News Flash From AFT Massachusetts

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Teachers Who Transferred into the Massachusetts Teachers Retirement System from Another Massachusetts Public Retirement System Can Opt in to Retirement Plus! With AFT Massachusetts support, the Legislature has at long last passed a bill which allows those teachers who transferred into Massachusetts Teachers Retirement System (MTRS) or the Boston Retirement System after June 1, 2001 and before June 30, 2022 a one time opportunity to opt into Retirement Plus.

From the MTRS:  

New law offers eligible Members who transferred into the MTRS a second chance for RetirementPlus (R+) participation

The Governor has signed legislation that offers eligible members who transferred into the MTRS a second opportunity to elect to participate in the RetirementPlus (R+) program. The R+ program, signed into law in 2000, provided eligible members with increased retirement benefits. As stipulated in the R+ legislation in 2000, members who transferred into the MTRS from another Massachusetts public retirement system (e.g., a teacher aide who became a teacher) had 180 days to elect to participate in R+. If they did not respond, they were not enrolled in R+.

The new law, Chapter 134 of the Acts of 2022, allows only those members (approximately 2,000-3,000) who transferred into the MTRS from another Massachusetts public retirement system between July 1, 2001 and June 30, 2022, and who did not yet submit an election, to have a second opportunity to elect to participate in the R+ program.  Please note that this election opportunity does not include members who already had the opportunity to elect to participate in R+ during the original election window in 2001. This new election period begins on January 1, 2023 and ends on June 30, 2023. Members who do not respond by June 30, 2023, will not be enrolled in the R+ program. Click here to the review the MTRS update.

Who is eligible?

Teachers who transferred from another Massachusetts public retirement system into MTRS or Boston Retirement System after July 1, 2001 and before June 30, 2022.

When can eligible transferee teachers opt in?

Eligible transferees can opt in to retirement plus during the window between January 1, 2023 and June 30, 2023, provided they pay the difference between retirement plus contributions (11% of salary) and the amount they contributed for all years applicable.

How much does it cost to participate in retirement plus?

11% of income per year (Note this is NOT the same as teachers who contribute 9% on the first $30,000 of income and an additional 2% on income over $30,000).

How do I know how much it will cost and when payments are due?

The MTRS is responsible for determining the difference in the amount a teacher contributed to MTRS and the amount required for RetirementPlus. It will also determine the manner in which payments will be made. MTRS has not yet published how they will require payments to be made.

What if I transfer in to MTRS from another Massachusetts public retirement system after June 30, 2022?

You are required to participate in retirement plus, at the 11% contribution rate.

What if I am in MTRS but transferred from one school district to another?

You are not eligible to change your designation.  If you started on or after July 1, 2001, you are already in RetirementPlus at the 11% contribution rate.

I was already in MTRS or Boston retirement before July 1, 2001, but did not opt in to retirement plus, can I opt in now?

No, this bill only applies to transferees.

Who is NOT eligible?

1.Teachers who were in the MTRS or Boston Retirement System prior to July 1, 2001.
2. Teachers who became members of MTRS or Boston Retirement System after July 1, 2001, but did NOT come in as transferees. You are already in RetirementPlus and make 11% contributions.

What is RetirementPlus? 

RetirementPlus allows an additional 2% per year for every year over 24 years (approximately an additional 12% on the regular formula.)  Click here to view th MTRS Retirement Charts. 

What are the requirements for retirement plus?

A teacher must have 30 years of creditable service and have served as a teacher for not less than 20 of these years.

What if I retire before I have 30 years of total service and 20 years as a teacher?

You will receive the ordinary retirement calculated amount and the excess contributions you made to the MTRS or Boston Retirement System will be refunded to you. 

Where can I read the Law?

Click here to review the new law, Chapter 134 of the Acts of 2022, 

(ii) The normal yearly amount of the retirement allowance for an eligible employee who has completed at least 30 years of creditable service and has paid the full amount of regular deductions on the total amount of regular compensation as determined under paragraph (a) of subdivision (2), shall be based on the average annual rate of regular compensation as determined under said paragraph (a) and shall be computed according to the table contained in said paragraph (a) based on the age of such member and his number of years and full months of creditable service at the time of his retirement with the percentage of salary average in such computation to be increased by 2 per cent per year for each full year of service in excess of 24 years of creditable service, and in the case of any employee who becomes a member on or after April 2, 2012, to be increased by 2 per cent per year for each full year of service in excess of 23 years of creditable service. Such member shall have served for not less than 20 years as a teacher in order to be eligible to receive the benefit provided under this subdivision. For any member who retires before age 55, his age factor shall be determined in accordance with subdivision (1) of section 10. Any member who retires before completing 30 years of service shall receive a retirement allowance equal to the retirement allowance that the member would have been eligible for had he not participated in the alternative superannuation retirement benefit program.