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WEP: New Reform Bill Filed

WEP: New Reform Bill Filed

Brady & Neal Seek Compromise With H.R. 6933

In a positive sign that blind partisanship can be set aside for the greater good of the country, new federal legislation was filed in the final days of September that, if passed, would mark the first step toward resolving the unfairness of the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) since the law’s creation in 1983.

Vote Yes On Question 1 For Safe Patient Limits

Vote Yes On Question 1 For Safe Patient Limits

Retirees Support Safe Patient Limits

Few, if any, ballot questions in recent memory have brought about more confusion than Question 1. Mass Retirees supports Yes on 1 and hopes to bring clarity to the issue.

Brought to the ballot by the Mass Nurses Association (MNA) for direct action by voters, Question 1 seeks to establish Safe Patient Limits in Massachusetts hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Simply put, it would establish the maximum number of patients assigned to a single nurse at a given time.

Bill Would Rework Limits on Social Security for Some Public Workers

It’s the latest effort by lawmakers to overhaul the “Windfall Elimination Provision," which affects benefits for thousands of state and local government employees around the U.S.

Congressional lawmakers are proposing bipartisan legislation they say would improve the fairness of Social Security for state and local government retirees by revamping a provision that can restrict benefits from the federal retirement program for some public workers.

PERAC Forum Spotlights WEP/GPO Fight

PERAC Forum Spotlights WEP/GPO Fight

Mass Retirees Addresses 300 Retirement Officials 

SEPTEMBER 14, 2018: An important aspect of Mass Retirees’ advocacy efforts to reform the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) laws is to educate the public, as well as policy makers, as to the unfairness and negative impact of the two federal laws. 

50 Years as the Voice of the Retired Public Employee

Founded in the fall of 1968, Mass Retirees has served as the lead advocates for all Massachusetts retired public employees for the past 50 years. 

From the Association’s humble beginnings, our mission has been to represent the interests of all public retirees at the state, local and federal levels of government. Our focus is public pension, Social Security, Medicare and retiree healthcare policy, for which Mass Retirees has become widely recognized for our expertise.

GIC Continues to Examine Health Plan Affordability

Review Comes at Request of Mass Retirees 

AUGUST 7, 2018: Following several years of increased healthcare costs paid by retirees in their insurance through the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC), Mass Retirees called upon the Commission to consider affordability prior to any further increases in cost. 

Legislature Restores Retiree Work Limit To 1,200 Hours

Legislature Restores Retiree Work Limit To 1,200 Hours

Rejects Governor’s Counter Proposal

 AUGUST 1, 2018: Late last night, the Legislature reapproved Mass Retirees proposal increasing the limit on public sector post retirement employment to 1,200 hours annually.

The legislation, which is now known as H4821, increases the hourly limit part time work from the current limit of 960 hours to 1,200 per year. H4821 is now before Governor Charlie Baker, who has 10 days in which to either approve or veto the bill.

Treasurer Goldberg Delivers July COLA

Treasurer Goldberg Delivers July COLA

3% For State & Teacher Retirees

Thanks to State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, as well as the State Employees and Teachers Retirement Boards, the July pension checks of over 127,000 State and Teacher retirees will contain the 3% COLA.

Annual COLA approval for both State and Teacher retirees is handled through the State Budget. Despite being approved in all three versions of the FY19 State Budget (Governor, House, and Senate), this year’s 3% COLA payment was stuck in limbo as budget negotiations extended into mid-July.

Baker Rejects Part-Time Work Limit Increase

Baker Rejects Part-Time Work Limit Increase

Mass Retirees Shocked By Governor’s Counter Proposal

JULY 26, 2018: Governor Charlie Baker has rejected a Mass Retirees proposal that would increase the hourly limit for retirees returning to part-time public sector work. Our proposal, which was also backed by the Mass Police and Professional Fire Fighters, was passed within the FY19 State budget as outside section 29.

Legislature Approves Increase in Retiree Part-Time Work

Legislature Approves Increase in Retiree Part-Time Work

Now Awaiting Governor’s Approval

JULY 19, 2018: The recently passed State Budget includes a section increasing the hourly restriction on part-time work to 1,200 hours a year. This measure applies to public retirees who return to part-time work with either the state or local government within Massachusetts.

Mass Retirees partnered with the Mass Police Association to spearhead the statutory change, which effectively amounts to 23 hours a week. Current law limits public retirees to just 960 hours annually, or 18.5 hours a week.

State Budget Deal Reached

State Budget Deal Reached

3% State & Teacher COLA Retroactive to July 1

JULY 18, 2018: House and Senate budget negotiators have reached agreement finalizing the $41.88 billion FY19 State Budget. Both branches of the legislature approved the budget today. Governor Charlie Baker now has 10 days in which to review the document, before taking executive action. 

In passing the budget, the legislature has approved a full 3% COLA on a $13,000 base for State and Teacher retirees, who retired prior to July 1, 2017.  

No Action Taken on Life Insurance & Moratorium Fix

Formal Legislative Session Ends July 31st

JUNE 25, 2018: Despite the best efforts of our legislative team, as well as a wide array of union lobbyists, Mass Retirees’ amendments to the House’s Health Care Reform bill (H4617) failed to be adopted. Of the 171 total amendments filed, only 25 were successfully adopted during last week’s debate in the House. 

LOCAL & TEACHER RETIREES: WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW!

LOCAL & TEACHER RETIREES: WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW!

JUNE 19, 2018: Mass Retirees is calling for your immediate help in advocating for our legislation that will permanently protect local retirees from future increases in the percentage of the health insurance premium that you must pay. Today, the House will begin debate on the H4617, a bill relative to healthcare reform in Massachusetts and consider an amendment that provides this basic protection to all local retirees – including retired teachers.

Raise the Death Benefit

Raise the Death Benefit

Mass Retirees Call on House to Increase Basic Life Insurance: Adopt Amendment #99

State retirees and active employees are urged to contact their State Representative and ask that they support AND vote to adopt Amendment #99 to H4617. This proposal would increase the state’s Basic Life Insurance benefit to $10,000, utilizing a small portion of the Group Insurance Commission’s projected $99 Million surplus as a funding source.

Once Again State Pension Fund One of the Best

Mass. pension fund enjoyed highest return from private equity investments of any in country

By Jon Chesto, GLOBE STAFF  MAY 23, 2018

The Massachusetts state pension fund is tops in its field when it comes to picking winners in the difficult world of private equity investments.

Senate Approves Change to Retiree Work Restrictions

Senate Approves Change to Retiree Work Restrictions

Increases Annual Hour Limit to 1,200

May 22, 2018: The State Senate has voted to increase the hourly limit placed on retirees who return to part-time public service for a state or local entity in Massachusetts. Senators Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport) and Paul Feeney (D-Foxboro) cosponsored the measure as an amendment to the FY19 Budget, now under debate in the Senate.

Trump thanks federal employees with $143.5 billion in retirement cuts

By Joe Davidson, Washington Post 

President Trump really knows how to say thank you.

Just as festivities geared up for Public Service Recognition Week, which began Sunday, his administration sent a letter to Congress proposing $143.5 billion in compensation cuts for federal employees. 

'Disappointing' End to State Budget Amendment Attempt

'Disappointing' End to State Budget Amendment Attempt

Focus Now Rests With Health Care Reform Legislation

April 27, 2018: On the fourth day of debate within the House of Representatives on the FY19 State Budget, Mass Retirees officials received disappointing news – the amendment pertaining to the State Basic Life Insurance was not adopted. 

Push to Increase State Retiree’s Life Insurance Benefit

Push to Increase State Retiree’s Life Insurance Benefit

Last Raised In 1985 – Retirees Urged to Call State Reps

April 23, 2018 – Mass Retirees has launched an all-out push to increase Basic Life Insurance benefits for state retirees and employees. The current $5,000 benefit was established 33-years ago in 1985.

House Budget Debate Begins April 23rd

House Budget Debate Begins April 23rd

Retirees Back Life & Health Insurance Amendments

April 18, 2018:  Mass Retirees backs four amendments to the FY19 budget, which is set to be debated in the House beginning April 23rd. The amendments range from increasing the basic state life insurance, protecting against increases in local health insurance contribution percentages, lifting hourly restrictions on part-time work in public service and granting Mass Retirees a seat on the state’s Group Insurance Commission. 

As Open Enrollment Begins, GIC Begins Planning for 2019

As Open Enrollment Begins, GIC Begins Planning for 2019

Governance, Transparency and Affordability Top Issues

April 5, 2018: Open enrollment is now underway for retirees enrolled in the state’s Group Insurance Commission. All changes take effect on July 1, 2018. The open enrollment period runs through May 2nd and coincides with GIC’s thirteen regional health fairs.

Retired Municipal Teachers Insurance Program Saved

Retired Municipal Teachers Insurance Program Saved

Legislature & Governor Take Quick Action to Avoid Premium Spike

March 27, 2018: At the urging of the Group Insurance Commission and Mass Retirees, the State Legislature and Governor Baker worked together to quickly head off a pending nightmare for the 10,000 teachers participating in the state’s Retired Municipal Teacher (RMT) Program.

LEGIS, BAKER ACT TO SAVE RETIRED TEACHERS ON HEALTH INSURANCE

Urgent legislation required to spare a group of retired public employees, mostly teachers, from a spike in health care costs next year sped through the legislative chambers on Monday and Gov. Charlie Baker quickly signed his name to the bill he filed just over a week ago. The new law will merge roughly 10,000 retirees into the main pool of Group Insurance Commission members, enabling them to avoid cost spikes, according to the governor and GIC officials.

Legislation Moving For RMT Insurance Fix

Legislation Moving For RMT Insurance Fix

Mass Retirees Joins GIC in Calling For Swift Action

March 20, 2018: The closing minutes of winter 2018 marked a joint effort by the Group Insurance Commission and Mass Retirees to pass emergency legislation to merge the GIC’s two insurance pools.