Latest News

Tablet for Seniors Helps Identify COVID-19 Symptoms

Tablet for Seniors Helps Identify COVID-19 Symptoms

A tablet made by a Massachusetts company is using artificial intelligence to help seniors with chronic health conditions as well as to identify symptoms of the novel coronavirus. The technology is empowering seniors to have more control of their health and avoid trips to the doctor and hospital.

 

 

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER JOAN SCHLOSS DIES AFTER LONG ILLNESS

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER JOAN SCHLOSS DIES AFTER LONG ILLNESS

Former Head of Teachers’ Retirement Board

MAY 28, 2020: It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of Joan Schloss DeLena, who died on May 22nd from a lung disorder related to her prolonged fight with cancer. Joan had served as a member of the Mass Retirees Executive Board since September of 2015.

Mass Public Pension Systems Stable & Secure

Mass Public Pension Systems Stable & Secure

Well Prepared to Weather Storm

APRIL 24, 2020: Learning from the 2008 Financial Collapse and Great Recession that followed, Massachusetts’ 104 public pension systems are financially stable and secure. Not a single system in the Commonwealth is in financial hardship or stands in danger of not being able to meet pension obligations to retirees.

UPDATES: UNEMPLOYMENT AND STIMULUS PAYMENT

UPDATES: UNEMPLOYMENT AND STIMULUS PAYMENT

Unemployment Assistance

The Baker Administration announced this week that the online filing system for those who have been unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic is now open. The benefits fall under the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and is separate from the regular unemployment insurance program. 

Pension Fund Weathering Storm of Pandemic, Markets

Pension Fund Weathering Storm of Pandemic, Markets

Managers Overseeing $70.7 Billion Fund From Homes

Colin A. Young, State House News Service

BOSTON, APRIL 22, 2020.....The state pension fund is confident that, despite the volatility that has rocked financial markets over the last six weeks or so, it will have no problem paying out roughly $1.3 billion for pension benefits this year.

Mass Retirees Endorses Becky Grossman For Congress

Mass Retirees Endorses Becky Grossman For Congress

Newton City Councilor Prioritizes Retiree Concerns

APRIL 16, 2020: The upcoming Primary Election on September 1st presents a rare opportunity to influence the makeup and focus of the 9-member Massachusetts Congressional delegation. In opting to run for the U.S. Senate, Congressman Joe Kennedy, III will vacate his seat in the 4th Congressional District – which stretches from Brookline to Fall River encompassing 34 cities and towns. 

STIMULUS PAYMENTS HAVE STARTED

STIMULUS PAYMENTS HAVE STARTED

APRIL 15, 2020: As of today, retirees have begun receiving their one-time stimulus payments that were part of the $2 trillion dollar package passed by Congress in late March. Those retirees with direct deposit on file with either the IRS or the Social Security Administration started seeing their payments show up this week in their accounts.

Stimulus payments will continue to be made over the coming weeks by the federal government.

Applying For Unemployment

Applying For Unemployment

Answering Member Questions 

Public retirees were among the 469,000 Mass. residents who filed unemployment claims with the Mass. Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) over the past 3 weeks. With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and economic decline, that number will unfortunately continue to grow at least for now.

Members, who have lost a job during the crisis, have reached out to us with their questions on applying for unemployment. Anticipating much of the same this month, we’ve listed below the most frequently asked questions.

Special Legislation Waives Retiree Work Limits for 2020

Special Legislation Waives Retiree Work Limits for 2020

Final Approval by Governor Expected Soon

APRIL 3, 2020: Late Thursday, the Legislature passed special legislation that waives the legal limit on public retirees working in government jobs here in Massachusetts. Governor Charlie Baker is expected to sign this special act as soon as today, which will waive both the hour and earnings limits for superannuation retirees in 2020.

PRIM Board Election Underway

PRIM Board Election Underway

MARCH 25, 2019: This week, retired and active state employees began to receive ballots to cast a vote to elect your representative to the state's Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board. Mass Retirees Executive Vice President Paul Shanley is the current elected member and is seeking reelection as your representative. Our Association has endorsed Paul and fully supports his reelection to this very important position.

Secure retirement benefits

Secure retirement benefits

Dear Members,

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and enduring this difficult time as best as you can. Here at Mass Retirees, our staff is doing as well as can be expected. We are still working on your behalf, albeit remotely. If you need us, please call or email.

Keeping our members safe

Keeping our members safe

MARCH 13, 2020: We hope that you and your family are safe and doing well while our nation fights the spread of the coronavirus.

In light of ongoing efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the health of our members, we have decided to postpone our upcoming membership meetings in Somerville and Leominster. We will make decisions on whether or not to proceed with future meetings based on the latest information available.

It's Our Anniversary!

It's Our Anniversary!

Welcome to the 1st Anniversary of Mass Retirees’ Facebook Friday. This week: The state GIC approves FY21 health insurance premium rates for 465,000 enrollees, with no increase in copayments or deductibles – but the battle to control healthcare inflation rages on! Watch here!

GIC Approves Premium Rates for FY’21

GIC Approves Premium Rates for FY’21

No Increase in Copayments or Deductibles 

February 27, 2020: The 17-member Commission voted today on the rates for the health insurances plans to be offered by it. The new plan rates will be effective July 1. While members will see an increase in their monthly premiums, their copayments and deductibles will remain unchanged. 

Meet Our New Legislative Team

Meet Our New Legislative Team

February 13, 2020: The start of a new decade marks the beginning of a new era for the Association’s legislative team.

Thomas Bonarrigo and Nancy McGovern – each a well-known and widely respected veterans of Beacon Hill – now lead our lobbying efforts. 

As Legislative Chairman, Bonarrigo is a key member of our Executive Board and will work part-time in the Association’s Beacon Hill office. He will oversee our legislative program and our advocacy efforts at the State House.  

Congressional Support for WEP Reform Continues to Grow

Congressional Support for WEP Reform Continues to Grow

H.R.4540 Reaches 124 Cosponsors

February 11, 2020: Work to make reform of the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) a true nationwide issue is paying off. At this time,124 members of Congress now officially cosponsor H.R.4540.

GIC Makes it Official: No OPC Increases For FY21

GIC Makes it Official: No OPC Increases For FY21

Premium Rate Vote Coming February 27th

FEBRUARY 6, 2020: It’s official. There will be no increases in copayments or deductibles in FY21 under the health insurance plans sponsored by the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC).

Today’s vote by the 17-member Commission followed recommendations made by GIC staff in January. This means that prescription drug and office visit copayments, as well as annual deductibles will not increase during the next fiscal year beginning July 1.

Retirees Legislative Proposals On The Move

Retirees Legislative Proposals On The Move

Public Service Committee Favorably Releases 8 Bills

FEBRUARY 6, 2020: Earlier this week, the Joint Committee on Public Service favorably released 8 bills sponsored by our Association. These proposals run the gambit of retiree benefits, from pensions, to health insurance, and survivor benefits. 

GIC Launches Planning Process for FY21

GIC Launches Planning Process for FY21

Listening Tours Will Proceed Decision Making 

DECEMBER 19, 2019: Today, the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) formally kicked-off the planning and decision making process for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins July 1, 2020.

Herman Departs GIC

Herman Departs GIC

Forged Working Relationship With Mass Retirees

DECEMBER 11, 2019: Just three and a half years into her tenure as executive director of the state’s Group Insurance Commission, Roberta Herman announced her departure from the key state agency on Friday.

Social Security has tilted to favor higher earners who delay claiming benefits, report says

Social Security has tilted to favor higher earners who delay claiming benefits, report says

By Robert Weisman, Boston Globe Staff

The nation’s Social Security program was designed with special concern for the least fortunate Americans, to keep them from sinking into poverty when they became too old to work.

But recent demographic changes have tilted the system against lower earners who claim Social Security benefits early, even as they’ve rewarded higher earners who claim benefits later, according to a Boston College report.

Special Offer: Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol

Special Offer: Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol

Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol
Emerson Colonial Theatre
Boston
December 3-29, 2019

Mass Retirees, Friends and Family Save up to $15 per ticket!

Announcing the Public Retirees Alliance

Announcing the Public Retirees Alliance

November 15, 2019: Together with the Texas Retired Teachers Association, we have created the Public Retirees Alliance – a national organization with the aim of passing Social Security WEP and GPO reform. We are focused on improving the lives of all public retirees – starting with the passage of H.R.4540. And we’re not sitting back waiting for others to act. Let’s #DoSomething and pass WEP reform!

Keeping an eye on health insurance

Keeping an eye on health insurance

NOVEMBER 8, 2019: This week’s video message focuses on the upcoming retiree health insurance plan design process for Fiscal Year 2020. I realize that it’s only November 8th, but the planning process for the next fiscal year gets underway now. In Massachusetts, the state and local fiscal year begins on July 1.