Some frequently asked questions by members. Please contact the board directly if you have further questions or do not see your question addressed below.
What do I need to know if I come back to work for a City or Town in Massachusetts?
Frequently Asked Questions Post Retirement Earnings for MA retirees working for a governmental unit
1. I retired from the Commonwealth of MA; can I take employment with any city, town or other MA governmental employer?
Yes, but there are two strict limitations on further public employment in the Commonwealth following your retirement from a public service position. You will be limited to 960 hours in a calendar year and also your earnings will be limited during the calendar year. It applies to any public employment, regardless of whether or not it occurs in the same governmental unit from which the employee retired.
2. I retired this past June, what can I earn in a calendar year from a public employer after retirement?
Your public employment earnings for the period of post-retirement employment in any calendar year, when added to your retirement allowance, cannot be greater than the salary currently being paid for the position from which you retired plus $15,000. However, the additional $15,000 is not applied in the calculation for the first full calendar year following the retirement date but each calendar year thereafter.
3. What happens if I reach 960 hours during a calendar year but I have not reached my earn
Your public employment must cease when either limitation is reached for the remainder of the calendar year.
a.Is this based on calendar year, fiscal year, or school year?
The earnings and hourly limits on post-retirement public employment, MGL c.32, §91(b), are based on a calendar year period, January - December.
b.Who will keep track of the hours and earnings amount?
The responsibility of monitoring both the hours and the earnings amount lays with you the member and your employer.
4. How do I find out the current salary, and what should be included in that amount?
You must contact your former employer; from where you retired from to find out what your salary would be had you remained in service. Any compensation that was considered pensionable at retirement, such as longevity and education incentives, should be included in the current salary amount.
5. I work for more than one public employer, can I work 960 hours for each?
No. All hours and earnings must be added together from all MA governmental units worked. Cumulatively they cannot exceed the 960 hours or earnings limits.
6. Does my "retirement allowance" used in calculating my earnings limit include my annuity as well as my pension portion of my annual benefit?
Yes, the "retirement allowance" used in calculating your earnings limit does include both your annuity amount as well as your pension portion of the annual benefit.
7. I pay child support and my ex-spouse receives a portion of my retirement allowance, does that get included in the calculation of what I can earn?
Yes, the gross retirement allowance is the figure used.
a. What if the position that I retired from no longer exists?
General normal increases will be added to the last paid salary that you received at the date of retirement.
8. I retired and my employer privatized my position and I am now serving in such capacity as a private consultant or independent contractor; am I subject to these limitations?
Yes, you are subject to public employment earnings limits. It is irrelevant whether an employee retiree chooses to classify him or herself as a "consultant" or "independent contractor" - the earnings limitations still apply if in fact the nature of the relationship is as an employee.
a.This issue is case specific, please contact PERAC directly for more guidance.
9. I am a surviving beneficiary of a public retiree, am I subject to public employment earning limits?
No, public employer earning limitations apply only to retirees, not survivors or beneficiaries.
10. I am a disabled retiree; can I add the additional $15,000 to my earnings limit for public employment?
Yes, beginning with the calendar year 2015, you are able to add $15,000 to your outside earnings from either public or private employment, according to Chapter 492, Acts of 2014, §2343
11. I retired on December 3, 2010 from state government and since then have started my own engineering company and act as a consultant and independent contractor for the state and some municipalities. Am I subject to the public sector earning limits?
Yes, for persons who retire after July 1, 2009, earnings as a consultant or an independent contractor are limited. A retiree may not avoid the limitations by forming a company if the primary reason for the formation is to avoid the limitations.
12. Is there any public sector re-employment that is not affected by these limitations?
Yes, you may:
• be paid for jury duty;
• be paid for services as an election officer;
• hold certain paid appointive positions; and,
• certain emergency employment may be authorized.
In addition, you may be elected to office by a direct vote of the people following your retirement, and be paid for the same without limitation; provided the position from which you retired was not the same elective office. If the position from which you retired was the same elective office, then the earnings limitations will apply to you unless at least one year has passed from the last day you held said public office and the commencement of your post-retirement elective office.
13. I am a retired police officer and do "private details" for the town, the compensation for these details are from fees collected from private companies. Am I subject to these limita tions?
Earnings for "details" which are paid by city or town payroll are included in these limitations, regardless of whether the city or town ultimately bills a private entity for the work.
14. I was a member of a retirement system for 25 years when my public employer outsourced my job to a private company and I continued to work full-time for the new company per forming the same duties and responsibilities. After serving 8 years with this company I may want to take my public retirement. Would I be subject to the earnings and hours limit if I decided to take my retirement benefit?
Yes, persons who retire after July 1, 2009, and whose earnings are derived from duties that require service to a public entity during regular business hours, are subject to the earnings and the 960 hourly limit.
When will I receive my monthly retirement allowance?
When using direct deposit, your monthly retirement allowance, will be available in your account on the last business day of each month. The Retirement Board recommends all retirees be on direct deposit.
What if I go to Florida in the winter, how will I get my 1099R in January?
The Retirement Board will send your 1099R and any other information to your Florida address. You need to inform the Board, in writing, of the dates you want us to use your Florida address and the dates you want us to use your local address.
Do I have to notify the Retirement Board if I move?
Yes, please let the Retirement Board know of all life changes in writing.
What do I do if I change my bank account?
Please notify the Retirement Board in writing and provide a voided check or letter from the bank identifying your account checking/savings and the bank routing number.
Will the Retirement Board take out health insurance premiums?
Yes, as long as you are eligible to have health insurance, the Retirement Board will withhold your monthly premiums.
When can I change my health insurance?
You may change your health insurance during open enrollment, which occurs each spring. You should receive notification on an annual basis, from the State's Group Insurance Commission or the City's Benefits Office, about open enrollment. In most cases, the GIC and or City hold a Health Fair during that time. The GIC can be reached at 617-727-2310. The Health Insurance Staff can be reachd at 413-787-6055.
Will I receive any increases to my retirement allowance?
You will recieve a cost of living adjustment (COLA) if the Springfield Retirement Board votes a Cost-of Living Adjustment (COLA). The Springfield Board has approved COLA's in the past of 3% on a maximum of $12,000 per year. Recently the Board voted to increase the maximum to $13,000, which is allowed by a recent change in legislation.
You will see the increase in the July check.
Who can make changes to my retirement information?
Only the retiree can make changes unless there is a guardian or power of attorney.
Will there be any change to may retirement allowance if my spouse dies?
If your retirement application was filed on or after January 12, 1988 and your Option C beneficiary pre-deceases you your retirement allowance will pop-up to Option A.
What is the procedure if I want to buy back previous service time?
First, contact the personnel department where you previously worked. You must request the following information: 1. Complete payroll record for the period of time you worked. 2. Exact hours worked. 3. Pay rate. 4. W-2 information. 5. How many hours are considered full time for this position? Mail all documents to the Retirement Board for consideration. Allow 30 to 60 days to hear back from us following receipt of your request.
I want to retire, what do I do?
Call the retirement office for an appointment. If you are married, your spouse should accompany you.
If I leave employment, can I leave my money in the system?
Yes, your account will continue to accrue interest. A limitation on the amount of interest may apply when you decide to withdraw funds. If you transfer your funds to another Mass. retirement system or if your retire, you will collect the full amount of the interest.
What is the most I can get as a retirement allowance?
The most anyone can collect as an annual retirement allowance is approximately 80% of his or her average three high consecutive years of regular salary.
Do you invest my money?
Yes, the funds are fully invested by professional money managers based on the rules and regulations set by legislation.
What do you do with my contributions?
These contributions are a source of income to the Springfield Retirement System to help fund a lasting resource of pension benefits.
Why do I have to contribute to the Springfield Retirement System?
All permanent full-time and part-time municipal employees have a mandatory deduction withheld from their regular compensation. These contributions go toward funding a member's defined benefit pension. By state law, you do not pay into Social Security as a public employee working in Massachusetts.