Breaking News

STATE RETIREMENT BOARD ELECTION

Ralph WhiteBallots will shortly be sent to all members of the State Retirement System for a very important election.

Association President Ralph White is running for re-election to a new three-year term as one of the two elected members of the State Retirement Board. The second elected seat is currently being held by Theresa McGoldrick. Her term will not expire this year.

Ralph White, the senior member of the Board, wishes to remind all retired state employees of the importance of this election. He is the only state retiree on the five-member Board. The following statement is from Mr. White:

KERRY AGREES TO SUPPORT WEP/GPO HEARINGS

SEPTEMBER 12, 2007: After hearing the outcry of Association members, outraged by the lack of federal action on the issues of WEP/GPO repeal, US Senator John Kerry has agreed to support our Association’s request to hold public hearings on the issue of Social Security this fall.

RETIREES OUTRAGED OVER SOCIAL SECURITY STANCE

AUGUST 24, 2007:   The phones in the Association’s Boston office have been ringing white hot with calls from retirees who are outraged by the refusal of Senator John Kerry to hold a public hearing on the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO), as we reported in the September Voice. Many members have notified the Association that they contacted the Senator’s office to express their concern and repeated our request for a public hearing.

July COLA Paid on Schedule

SEPT 2007 - Members of the State and Teachers’ Retirement Systems, as well as those of our 104 local retirement systems, received their new 3% cost-of-living increase this July.

Powerful House Chair Calls For Hearing

Sept 2007 - Spells Out Need - In sharp contrast to the position taken in the U.S. Senate, where a 2007 hearing on Social Security has been all but ruled out, leaders in the House of Representatives are not shying away from addressing the dreaded Social Security offset laws.

Advancing the prospect of full hearings in the House on the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) is House Ways and Chairman Charles Rangel. The powerful New York Democrat has publicly called for hearings to take place, during the current Congressional session, on the issue.

COLA PAYMENTS IN JULY CHECKS

AUGUST 1, 2007: Once again, we are pleased to announce that members retired from each of the 106 retirement systems across Massachusetts did receive a 2007 COLA in their July pension check. The full 3% COLA was approved by each of the 104 local retirement boards for local retirees, as well as by the state legislature for state and teacher retirees.

WAYS AND MEANS CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR HEARING ON WEP/GPO REPEAL

July 6, 2007 (Washington, DC): House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) has called for a hearing on H.R.82, the foremost legislation, supported by the Association, that repeals Social Security’s WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) and GPO (Government Pension Offset) laws. Chairman Rangel did so in a letter just sent to the Social Security Subcommittee and its chairman, Congressman Michael McNulty, who is also from New York, representing the Albany area. The chairman’s letter had been issued after he met with the leading Democratic sponsor of H.R.82, California Congressman Howard Berman. (The leading Republican sponsor is another Californian, Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon.)

HOUSE AND SENATE ENACT GIC MUNICIPAL HEALTH INSURANCE BILL

July 2, 2007: After years of negotiations, involving our Association, both the House and Senate have enacted legislation that will allow municipalities to join the state health insurance program, administered by the Group Insurance Commission (GIC). “We believe that once it’s enacted, the GIC Municipal Health Insurance Law will offer a viable option to local retirees, unions and officials as they attempt to solve the ever-increasing costs of healthcare,” states Legislative Chairman Bill Hill.

MEDICARE SAVING STATE NEARLY $400 MILLION

Retirees, enrolled in Medicare Part B, saved the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) nearly $400 million in FY06.

With the average cost of non-Medicare retirees coming in at nearly four times higher than Medicare enrollees, the state’s mandatory-Medicare policy continues to be a windfall for the Commonwealth…but at what cost to retirees? Our answer: The state is cheating retirees by not paying a dime toward a major portion of their insurance costs, namely the Part B premium.

Nearly five years have now passed since then-Acting Governor Jane Swift eliminated the state’s Medicare Part B reimbursement with the stroke of her pen. As a result, members, insured under the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC), are forced to pay 100% of the Medicare Part B premium out of their own pockets.

KERRY CENTRAL TO WEP/GPO DEBATE

2007 JULY - As the new chairman of the US Senate’s Subcommittee on Social Security, Bay State Senator John Kerry now finds himself in a pivotal role in the debate over the future of the federal retirement program.