension funds from Russian companies or investments tied to Russia.  

Pension Fund Gains Added $70 Billion Over 10 Years

Pension Fund Gains Added $70 Billion Over 10 Years

February 17, 2022: The state's pension fund has gained $70.6 billion over the past decade, exceeding its targets by $12 billion after posting the fourth largest annual gain in its history in 2021, fund managers reported on Thursday. Pension Reserve Investment Management Executive Director Michael Trotsky has previously shared that the fund, which pays retirement benefits to state employees and teachers, grew by 20.1 percent after fees in 2021, for a gain of $17.4 billion, and closed the year at a record high $104.3 billion.

What’s happing in 2022

Preview of the January 2022 Voice

Preview of the January 2022 Voice
DECEMBER 10, 2021: As promised, for this week’s video I am joined by Bill Rehrey and Nancy McGovern for a sneak preview of our January 2022 edition of The Voice.
Before I dive into the details of what you will find in the upcoming newsletter, I’d like to thank the thousands of members who have promptly renewed your Mass Retirees membership for 2022. November began our membership renewal process for next year, with notices mailed to the 20,000+ members who renew at the end of the year. Members receive a renewal notice base

PEABODY FIREFIGHTER HONORED POSTHUMOUSLY

PEABODY FIREFIGHTER HONORED POSTHUMOUSLY

BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN, Lynn Item

NOVEMBER 19, 2021: PEABODY — There were plenty of smiles to go around Wednesday morning at the Fire Department headquarters on Lowell Street as Joseph P. DiFranco, one of Peabody’s most beloved and respected firefighters, was honored posthumously with the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM) Joseph J. Cantalupa Lifetime Service Award. 

DiFranco’s wife, Marie, accepted the award on behalf of “Big Joe” from PFFM President Richard MacKinnon Jr.

Congressman Brady Files WEP Reform Proposal

Congressman Brady Files WEP Reform Proposal

Marks 4th WEP/GPO Bill Pending Before House in 2021

NOVEMBER 8, 2021: In the course of a week, the number of bills pending before the US House of Representatives to either repeal or reform the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) has doubled.

Breaking news on WEP & GPO

Breaking news on WEP & GPO

October 29, 2021: Weekly Report

By Shawn Duhamel

Every so often something unexpected happens in life that has the potential to become truly beneficial. In this case, I am referring to a new federal bill that proposes the biggest overhaul of Social Security since 1983.

Medicare Advantage Marketing Targets Retirees

Medicare Advantage Marketing Targets Retirees

Members Should Not Drop GIC or Municipal Insurance

October 29, 2021: Each fall, during the Medicare open enrollment period, a plethora of ads targeting retirees dominate the airwaves and mailboxes of seniors. This year calls from members to our Beacon Hill office with complaints about aggessive sales tactics have hit an all time high.

Mass. lawmakers relax decades-old rule to allow public retirees to work more while getting pensions

Mass. lawmakers relax decades-old rule to allow public retirees to work more while getting pensions

By Matt Stout, Globe Staff

Massachusetts legislators in recent weeks have loosened 40-year-old limits on how many hours government retirees can work for a public agency each year while still collecting their taxpayer-funded pension, realizing a change long sought by former employees but derided by critics as too generous.

A 5.9% COLA

A 5.9% COLA

10/15/2021 Weekly Update, By Shawn Duhamel

If you have read our September newsletter or watched/read any of my recent weekly updates, then you know that a major focus of our ongoing work is to make improvements to the annual COLA or cost-of-living adjustment. Wednesday’s news that the CPI is now 5.9% only bolsters our argument that more needs to be done in this area.

What about the WEP?

What about the WEP?

October 8, 2021

By, Shawn Duhamel

On Wednesday we went to press with the November edition of the Voice, which should begin to arrive in member’s mailboxes by end of the week of October 18th. In this edition we focus heavily on the pension cost-of-living -adjustment, making a strong case as to why our retirees deserve improved COLA benefits and how the retirement systems can fund the increase. The data and facts are clearly spelled out to help pass these improvements for the coming FY23.

Work progresses on Beacon Hill

Work progresses on Beacon Hill

October 1, 2021 Weekly Update: By Chief Executive Officer Shawn Duhamel

Before my brief hiatus in August, I reported to you that we anticipated a very busy fall. I’m happy to say that not only were we correct, but that things have been even busier than we would have thought. 

Benefit Check Delays Continue To Frustrate New Retirees

Benefit Check Delays Continue To Frustrate New Retirees

September 28, 2021: The "number-one problem" that Mass Retirees President Frank Valeri hears from his members is that it takes too long for newly retired public employees to collect their first monthly benefit check. Warning that the sizable gaps between a retirement date and a payment date put undue financial strain on workers at the end of their careers, Valeri urged lawmakers Tuesday to adopt reforms that guarantee delivery of at least partial checks by the due date. "These are the things that bother me," Valeri told the Public Service Committee.

Baker Mandates Vaccination for Executive Branch State Workers

Baker Mandates Vaccination for Executive Branch State Workers

House, Senate Discussing Vaccine Requirements for Their Employees

Katie Lannan, State House News Service

AUG. 19, 2021: About 42,000 state employees will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have secured a medical or religious exemption by Oct. 17, or face the risk of consequences including losing their jobs, under an executive order Gov. Charlie Baker signed Thursday.

Weekly Update: Latest Retirement News

Weekly Update: Latest Retirement News

By Shawn Duhamel, Chief Executive Officer