Section 60 Pension Reform
About Section 60
Section 60 of the state’s Pension Reform Act of 2011 allows a one-time opportunity for:
- Active ORP participants and those on an approved leave of absence to change their retirement plan coverage from the ORP to the Massachusetts State Employees’ Retirement System (MSERS);
- These ORP participants to purchase service under the MSERS equal to the time they participated in the ORP, and any service in the MSERS immediately prior to ORP enrollment; and
- Current active members of the MSERS who are former ORP participants to purchase service under the MSERS equal to the time they participated in the ORP.
April 23, 2014
Active MSERS Members with ORP Time
The DHE and Retirement Board are currently working to identify those Active MSERS members who are also Inactive ORP participants. This group is eligible to purchase their old ORP time as creditable service under the MSERS.
The two departments are developing a procedure to notify this group of their eligibility to purchase the old ORP time; provide a calculation of the service available for purchase; and the cost to buy the time.
While we are working on this population, we have initiated a procedure for current ORP participants to change their retirement coverage to the MSERS. These procedures are not intended for current MSERS members who can purchase their ORP time.
April 22, 2014
Delayed Delivery – Notices of Eligibility
We are very sorry to report the unexpected delay in mailing the Section 60 “Notice of Eligibility” packages. The printing company reports putting them in the mail on Monday night, April 21, instead of last Tuesday (April 15).
The printer explained that most people will receive their package in the mail either today (April 22) or tomorrow (April 23). Please accept the Department’s sincerest apology for this delay.
April 10, 2014
Section 60 Effective Date – Seminar Schedule
The Department of Higher Education, as the ORP Plan Administrator, along with the Retirement Board and the Mass. Teachers Association, is pleased to report that implementation of Section 60 of the state’s 2011 Pension Reform Act will be effective on Thursday, May 1, 2014. This means that the procedure supporting Eligible Participants’ opportunities to transfer their ORP participation to the Mass. Employees’ Retirement System (MSERS) will be operational and in place.
Notices of Eligibility will be sent to Eligible Participants in mid-April. These Notices will include an overview of the Section 60 Procedures, and a form for participants’ use in requesting a calculation of their Qualifying Service under Section 60 and the cost to purchase that service.
The DHE and Retirement Board have scheduled three Section 60 Seminars during April and early May. Click here to access the schedule.
December 24, 2013
Eligibility for Section 60 coverage:
The DHE reviewed issues relating to maintaining one’s eligibility to change plans under Section 60 between receipt of the favorable ruling and the effective date of the implementation; expanding the statuses, under terms of the Plan, to include Deferred Retirees. Click here for more information about this issue.
Fiscal Year 2014 Retirement Incentive:
After careful review of issues relating to ORP participants initially identified as being eligible to change plans under Section 60 and who elected to participate in the FY 2014 Retirement Incentive, the DHE has concluded that, in the spirit of the Incentive, these ORP participants will be deemed “Retirees”, under terms of the ORP, and therefore not eligible to change plans under Section 60.
The DHE will identify each ORP participant affected by this decision and contact them directly; providing notice of their forfeiture of the opportunity to change plans.
Now that the Commonwealth has received the favorable ruling required under Section 60, the DHE, SRB, and Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) are working closely to develop and implement a process for allowing ORP participants to change retirement plan coverage and purchase service under the MSERS.
While current language in Section 60 loosely prescribes a process, the three organizations agree that the current language requires clarification and improvement in order to create a valuable and meaningful experience for affected employees.
The three organizations are preparing an amendment to Section 60 to clarify the current language and establish reasonable time periods during which the process can be completed. The underlying premise of the process is to provide helpful information for employees, ensuring they are well-prepared to make this important decision.
Information About the Two Plans
- State Employees’ Retirement System: Extensive information about the MSERS is available on the Retirement Board’s website . Additionally, the Retirement Board offers an excellent Guide to MSERS Benefits (.PDF).
- Optional Retirement Program: This website includes important information about Choosing a Retirement Plan. Additionally, these pages provide detailed information about the Plan’s features, provisions and the Providers. Click here to return to the ORP main menu.
- The State Board of Retirement is currently conducting a series of general seminars about the MSERS. Visit their website to access the seminar schedule and register to attend.
- Section 60 Educational Seminars: The DHE and Retirement Board have scheduled three Section 60 Seminars during April and early May. Click here to access the schedule.