During this difficult time, we want to let you know that although the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System’s offices are closed to the public, our staff is working remotely, and onsite as needed, to continue providing 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.

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 are working remotely, and onsite as needed, as we continue to provide essential services.

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.

Will I receive my FY2021 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)? (Added 8/4/2020)

The MTRS cannot pay a FY2021 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) unless it is included in the final state budget approved by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. At this time, an interim budget exists to allow the Commonwealth to operate, however the full FY2021 budget has not been finalized. If a COLA is ultimately approved in the final FY2021 budget, it will be payable to those retirees whose retirement date was on or before 6/30/2019. The amount and effective date of the COLA are set by the Governor and Legislature, with a maximum increase of 3% on the first $13,000 of your benefit. The MTRS will keep you updated as more news becomes available. Please know that we are closely monitoring the state budget process and will work to pay the COLA as soon as possible if it is approved.

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 within the next six months to a year. Should I submit my Retirement Application? (Updated 8/4/2020)

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.

Will current or future coronavirus related school closures affect my retirement benefit calculation? (Updated 8/4/2020)

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 a closure, how will my final average salary be calculated? (Updated 8/4/2020)

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, 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? (Updated 9/17/2020)

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

The “Ready for Retirement” seminar series that is normally held in school districts across the state will not be scheduled this fall. 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, including the “Ready for Retirement” reference guide.

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 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 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.