Retirement and survivor benefits are paid for time already accrued. In other words, the allowance that you receive at the end of January is the payment for January.

As a reminder, you will not receive a direct deposit statement every month. Direct deposit statements are only mailed when…

  • your first direct deposit is made;
  • there is a change in the amount of your direct deposit from the prior month (for instance, if you change the amount of your federal tax withholding or your insurance premium changes);
  • the MTRS needs to inform retirees of new information and prints a special notice on the top portion of the direct deposit statement; and
  • the MTRS provides you with your year-end statement in December, showing your complete year-to-date information for the calendar year.

About direct deposit (Electronic Funds Transfer/EFT)

Direct deposit is a safe, convenient way to receive your retirement allowance. You don’t have to worry about your check being stolen or lost in the mail, or having to cash the check on your own. If you are still receiving your payment via check, consider changing—over 95% of our benefit recipients now receive their retirement allowance through direct deposit! To sign up for direct deposit, simply download our Direct Deposit Authorization Form or call our main office at 617-679-6877 to request a copy.

Please note:

  • Pursuant to 807 CMR 18, Massachusetts law now requires MTRS members who retire after November 27, 2009 to receive their benefits via direct deposit. Members who retired prior to November 27, 2009 and who currently receive paper checks can sign up for direct deposit at any time.
  • Even if you are on direct deposit, you must keep us informed of any change in address, so that you will receive direct deposit statements, 1099-R tax form and other mailings from us.

To transfer your existing direct deposit of your retirement or survivor benefit

  • to another bank or to another account within the same bank, complete and return a new Direct Deposit Authorization form. Please note: You should not close your old account until the first deposit has been made to your new bank or you receive a retirement check at home. The process of changing your direct deposit from one account to another takes approximately two months to complete. Occasionally, before the changeover is completed, one check may be mailed to the address shown on the Direct Deposit Authorization form.

If the new account is a checking account, please attach a voided check to your correspondence.


If your check is lost or stolen

  • Lost: Please check the Pension payment schedule for the dates on which your pension checks are mailed. If you do not receive your retirement check after one week of the check mailing date, send us a letter stating that your check has been lost and requesting that we stop payment on the check. (Please note that we must receive your request for a stop payment in writing, and wait at least five business days from the check mailing date before we can stop payment.) Please allow two weeks for the replacement to be sent.
  • Stolen: Please call our main office immediately, at 617-679-MTRS (6877).

Direct deposit statements are only mailed when…

  • your first direct deposit is made;
  • there is a change in the amount of your direct deposit from the prior month (for instance, if you change the amount of your federal tax withholding or your insurance premium changes);
  • the MTRS needs to inform retirees of new information and prints a special notice on the top portion of the direct deposit statement; and
  • the MTRS provides you with your year-end statement in December, showing your complete year-to-date information for the calendar year.

For more information, see How to read your check or direct deposit statement.

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MonthDirect deposit date*Check mailing date**
January 2022Monday, January 31Thursday, January 27
February 2022Monday, February 28Thursday, February 24
March 2022Thursday, March 31Tuesday, March 29
April 2022Friday, April 29Wednesday, April 27
May 2022Tuesday, May 31Thursday, May 26
June 2022Thursday, June 30Tuesday, June 28
July 2022Friday, July 29Wednesday, July 27
August 2022Wednesday, August 31Monday, August 29
September 2022Friday, September 30Wednesday, September 28
October 2022Monday, October 31Thursday, October 27
November 2022Wednesday, November 30Monday, November 28
December 2022Friday, December 30Wednesday, December 28

*Direct deposit statements are only produced and mailed:

  • when your first direct deposit is made;
  • when there is a change in the amount of your direct deposit from the prior month (for instance, if you change the amount of your federal tax withholding or your insurance premium changes);
  • when the MTRS needs to inform retirees of new information and prints a special notice on the top portion of the direct deposit statement; and,
    at the end of December, when the MTRS provides you with a statement that shows your complete year-to-date information for the calendar year.

**Checks are issued on the check mailing date and payable on the direct deposit date. If you receive your check before the date it is payable, please do not cash it until the payable date.

Moving or going to a temporary address? Please be sure to change your address with us to ensure that you receive your checks or direct deposit statements.

Looking for the address to mail your 2021 Benefit Verification Form?

Please mail your form to our main office:

Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System
500 Rutherford Avenue, Suite 210
Charlestown, MA 02129-1628


FAQs

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. Since the MTRS is only requiring the form to be signed by a witness—who can I use as a witness?

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
500 Rutherford Avenue, Suite 210
Charlestown, MA  02129-1628

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.

Watch our video!

FY2023 Cost-of-living adjustment Note

Although generally 3%, the FY2023 COLA was increased to 5% on the first $13,000 of the retirement benefit, for a maximum increase of $650 per year or $54.17 per month (5% x $13,000/year = $650/year; $650/year ÷ 12 months = $54.17/month). The percentage is determined each year as part of the annual state budget process and is at the discretion of the Governor and Legislature, and may change again in coming years.

Approval process

Cost-of-living adjustments are granted to MTRS benefit recipients by vote of the Massachusetts Legislature. Every year, the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) files with the Legislature a report detailing the increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The Legislature then votes whether to grant a COLA based on the increase in the CPI or 3%, whichever is less.

Calculation

Currently, the retirement base on which a COLA is granted is $13,000. Accordingly, if the Legislature grants a 3% COLA effective July 1, a benefit recipient may have his or her allowance increased by a maximum of $390 per year, or $32.50 per month.

For your reference, the COLA for fiscal year 2022 is 3% on a base of $13,000, effective July 1, 2021.

Eligibility

Benefit recipients are eligible to receive their first COLA as follows:
RecipientWhen eligible to receive first COLATo be eligible to receive the FY2022 COLA, effective July 1, 2021
RetireeAfter being retired for one full, July-through-June fiscal yearThe retiree must have retired on or before June 30, 2020
Survivor of Option C retireeAfter the retiree has been retired for one full, July-through-June fiscal yearThe Option C retiree must have retired on or before June 30, 2020
Survivor of a member who died in active serviceAfter one full, July-through-June fiscal year from the effective date of your survivor benefitThe member's date of death must have been on or before June 30, 2020
Accidental death benefit recipientAfter one full, July-through-June fiscal year from the effective date of your benefitYour benefit must have begun on or before June 30, 2020

Historical notes

Prior to 1976, COLAs were automatic. The percentage was based on the previous year’s consumer price index (CPI) increase. In 1975, the Legislature repealed this formula, effective 1976. Beginning in 1981, the provisions of Proposition 2-1/2 required the state to fund all local government COLA costs. Prior to 1981, the state funded state and teacher retirees’ COLAs, while local governments were required to fund city, town and county COLAs.

From 1998 to 2011, the base remained at $12,000, for a maximum annual increase of $360. In November 2011, pursuant to Chapter 176 of the Acts of 2011, the base increased to $13,000 for a maximum annual increase of $390.

MTRS COLA history

YearAllowed percentageRetirement benefit baseMaximum annual amountNotes
19716.00%of $6,000.00$360.00
19724.30%of $6,000.00$258.00
19733.30%of $6,000.00$198.00
19746.20%of $6,000.00$372.00
197511.00%of $6,000.00$660.00
19765.00%of $6,000.00$300.00
19775.00%of $6,000.00$300.00
19786.50%of $6,000.00$390.00
19795.00%of $6,000.00$300.00
19806.00%of $6,000.00$360.00
19813.00%of $7,000.00$210.00
19823.00%of $7,000.00$210.00
19833.00%of $7,000.00$210.00
19844.00%of $7,000.00$280.00
19854.00%of $8,000.00$320.00
19864.00%of $9,000.00$360.00
19873.00%of $9,000.00$270.00
19884.00%of $9,000.00$360.00
1989NO COLA
1990NO COLA
1991NO COLA
19925.00%of $9,000.00$450.00effective 01/01/1992
1993NO COLA
19943.00%of $9,000.00$270.00
1995NO COLA
19963.00%of $9,000.00$270.00effective 11/01/1996
1997NO COLA
19982.10%of $12,000.00$252.00
19993.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20003.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20013.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20023.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20033.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20043.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20053.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20063.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20073.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20083.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20093.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20103.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20113.00%of $12,000.00$360.00
20123.00%of $13,000.00$390.00
20133.00%of $13,000.00$390.00
20143.00%of $13,000.00$390.00
20153.00%of $13,000.00$390.00
20163.00%of $13,000.00$390.00
20173.00%of $13,000.00$390.00
20183.00%of $13,000.00$390.00
20193.00%of $13,000.00$390.00Paid 08/30/2019, retroactive to 07/01/2019
20203.00%of $13,000.00$390.00Paid 12/31/2020, retroactive to 07/01/2020
20213.00%of $13,000.00$390.00Paid 7/30/2021
20225.00%of $13,000.00$650.00Paid 8/31/2022


*Unless otherwise noted, all COLAs are effective on a fiscal year basis (e.g., the COLA listed as “2021,” above, is effective for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021).


Obtaining verification of your benefit income

During your retirement, you may need to provide verification of your MTRS benefit amount to a third party, for example, when applying for a loan, a rent or mortgage rebate, or nursing home or public housing. If you are requesting verification for Social Security purposes, please be sure to tell the MTRS representative this, as we will need to include additional information in your letter.