Latest News

Another year, another step toward ditching the WEP?

Another year, another step toward ditching the WEP?

By Nicole Ogrysko @nogryskoWFED

April 5, 2021 

Occasionally, I’ll get an email or a question from a federal retiree about the Windfall Elimination Provision.

The WEP is so complex, but the questions surrounding it are usually the same. What’s the status of legislation to ditch it, or at least bring some relief to the 3% of Social Security beneficiaries who have to deal with it?

WEP Reform Bill Reintroduced

WEP Reform Bill Reintroduced

APRIL 2, 2021: Congressman Richard Neal has reintroduced his Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reform proposal for 2021-22 Congressional Session with the support of the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation.

GIC Insurance Rates Announced

GIC Insurance Rates Announced

MARCH 4, 2021: Group Insurance Commission Announces Fiscal Year 2022 Plan Rates: The Group Insurance Commission held their monthly meeting to set the premium rates for FY22 ahead of the open enrollment process.  As we were anticipating from previous meetings the Commission voted on a 5.2% average increase across all plans, non-Medicare and Medicare plans. Overall, the average increase for the six Medicare plans is 2.3%.  The most popular plan, the UniCare OME plan, has an increase, 2.2%, which equates to a total $8.94 increase for FY22.

New Leadership on Beacon Hill

New Leadership on Beacon Hill

Friday, February 19, 2021: Today marks the completion of the bill filing process for the 2021-22 Legislative Session here in Massachusetts. A complete list of our Association’s legislative proposals, as well as the lead legislative sponsors of our bills, is contained within our March newsletter. You should receive your copy of The Voice this week.

One Million More Eligible for Vaccine on Thursday

One Million More Eligible for Vaccine on Thursday

Baker: High-Volume Sites Will Speed Process

Katie Lannan -  State House News Service

February 17, 2021: 

Massachusetts will roughly double the population eligible for COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday, when people over age 65, the residents and staff of affordable and low-income housing for seniors, and people with two or more health conditions that put them at higher risk will be newly able to make appointments.

Vaccine Call Center Goes Live for 75 and Older

Vaccine Call Center Goes Live for 75 and Older

Guv: Weekday Operation Will Be "Huge Help"

Chris Lisinski, State House News Service

FEB. 5, 2021.....More than a week after Gov. Charlie Baker first directed adults 75 and older to start booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments through an online-only platform, a state-run call center aimed at helping seniors who struggle to access or navigate the website is now live.

Latest news on vaccinations in MA

Latest news on vaccinations in MA

January 26, 2021: Last Friday, Shawn Duhamel reported on a request we made last week to the state of Massachusetts to prioritize the vaccination of all adults age 65+. I am happy to report that Governor Charlie Baker has heeded this request and that the vast majority of our members will soon be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

FY21 STATE BUDGET SIGNED INTO LAW

FY21 STATE BUDGET SIGNED INTO LAW

December 14, 2020: Governor Baker has signed the FY21 State Budget into law. This ends the 6-month delay of a final FY21 budget and funds the Commonwealth’s operations through June 30, 2021.  

FY21 STATE BUDGET SENT TO GOVERNOR

FY21 STATE BUDGET SENT TO GOVERNOR

Includes State/Teachers’ 3% COLA & Extends Retiree Work Waiver

December 4, 2020: House and Senate leaders completed work on the $46 billion-dollar FY21 budget with both branches voting on a conference committee report in a rare Friday session. The final version now goes to Governor Baker for approval. The vote today takes us one step closer to ending the 6-month delay of a final FY21 budget.

House & Senate Negotiate FY21 Budget Differences

House & Senate Negotiate FY21 Budget Differences

$46 Billion Budget Contains State/Teachers’ COLA

NOVEMBER 23, 2020: House and Senate leaders have begun negotiations over the FY21 budgets passed by each branch of the Legislature over the past two weeks. Since the House and Senate passed differing versions of the $46 billion spending plan, a compromise final version has to be negotiated in conference committee before receiving final approval and sent to Governor Charlie Baker for his approval.

A special guest

A special guest

NOVEMBER 20, 2020: This week, our Association President Frank Valeri joins me for our weekly video update. While it’s most often my face that our members see in these weekly updates, it’s important to remember that we have a team of people here at Mass Retirees working on your behalf. In the coming months you’ll be seeing and hearing more from them on a regular basis.

Budget contains good news for retirees

Weekly Mass Retirees News update

By Shawn Duhamel, CEO Mass Retirees Association

Before I jump into this week’s news, let me first remind you that our November Tele-Town Hall meeting takes place today (Friday) at 1:00 PM ET. The focus of today’s meeting will be the FY 21 State Budget, which is also the main subject of this email.

2021 Medicare Part B Premiums Remain Steady

November 6, 2020: Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the 2021 monthly Medicare Parts A and B premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts in which the Medicare Part B monthly premium remains steady.

3rd Interim Budget Funds State Through November

3rd Interim Budget Funds State Through November

COLA & Retiree Work Extension In-Works

October 27, 2020: Working in coordination, Governor Charlie Baker and the state legislature have passed a 3rd interim FY21 State Budget that funds the Commonwealth’s operations through November. The first interim budget was passed in late June, covering operations for the month of July. A second budget was then passed to continue operations through October.

SOCIAL SECURITY ANNOUNCES 1.3% COLA INCREASE FOR 2021

SOCIAL SECURITY ANNOUNCES 1.3% COLA INCREASE FOR 2021

Congress Caps 2021 Medicare Part B Premium

October 15, 2020: As just announced by the Social Security Administration (SSA) this week, the benefits, payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries, will be increased by a 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). This COLA increase will begin on December 31, 2020.

Passing Social Security WEP Reform in 2020

Passing Social Security WEP Reform in 2020

The harm brought to nearly 2 million public retirees by the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is a serious problem that must be resolved. In Massachusetts alone, some 74,000 public retirees have had their Social Security benefit reduced by the WEP. The numbers grow every day as new retirees apply for Social Security.

Mass. Economic Roundtable Provides Fiscal Update

Mass. Economic Roundtable Provides Fiscal Update

3% State / Teacher COLA Remains Delayed With FY21 Budget

October 7, 2020: State officials held a special Economic Roundtable meeting today focused on the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the Massachusetts economy and tax revenues.

A Month From Election, Galvin Talks Up Early Voting Options

A Month From Election, Galvin Talks Up Early Voting Options

Secretary, Locals Aim for Safe In-Person Voting

Matt Murphy, State House News Service

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, OCT. 5, 2020.....With less than a month until the election, Secretary of State William Galvin on Monday urged voters to make a plan and not wait if they anticipate casting their ballot by mail to ensure that their vote gets counted.

VOTE NO ON QUESTION 2

VOTE NO ON QUESTION 2

Ranked Choice Voting = Confusingly Bad Idea 

OCTOBER 2, 2020: As increased partisanship has led to further polarization and voter apathy, it is natural for people to seek ways to improve our system of democracy and find new ways to encourage election participation. While we believe that Question 2, so-called Ranked Choice Voting, is well intentioned, the change to our voting process that a Yes vote would bring about is both highly confusing and truly a bad idea. 

With Washington Deadlocked on Aid, States Face Dire Fiscal Crises

Local officials are slashing funding for everything from education and health care to orchestra subsidies.

Alaska chopped resources for public broadcasting. New York City gutted a nascent composting program that could have kept tons of food waste out of landfills. New Jersey postponed property-tax relief payments.

Prisoners in Florida will continue to swelter in their cells, because plans to air-condition its prisons are on hold. Many states have already cut planned raises for teachers.

And that’s just the start.

Active Employees: Become a Mass Retirees Subscriber

Active Employees: Become a Mass Retirees Subscriber

WHY SHOULD YOU BECOME A MASS RETIREES SUBSCRIBER?

Having worked with public retirees and their families for over five decades, Mass Retirees recognizes the growing importance that active public employees place in preparing to make a life-changing decision on your retirement. To best be prepared, it goes without question that you hope to fully informed and knowledgeable. Mass Retirees can help you better understand all aspects of public retirement - including your pension, insurance, as well as Social Security and Medicare.

Pension Fund, MIT Launch Social Investing Project

Rating Discrepancies Underscore Need for Research

Colin A. Young, State House News Service

SEPT. 9, 2020.....The Massachusetts state pension fund is teaming up with the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative to try to improve the data available to investors who want to make decisions based on things like the way a company treats its workers, its carbon emissions or its product safety record.

Back From Hiatus

Back From Hiatus

Our weekly updates are back after a short August hiatus. Remember, we include a video update from me within these emails. Click on the photo or the link below to watch/listen to the latest news and information. My goal is to keep our members well informed. 

This week the focus is the Primary Election here in Massachusetts. While Election Day is Tuesday, September 1, vote by mail and early voting have been ongoing throughout August. In a recent survey we conducted, more than 70% of Mass Retirees members indicated that they intended to vote by mail.