May 2002

Local COLA Update

MAY 2002
- As of March 30, fifty-five local retirement boards including seven
for county/regional systems had voted to pay a 3% cost-of-living (COLA)
beginning July 1. Members in these systems must have retired before
July 1, 2001 in order to receive this increase.

Walter Zagol's reaction to Band of Brothers

MAY 2002
- You bet I watched it,” was Association member Walter Zagol’s reaction
when asked if he tuned in to Band of Brothers, a 10-part miniseries
which recently aired on HBO.

Majority Of Congressmen Now Support Relief From Social Security

MAY 2002
- For the first time, federal legislation that would provide relief
from the onerous Windfall Elimination Provisions (WEP) of the Social
Security law, has garnered the support of a majority in the US House of
Representatives. H.R. 1073, introduced by Congressman Barney Frank of
Newton, now has 219 sponsors out of 435 representatives.

LTC Insurance Offered To Federal Retirees

MAY 2002
- Senator Chandler Sponsors Mass. Study - Back in November 2000, we reported that the federal government was
working to implement a long term care (LTC) insurance program, which
would be offered to its retirees and employees this year. By today’s
definition, LTC encompasses a full range of services beyond nursing
home care, including home or community based services and assisted
living facilities.

New State Dental Plan Takes Shape

MAY 2002
- Retirees Urged To Take Close Look - News that the state has created a retiree dental plan has been met
with mostly positive reaction among eligible Association members. The
new plan, which begins July 1, 2002, is the first time such coverage
will be offered to retirees enrolled under the state Group Insurance
Commission (GIC). This includes those retired teachers and local
government retirees who hold GIC coverage.

Webster Retirees Seek Help With Insurance Premiums

MAY 2002
- Southwick Pensioners Have Town’s Support For Increased Premium Aid - Retirees of the Central Mass. community of Webster are again
attempting to win the support of the town’s voters as they seek
assistance with their health insurance premiums.

State Health Insurance Rates Continue To Climb

MAY 2002
- Increase Affects GIC’s State, RMT & EGR Retirees - Retirees and survivors, insured through the state’s Group Insurance
Commission (GIC), will be forced to pay more for their health insurance
beginning July 1.

Local Early Retirement Nears Approval

MAY 2002
- Strong Support In Legislature - Early retirement legislation, similar to that offered to Group 1
state employees and Group 2 court personnel, is now in the legislative
pipeline at the State House.

Leaders Tackle Fiscal Crisis

MAY 2002
- Pension Fund Reduction Not On Table - Faced with a $2.3 billion FY ‘03 budget deficit, Legislative leaders
continue to grapple with ways to reduce the huge gap, while at the same
time deal with a $600 million deficit in the current fiscal year which
ends this July 1.

Circuit Breaker: Still Time To File

MAY 2002
- Even though the filing deadline for state income tax returns (April
16) may have passed, you can still file for circuit breaker (CB)
property tax relief. So members, particularly those who normally don’t
file state returns, should not be upset with themselves if they forgot
to apply by April 16. Time has not run out!