MA House Passes Pension Bill Raising Retirement Age

November 3, 2011 ( – The Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously approved a plan to tighten the state’s pension provisions and raise the age that lawmakers and public employees are eligible for retirement, reports the Boston Globe.  

In September the state Senate passed a similar plan (see MA Senate Approves Bill to Cut Benefits For Future State Workers). According to the Globe, both plans would only affect future hires, not current employees or retirees.

The House version on the plan would boost the retirement age from 55 to 57, and could save the state $6.4 billion over the course of 40 years. The Senate version had pushed to raise the minimum age for retirement to 60.

The bill comes two years after state leaders eliminated loopholes in the state’s pension system. Among the perks that ended in 2009 were a “one day, one year” provision that allowed elected officials to boost their pension by an entire year of service, even if they only worked one day in a calendar year. It also eliminated lawmakers’ practice of collecting a “termination allowance” if they failed to win reelection.

Earlier this week, a House committee passed a version of the bill that included language exempting anyone who was vested in the system before the 2009 law took effect. However, the final bill that passed by the House did not contain this language.

A separate amendment that did pass calls for employees who shift positions late in their careers to work for at least a year before becoming eligible for a larger pension. The news report said the provision appeared to take aim at an attempt by a former Weymouth mayor to boost his pension after he briefly filled in as fire chief just before retiring.

House and Senate lawmakers will now need to rectify the differences in the two versions of the bill.