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.
The final FY21 budget includes several provisions that impact retirees. First the authorization of the 3% COLA for State and Teacher Retirees, retroactive to July 1 was included. To be eligible a state or teacher would have had to retire before July 1, 2019. In addition, it fully funds the Group Insurance Commission and the Commonwealth’s pension obligation. Fully funding these two items despite the pandemic’s impact on the economy was welcome news.
Another item of note included in the final version was language that extends the retiree work waiver through 2021, as long as the Governor’s state of emergency is in effect. The waiver, which allows retirees to return to work for the state and local governments without the restriction on hours and earnings, was enacted in April in response to the urgent need to fill gaps in critical services due to the pandemic. Retirees who have returned to work will be able to continue to do so without worrying about being in violation of the restrictions.