Senate Passes Legislation to Clarify Mass Teachers Retirement System Enrollment Process

BOSTON – Today, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed S.2592, An Act relative to the Massachusetts teachers retirement system, sponsored by Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). The bill would improve the enrollment process for new members of the Massachusetts Teachers Retirement System (MTRS) or new teacher members of the Boston Retirement System (BRS) who have previous creditable service in another Massachusetts contributory retirement system.

Currently, these members have the option of joining the alternative superannuation retirement benefit program known as the “Retirement Plus” (R+) program. Confusion around this process has led to some members believing they are in the R+ program when they have not opted into the system as required under law. This legislation creates a process to correct this problem for current members and eliminate the problem for future members.

“The Massachusetts Senate is committed to supporting our teachers and ensuring that they are supported in their retirement,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “This legislation will provide teachers and the Retirement System with a process to ensure that teachers know exactly which benefits they have and are entitled to.”

“Nearly 2,000 members of the MTRS and BRS may have been impacted by confusion on an election notice to opt-in to the Retirement Plus program,” said Senator Friedman, Senate vice chair of the Joint Committee on Public Service. “The purpose of this legislation is to create a more streamlined and transparent process for those who wish to participate in the program and avoid any misunderstanding about enrollment in the future.”

This bill does not create a new retirement program for teachers; rather, it makes a technical process change to allow the MTRS and the BRS to confirm the intent of educators on their R+ election, and to make sure the system receives the required R+ contribution rate.

The legislation is supported by the MTRS, the Boston Retirement System (BRS), the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC), the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)-Massachusetts, the Boston Teachers’ Union (BTU), and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS).

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