Why does the MTRS do this?
The Massachusetts retirement law requires that the MTRS perform, at least once every two years, a verification of all retirees and beneficiaries who receive a monthly benefit (840 CMR 15.01 ).
What is the purpose?
Our job is to pay the appropriate retirement or survivor allowance to the unique person who earned the particular benefit. In some cases, we have discovered that, after a retiree has died, a family member has continued to collect benefits—even though that family member is not eligible for any survivor benefits. In order to ensure that benefits are still being paid to the correct individuals, by law, we must confirm that the intended recipients are still alive and, therefore, eligible to receive benefits.
This is a very serious process, intended to prevent the fraudulent collection of pension benefits by ineligible parties.
If I receive a form in the mail, do I HAVE to complete and return it?
Yes. If you receive a form from us, you most definitely have to complete and return it. If you do not return your completed form by the due date indicated on the form, your benefit may be interrupted or discontinued.
I received more than one 2021 Benefit Verification form with my name in Box 2. Do I have to complete and return all of them, or just one?
Just one. If, however, you are the parent or guardian of dependent children who are receiving survivor benefits, you will receive—and must complete and return—a Benefit Verification form for each child (the child’s name will appear in Box 2).
In previous years, I was required to have this form notarized. Why is the MTRS only requiring that I have the form signed by a witness this year?
In order to make this process safer for our retirees during the coronavirus pandemic, the MTRS is not requiring a notary signature this year. The witness can be ANYONE 18 years of age or older (spouse, sibling, neighbor, etc.). Please have your witness fill out their section in its entirety or the form will not be accepted.
Can I fax my Benefit Verification Form to the MTRS?
No—we require your original, witnessed signature to help ensure more secure and efficient processing.
Regarding the “Return by” date—does my Benefit Verification Form have to be postmarked or received by that date?
Received, so we encourage you not to wait until the last minute to return your form. To ensure proper delivery of your form, please use the pre-addressed reply envelope that we provide.
I misplaced the pre-addressed reply envelope. To what address must I return my form?
Please return your form to:
Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System
c/o Benefit Verification Processing Coordinator
P.O. Box 802
Wilmington, MA 01887-0802
Will the MTRS acknowledge receipt of my Benefit Verification Form?
Yes. Within four to six weeks after we have received and processed your completed form in our database, we will send you a postcard acknowledging the receipt of your form.
The benefit recipient is deceased, or under guardianship or conservatorship or has assigned power of attorney to another person. What should we do?
If the person to whom the Benefit Verification Form is addressed is deceased, or under guardianship or conservatorship or has assigned power of attorney to another person, a survivor or the appropriate responsible person needs to complete and return the form. Please note:
- You do not need to complete anything on the front of the form.
- Please review the instructions in the shaded box on the back of the form, then check one of the two boxes to indicate the status of the Benefit Recipient.
- If the Benefit Recipient is deceased, please call our Contact Center at 617-679-6890 as soon as possible.
- As noted, please provide the requested information, attach any other documentation, complete the signature section and have the Witness Information section completed, and then return the form and any documents in the envelope provided.
Can I access my Benefit Verification form online?
No—you will need to complete and return the original blue-and-yellow form that we send you. Your Benefit Verification form is not available online in order to prevent duplicate returns.