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WHEN MAY I COLLECT MY RETIREMENT?

If you membership began prior to April 2, 2012, you are eligible for a retirement allowance when you have at least 10 years of creditable service and are 55 years old, or if you have 20 years of service at any age. If your membership began after April 2, 2012, you are eligible with 10 years of service at age 60.

WHAT IS SUPERANNUATION?

“Superannuation” is the term which is used to describe the process of being retired upon reaching a certain age and meeting other requirements, such as length of service.

WHEN CAN I FILE FOR RETIREMENT?

You may receive retirement counseling at any time. However, retirement papers may not be accepted any sooner than 120 days before you plan to retire. You can also file for retirement up to 60 days after you leave employment. You can file after 60 days, but your benefits will not be retroactive to your termination date.

WHAT IS MY RETIREMENT ALLOWANCE?

Your retirement benefit is made up of 2 parts. The ANNUITY portion is based on the total amount of your annuity savings or accumulated deductions and your age on the date of your retirement. The City of Holyoke makes up the difference between the retirement benefit provided by law and what is provided by your annuity. That difference is called the PENSION.

 ANNUITY + PENSION = RETIREMENT ALLOWANCE

WHAT FACTORS AFFECT THE AMOUNT OF MY RETIREMENT ALLOWANCE?

The amount of your retirement allowance depends on:

  • Your age;
  • Your length of service;
  • Your group classification;
  • Your salary.

If your membership began prior to April 2, 2012, an average of the 3 highest consecutive years of regular compensation is used in the calculation. If you became a member after April 2, 2012, an average of 5 years is used.

HOW IS MY BENEFIT CALCULATED?

Under the provisions of M.G.L. Chapter 32, the basic formula for calculating a superannuation retirement is:

Benefit Rate X Avg. of Highest 3 (or 5) Years Salary X Cred. Service = Retirement Allowance

WHAT IS MY BENEFIT RATE?

Your age at retirement and your group classification determine your benefit rate. The benefit rate is a specific percentage of the amount of your average annual rate of regular compensation. Click to see the percentages used in the formula which are specified in Chapter 32.

Benefit rate for membership prior to April 2, 2012

Benefit rate for membership after April 2, 2012

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

“Options” is the term used to describe how your retirement allowance is allotted. Your benefit must be paid to you in lifetime monthly payments, but the apportionment of those payments will differ depending on your option selection. Option choice also determines what benefits, if any, will be paid to survivors after a retiree’s death.

OPTION A

Election of Option A means that you will receive the full retirement allowance in monthly payments as long as you live. All allowance payments will cease upon your death and no benefits will be provided to your survivors.

OPTION B

Option B provides you with a lifetime allowance which is 1-3% less per month than Option A. The annuity portion of your allowance is reduced to allow a lump sum benefit for your beneficiary. Upon your death, your surviving beneficiary(ies) of record will be paid the unexpended balance of your annuity savings account. Although your retirement allowance is not reduced because of a depletion of your annuity savings, generally your accumulated deductions will be used up within 8 to 12 years.

OPTION C

Option C is also known as the joint or last survivor allowance. Selecting this option means that the allowance payments which you will receive during your lifetime will be 10-12% lower than those you would receive under Option A. Upon your death, your designated beneficiary will be paid a monthly allowance for the remainder of his or her lifetime. The allowance will be equal to 2/3 the allowance which was being paid to you at the time of your death.

DOES OPTION B LIMIT MY CHOICE OF BENEFICIARY?

You may designate any person(s) or charity or institution as your beneficiary. You may at any time after retirement change your Option B beneficiary.

WHO MAY I NAME AS BENEFICIARY UNDER OPTION C?

Eligibility is determined at the time of retirement. Only one beneficiary may be named under Option C and is limited to your spouse, your former spouse who has not remarried at the time you designated him/her as your beneficiary, your child, parent or sibling.

MAY I CHANGE MY OPTION C BENEFICIARY?

You may NOT change your Option C beneficiary once your retirement becomes effective.

WHAT IF MY OPTION C BENEFICIARY DIES BEFORE I DO?

If your Option C beneficiary dies before you do, you will thereafter be paid the full retirement allowance you would have received had you selected Option A at the time of your retirement. This conversion is commonly referred to as the Option C “Pop-Up.” All payments cease upon your death.

DOES DIVORCE FOLLOWING RETIREMENT ALTER THE STATUS OF MY SPOUSE AS MY OPTION C BENEFICIARY?

No, spouses who are the designated beneficiaries of Option C retirees and who become divorced from the member following the member’s retirement do not lose their eligibility as beneficiary.

WHEN MUST I MAKE MY OPTION SELECTION?

You must make your selection on or before the date your retirement allowance becomes effective. If you refuse or fail to select an option before the effective date, the law provides that you shall be retired under Option B.

WHAT ABOUT WORKING AFTER RETIREMENT?

There are no limitations if you work in the private sector. However, if you are re-employed in the service of the Commonwealth or any of its counties, cities or towns, there are 2 strict limitations on further public employment. Your earnings in the first year of retirement when added to your retirement allowance cannot be greater than the salary currently being paid for the position for which you retired. After the first year of retirement, $15,000 may be added to this figure. You cannot work more than 960 hours in a calendar year. Your employment must cease when either limitation is reached, or your retirement allowance must be waived.

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