Retirees Eye Amendments

MAY 22, 2012: The state Senate is now in the midst of its debate of the Commonwealth’s $32 billion FY13 budget. Debate on the 694 amendments is expected to last from Wednesday through Friday.

While the Senate has included a full 3% state and teachers COLA within its budget and maintained state retiree insurance rates, there is still work that remains to be done. With the support of Senator Ken Donnelly (D-Arlington), our Association has sponsored two budget amendments.

The first amendment (#426), which was adopted in the House budget after being filed by Representative Tacky Chan (D-Quincy), extends the Retiree-Pay-All Dental Plan to municipal retirees and survivors who are also insured through the GIC. Currently, over 18,000 state retirees and survivors participate in the optional dental plan.

Donnelly’s second amendment (#442) pertains to survivors of accidental disability retirees. The amendment increases the minimum survivors pension from the current $9,000 to a new $12,000. The minimum pension is granted to survivors of pre-November 1996 accidental disability retirees, who die of a cause unrelated to their disability.

In November of 1996 the law was changed to allow accidental disability retirees the ability to choose Option C, thus providing for a survivor benefit for their spouse should they die of a cause unrelated to their disability. Previously no such ability existed, thus the need for the minimum survivor benefit under section 101 of M.G.L Chapter 32 (retirement law).

Once passed by the Senate, the budget will enter into a conference committee process with the House of Representatives, which is expected to be complete by July 1.