Chapter 157 Underway At Local Level

MARCH 2006 - State Systems Delayed - Chapter 157, which allows accidental disability retirees who are veterans, to receive the same veterans' stipend that superannuation retiree veterans receive, is now underway in the cities, towns and counties.

At this time over half of our 104 local retirement boards have voted for the retroactive veterans' allowance. Most of these boards are waiting for the second step, approval by their local governing body. Five counties, Bristol, Dukes, Hampshire, Middlesex and Norfolk have already voted and received the OK from their respective Retirement Advisory Councils. Over a hundred towns and smaller units such as housing authorities in these counties are now automatically covered.

Westfield's Retirement Board voted to accept Ch. 157 and received City Council approval the same night, the first community to do so. This was followed by the Pittsfield Retirement Board and its City Council. By the time this publication is in print we expect that an additional number of cities and county boards will have also received approval. Final approval in towns that have their own retirement board will come at their next Town Meeting.

"Due to a snag in the language of Chapter 157, state and teacher accidental disability veterans are temporarily on hold. We are working with the Legislature to correct the language, which will also include state police who were not previously included," said Association President Ralph White.

"I'll accept responsibility for the delay and apologize to those vets who will have to wait a little longer. We'll keep everyone updated on our toll-free hotline and website."