During this difficult time, we want to let you know that although the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System’s offices are closed to the public,  we continue to provide essential services to our members.

Thank you for your cooperation, patience and understanding as we do our part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

We have assembled the following frequently asked questions which we will update on a regular basis. Please continue to visit our website for the latest developments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the MTRS open for business? (Updated 8/4/2020)

MTRS physical offices in Charlestown and Springfield are closed to the public until further notice. However, we continue to provide essential services to our members.

How do I contact the MTRS during this time? (Updated 8/4/2020)

If your matter is not urgent, we ask that you utilize the resources for Members, including seminar programs and videos, and Retirees. However, if you do have an urgent matter, you can reach us by email at GenInfo@trb.state.ma.us, or by phone at 617-679-6877 or 413-784-1711. Our phone menu lists subject-specific voicemail boxes where you can leave a message. Response time may be a bit delayed, but we will return your call or email as soon as possible—in most cases in less than 24 hours.

Will my monthly benefit be delayed? (Updated 8/4/2020)

We want to assure our retirees and survivors that during the pandemic, there has not been, nor will there be, a delay in your monthly benefit payments.

Is my retirement secure?

The assets of the MTRS are invested for the long term and broadly diversified in order to manage risk and respond to periods of market volatility and uncertainty. Your MTRS retirement benefits continue to be secure.

Are Massachusetts educators and school staff eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine? (Updated 4/12/2021)

Active Massachusetts K-12 educators and school staff are eligible to register for and receive the COVID-19 vaccine from any of the public vaccine sites available on mass.gov/COVIDvaccine, as well as through the federal retail pharmacy program’s CVS website.

I received a Benefit Verification Form with my 2020 1099-R. What do I need to do with it? (Added 3/1/2021)

The MTRS must perform a verification of all benefit recipients every two years. If you received a Benefit Verification form this year, please:

  1. Review, complete and sign the appropriate section of the form.
  2. Have anyone age 18 or older sign the form as a witness. In order to make this process safer for our retirees during the coronavirus pandemic, the MTRS is not requiring a notary signature this year.
  3. Return the form in the provided envelope before the indicated return-by date.

For more detailed information please see Benefit Verification Process

Is there an early retirement incentive program for Massachusetts teachers? (Updated 4/16/2021)

The early retirement incentive (ERI) proposal from the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), filed in February by co-sponsors State Senator John C. Velis and State Representative Carol A. Doherty, has been referred to the Joint Committee on Public Service. The proposed legislation, An Act to provide a retirement enhancement opportunity for certain members of the Massachusetts Teachers Retirement System, is now identified in the House as H.2620 and in the Senate as S.1791.

Please note that the ERI proposals were filed by the MTA, and not the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System (MTRS). If you have specific questions on the bill, review the MTA provided Fact Sheet, Questions and Answers, Webinar Replay, and contact the MTA.

While the filed bills have been assigned to a committee, they have not yet been scheduled for a public hearing and have not had any initial votes in the legislature. You can track the progress of the bills on the Joint Committee on Public Service website. The journey from a proposed bill to a law is a deliberative process and does not always end with a passed law, as summarized on the MTA Legislative Action page.

If the proposed legislation impacts you and your decision to potentially retire, the MTRS encourages you to review the MTA resources and check both the MTA and MTRS websites periodically for updates.

Will coronavirus related school closures affect my retirement benefit calculation? (Updated 3/1/2021)

If you continue to receive your regular salary while your school is closed, your district will continue to withhold your MTRS retirement deductions, and you will receive your creditable service for the period of the closure. Similarly, your final average salary will not be affected provided you receive your regular earnings during the period of the closure.

I usually receive a stipend for coaching. If I don’t receive this stipend due to cancelled sports programs, how will my final average salary be calculated? (Updated 3/1/2021)

If you do not receive your stipend, the MTRS cannot include that amount in your final salary average. However, your salary average is based on the higher of your last three years’ earnings or your highest three consecutive years of earnings. So, for example, if your highest three years run from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2021, we will base your average on those earnings.

Is the MTRS accepting other types of mail, such as forms, checks for existing invoices, or any other documentation or correspondence?

Yes, we continue to process our mail, so please continue to mail all paperwork to either our Charlestown or Springfield office.

In-person seminars and counseling sessions are postponed, what educational materials are available in the meantime? (Updated 4/16/2021)

You can find many valuable resources, publications and videos on the Members page on our website.

We are conducting a live online “Your MTRS Benefits” seminar, Wednesday 4/21/2021 at 1:00 PM. An invitation was sent to active members, email trb.seminar@trb.state.ma.us for more information. Watch our website as additional dates and times for “Your MTRS Benefits,” along with other seminars and events, will be scheduled soon!

Members seeking general information about their retirement benefits and the retirement process are encouraged to visit our Member Videos page, where we have posted extensive seminar materials, including the “Your MTRS Benefits program booklet” (updated for 2021) and “Ready for Retirement” reference guides.

Will the MTRS continue to hold monthly board meetings?

Yes, monthly board meetings will continue; however, we are utilizing remote attendance methods as much as possible.

I’ve been hearing about the increase of fraud, should I be concerned? (Updated 9/17/2020)

Please be aware that scammers are increasing their activities during the coronavirus crisis. Capitalizing on the rapidly evolving situation, scammers may try to trick you with fake emails and phone calls. For example,

  • they may pretend to be the MTRS, or your bank, or another trusted entity and ask for your personal information via email;
  • They may pretend to be conducting contact tracing and ask for bank or credit card information, or your social security number;
  • they may call you pretending to be a relative who is sick and needs money; or
  • they may call you or email you pretending to be from the government and claiming they need you to provide your personal information so that they can give you money.

Thus, it is extremely important that you do not click on links in emails, and do not provide your personal information via email or over the phone. Please be wary and exercise extreme caution.

Finally, please note that emails from the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System will always come from addresses that end with @trb.state.ma.us.

This situation is causing stress and anxiety, what resources are available?

There are many resources available to help you take care of your emotional health and wellness during this time.

Mass.gov has posted resources and tips to Maintaining Emotional Health & Well-Being During the COVID-19 Outbreak.

The MTRS recently published a list of Senior Resources which includes a list of agencies, services and resources that you may find helpful.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted guidelines, including dealing with stress, for individuals 65 years and older.

Where can I find accurate and reliable information?

In this digital age, information is readily available and disseminated in a variety of formats. It is important at a time like this to rely on official, accurate facts.

Official Commonwealth of Massachusetts announcements and information are available on Mass.gov and reliable information on COVID-19 is available on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Are there changes to the post retirement hours and earnings restrictions due to the COVID-19 crisis? (Updated 12/18/2020)

For many retirees, yes. Restrictions on the hours and earnings of retired public employees working in the public sector shall be waived throughout the duration of the COVID-19 State of Emergency, or through the end of Calendar Year 2021, whichever occurs first. Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020 established the restriction waiver period beginning on March 10, 2020, the day the Governor declared the State of Emergency. Chapter 227 of the Acts of 2020 extended the waiver period end date. For detailed information, including exclusions, please review both PERAC Memo #21, 2020 and PERAC Memo #35, 2020.