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.
Frank also wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the positive news we have to share about your retirement. Now that the State Senate has approved the budget, State and Teacher retirees will soon receive their COLA – retroactive to July 1. As Frank mentions, we are working closely with State Treasurer Deb Goldberg to get that payment made ASAP.
The other very good news contained in the budget is the fact that both the state’s GIC and pension appropriation have been fully funded for FY21. No cuts or changes were made to these important, yet expensive benefits, despite the fiscal strain created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is important for state/teacher retirees, as well as all of our local retirees, for one simple reason: Once the state starts to cut retirement funding or insurance benefits, the cities and towns will immediately follow.
Also included in both the House and Senate versions of the budget is an extension of the retiree work waiver through 2021, as long as the Governor’s emergency orders remain in place. This allows public retirees, working in public service here in Massachusetts during the pandemic, to do so without restriction on hours or earnings.
Before I close, I need to thank the thousands of members who generously contributed to our 2021 Political Action Committee drive. As you may recall, for every donation of $25 or more we are donating $2 toward COVID-19 relief. I’m happy to report that nearly 6,000 members stepped forward and answered this call, raising almost $12,000. In response, we are thrilled to be able to donate to six Massachusetts charities helping those in need from every corner of our state. With Thanksgiving less than a week away, we cannot think of a better time to help out.
This year continues to be very difficult for us all, but we know that millions of our fellow citizens have lost jobs and small businesses as a result of the pandemic, not to mention have become ill or passed away. Thankfully, it now appears that there is light at the end of this very long tunnel. The news this week on the progress being made to develop and administer vaccines in 2021 is very promising. For now, we must take the steps needed to keep each other safe and prevent the spread of this deadly virus. Unfortunately, this also means that we have to sacrifice and not engage in some of the things that bring us the most joy, such as being with groups of family and friends during the holidays. We will get through this awful period. We will do so together.
I hope you and your family have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
Chief Executive Officer
Mass Retirees Association