During this difficult time, we want to let you know that although the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System’s offices are closed, our staff is continuing to work remotely, and onsite as needed, to maintain essential services.

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 as we closely monitor this rapidly evolving situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the MTRS open for business?

MTRS physical offices in Charlestown and Springfield are closed, per order of the Governor, until further notice. However, we have implemented remote work arrangements and we continue to provide essential services while practicing social distancing.

How do I contact the MTRS during this time?

If your matter is not urgent, we ask that you hold off contacting us until the COVID-19 crisis abates. 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.

Will my monthly benefit be delayed?

We want to assure our retirees and survivors that there will be no delay in your monthly benefit payments.

Is my retirement secure considering the stock market volatility?

The spread of COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on global markets; however, 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.

I plan on retiring at the end of this school year. Should I submit my Retirement Application?

Yes, members who plan to retire should mail their Retirement Application to either our Charlestown or Springfield office, preferably four (4) months before their intended retirement date. While our staff is working to acknowledge receipt of applications as quickly as possible, as an added precaution, members may wish to send their application via certified mail in order to receive timely confirmation of delivery.

Will there be a delay in my benefit calculation?

Processing retirement applications is one of the essential services we are maintaining during this COVID-19 pandemic, and we are working diligently to minimize delays in the processing of new applications.

My school district is currently closed due to the coronavirus. Will the school closure affect my retirement benefit calculation?

As long as 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’m planning to retire this June and usually receive a $5,000 stipend for coaching a spring sport from April 1 to June 30. If I don’t receive this stipend, how will my final average salary be calculated?

If you do not receive your stipend this spring, 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, 2017 to March 31, 2020, 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?

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

The “Your MTRS Benefits” seminar series that is normally held in school districts across the state will not be scheduled this spring. Instead, 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.

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?

During the coronavirus crisis, as $2 trillion in federal stimulus funds are preparing to flow to all sectors of the economy, please be aware that scammers are increasing their activities. Capitalizing on the sense of urgency and uncertainty, 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 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? (Added 4/14/2020)

For many retirees, yes. Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020 states that throughout the duration of the Massachusetts State of Emergency, which began on March 10, the hours and earnings of retired public employees working in the public sector shall not be included in the calendar year 2020 restrictions, regardless of whether the individual is involved in COVID-19 related work. For detailed information, including exclusions, please review PERAC Memo #21, 2020.