DISABILITY EARNINGS UPDATE NOW LAW

Legislature & Patrick Act at 11th Hour

JANUARY 8, 2015: Moments before taking his “lone walk” down to the front steps of the State House on his final evening as Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick signed into law our Association’s bill adjusting the outside earnings limits of accidental disability retirees – now Chapter 492, Acts of 2014.

S2343, sponsored by Senator Thomas McGee (D-Lynn), marks the first increase in earnings limits for accidental disability retirees since 1982. The Association’s proposal, which increases the limit by $10,000, was one of two unanimous recommendations made by the Special Commission on Disability Retirement in 2013, on which Association Vice President Ralph White served.

State retirement law allows accidental disability retirees to work on the limited basis. Retirees will now be allowed to earn the difference between what their former job currently pays and their pension, plus an additional $15,000. The old law, passed in 1982, allowed for additional earnings of just $5,000.

“While not many accidental retirees are able to work and even fewer earn close to the limits, we do have some members that this new law will benefit. This new law does not cost the taxpayers, it actually generates tax revenue from those retirees who are able to work,” explains Association President Frank Valeri. “Life and one’s financial responsibilities to their family do not stop just because someone is disabled.

“We need to thank Senator McGee for doggedly pursuing this bill, along with the House Leadership for making this a priority for our members late in the session. Speaker DeLeo, Chairman Speliotis (Bills in 3rd Reading) and Rep. Cusack, in particular, were instrumental in seeing this bill was passed before the session ended.

“And our Association would like to say ‘thank you’ one last time to Governor Patrick. Had he and his staff not addressed this bill before his term ended, we would have been right back to square one come noon time today. Now those retirees in need of relief will finally get their just do.”

Chapter 492 takes effect in 2015 and does not impact 2014 or the earnings limit of previous years.

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