2011-2012 LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

NOVEMBER 2012 VOICE: Our Association played a leading role in the passage into law of the following legislation during the 2011-2012 Legislative Session. Each proposal had been filed as part of the Association's Legislative Package to begin the session.

STATE/TEACHERS’ COLA* BASE INCREASE: Raises the state/teachers’ maximum pension amount (known as the COLA Base), on which the COLA percentage is applied, from $12,000 to $13,000. This follows on the heels of Chapter 188, Acts of 2010 that allows for the local COLA Base to be increased beyond $12,000 on a local option basis.  (*Cost-of-Living Adjustment)

LOCAL OPTION: MINIMUM PENSION CREATED:  Allows local retirement systems to establish a Minimum Pension of $15,000 for their retirees with 25 or more years of service.

STATE/TEACHERS’ MINIMUM PENSION INCREASE: Raises the Minimum Pension of State/Teacher retirees, with 25 or more years of service, from $10,000 to $15,000.

OPTION (d) SURVIVOR MINIMUM INCREASE: Raises the Minimum Pension for survivors of employees who died before they retired and still working, from $250 to $500 monthly. Automatic for the state and teachers’ retirement systems and optional for local retirement systems.

MINIMUM WIDOW PENSION (Section101) INCREASE: Raises the Minimum Pension for Widows of Accidental Disability Retirees, who retired before November 1996 and died from a cause other than their disability, to $12,000. Automatic for the state and teachers’ retirement systems and optional for local retirement systems that currently pay a minimum widow pension of $6,000 or $9,000 annually.

EARNINGS LIMIT INCREASE ON POST-RETIREMENT PUBLIC SERVICE: Increases the amount that a retiree, who returns to public service on a part-time basis (up to 960 hours), can make by an additional $15,000 (plus the difference between their pension and what their former job currently pays).

WAIVER OF EARNING STATEMENTS FOR CERTAIN DISABILITY RETIREES: Provides a Waiver from filing future Earnings Statements for disability retirees who have been retired more than 20 years and not worked over the past 10 years. (See related article, p. 7.)

STATE RETIREE DENTAL EXTENDED TO GIC MUNICIPALITIES: Extends the State Retiree Dental Plan, administered by the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) and MetLife, to local retirees whose municipality or district has joined the GIC. Details on extending the plan are still being finalized when we went to press and will be announced in future issues of the Voice.

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