“Superannuation” is the technical name for the most common type of retirement benefit: an allowance earned after a career of public service. Within this category, there are two types of allowances: a “regular” benefit and an enhanced, RetirementPlus benefit.
The average life expectancy at retirement is approximately 25-30 years. The best plan for future financial security involves having several sources of income rather than just one.
When will I be eligible to receive a regular ("superannuation") retirement allowance from the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System?
Your eligibility to receive a regular retirement allowance is based on:
- your effective membership date in a Massachusetts public retirement system (which determines your "Membership Tier" ),
- the number of years of creditable service you have, and,
- depending on your membership date, your age.
Specifically, depending on which Membership Tier you are in, you will be able to receive a retirement allowance as follows:
- Tier 1 (established membership BEFORE April 2, 2012): when you:
- have 20 or more years of creditable service, regardless of your age, OR
- are at least age 55 and you have 10 or more years of creditable service.
- Tier 2 (established membership ON OR AFTER April 2, 2012): when you are at least age 60 and you have 10 or more years of creditable service.
NOTE: If your effective membership date is BEFORE January 1, 1978, you are eligible to retire upon reaching age 55. There is no minimum service requirement, nor do you have to be an active member in order to apply for retirement.
If you are participating in RetirementPlus, in order to be eligible to receive the enhanced RetirementPlus benefit, you must also have at least 30 years of creditable service, of which 20 years are membership service with the MTRS or Boston Retirement System as a teacher.
The Massachusetts Retirement Law (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 32) regulates your retirement allowance and allows you to choose one of three benefit options. These options differ with regard to the amount paid and whether any benefits will be paid to someone else after your death.
How and when do I file for retirement?
In order to retire, you must file an application for retirement with the MTRS—notifying your school district of your intent to retire does not begin any paperwork with us. You may file your application up to four months before your retirement date. If your application is received within 60 days after your date of termination of service, your retirement can take effect on your termination date. If, however, you file more than 60 days after your date of termination of service, your benefits will not be retroactive to that date; the earliest they may then begin is 15 days after we receive your application.
For example, if you decide during summer vacation that you want to retire instead of returning to the classroom in the fall, the MTRS must receive your completed application on or before August 29 to use June 30 as your retirement date and have your benefits be retroactive to June 30. If the MTRS receives your application on August 30, your earliest retirement date would be September 14, and you would lose two and a half months' worth of retirement benefits (from July 1 through September 14).
For a step-by-step guide to regular (“superannuation”) retirement—including basic information and an online benefit estimator—please see Apply for retirement: Regular and RetirementPlus.
Do I have to retire at the end of the school year?
No—you may choose any day of the year as your effective date of retirement. However, if you choose to retire at the end of a school year and your school year ends in June, your retirement date will take effect on June 30, a date set by MTRS regulation.
What is my retirement benefit based on?
Except for accidental disability, ordinary disability/veteran and termination retirement benefits, your retirement benefit is based on the following factors:
- Your age on your date of retirement: If your birthday is January 1, and you are retiring on June 30, your age factor will be based on your age as of your last birthday. We do not round up your age when determining an age factor. If your Membership Tier is:
- Tier 1 (established membership BEFORE April 2, 2012), you will reach the maximum age factor at age 65.
- Tier 2 (established membership ON OR AFTER April 2, 2012), you will reach the maximum age factor at age 67.
- Your years of creditable service: This is the total number of years of creditable service you have accrued in the MTRS.
- Your final salary average: The average of either your highest salaries or your last salaries for either three years if you are a Tier 1 member (your effective membership date is before April 2, 2012) or five years if you are a Tier 2 member (your effective membership date is on or after April 2, 2012).
Under the Massachusetts Retirement Law (M.G.L. c. 32), you may choose to retire under one of three benefit options: Option A, B or C.