Members Urged to Contact Federal Representatives

FEBRUARY 10, 2009: Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is fighting to include retired public employees in the federal stimulus bill that is before Congress.
Contained within the vast bill is a provision that, if passed into law, will grant Social Security recipients a one-time $300 stimulus payment. This payment is in lieu of the federal income tax cut that workers are about to receive on their payroll withholdings.
The problem that many retired Massachusetts’ public employees face is that they may not qualify or receive Social Security due to the fact that the Commonwealth does not participate in Social Security. Therefore, many members do not receive a Social Security check and would not be included in the stimulus as it currently stands.
Senator Kerry first tried to insert a technical correction to the bill during the Senate debate, but that move was rejected by Senate Republicans. Kerry is now working with the Massachusetts Congressional delegation in an attempt to include the corrective language in the House/Senate Conference Committee report.
The Conference Committee, which includes members of both the House and Senate, is now meeting to negotiate a compromise version of the stimulus bill. That compromise version will then be voted up or down by the full House and Senate.
Without Kerry’s amendment, retirees, not receiving Social Security, will not be eligible for the $300 stimulus payments, which are scheduled to be paid sometime in the coming months.
“This issue is now do-or-die in the Conference Committee. If they do not accept the Senator’s amendment, then there will be retirees who are left out of the stimulus,” explains Association President Ralph White. “It’s hardball politics being played with the stimulus bill. Unfortunately, our members are caught in the crossfire here. Senator Kerry and his staff have been working very hard on this issue and I really have to thank them for their efforts.
“At this point, we ask that members contact their member of Congress and US Senators and urge them to support Senator Kerry’s amendment to extend the Make Work Pay Provision to governmental retirees. It is especially important that our members living outside of Massachusetts contact their federal representatives on this issue.”
Members can find their local member of Congress and the US Senate at the following locations: