In 2001, Massachusetts introduced Teachers' Alternate Retirement Plan (TARP) or Retirement Plus, an enhanced retirement option for teachers, school nurses, related service providers and other educators with a deduction rate of 11%. All educators hired after July 1, 2001 were automatically enrolled in the new program, but current educators had only 6 months to opt in. A complicated process and confusing branding meant that many educators didn’t properly enroll, or thought they were enrolled when they really weren’t. (For instance, the branding of TARP as “Retirement Plus” caused many eligible teachers to think they were already in the program when they saw a deduction of “9+2%” on their paychecks). Others were unenrolled from the program without notice when they transferred between different school districts. As a result, several thousand educators will have to work for 3-5 years longer to earn the maximum retirement benefit.
House Bill 2483 filed by Representative Consalvo, Senate Bill 1702 filed by Senator Miranda, House Bill 2630 filed by Representative Peisch, and Senate Bill 1741 filed by Senator Timilty would allow current non-TARP educators to opt into the enhanced TARP retirement benefits that current employees receive, by paying the difference between what they’ve paid in deductions since 2001 and what they would have paid if they had opted in at the time. This “make-up amount” could be paid in either a payment plan or in one lump-sum payment. The legislation would require modest additional state funding of teacher retirement benefits, and would result in substantial savings to local school districts through the retirement of R+ educators and the hiring of new teachers at significantly lower salaries.
On June 29, AFT members advocated at the State House and testified before the Joint Committee on Public Service in support of bills relating to cost-of-living adjustments for retirees and creditable service enhancements for public employees.
Please take a moment and send an email to your State Representative and State Senator asking them to give educators a second chance at Retirement Plus and to ask them to encourage the Joint Committee on Public Service to report H.2483, S.1702, H.2630, and S.1741 out favorably. Including a few sentences about your own career and financial needs can go a long way – legislators respond best to personal stories from their constituents!
Follow the link and send an email today! https://actionnetwork.org/letters/retirementplus