MTRS site policy

Legal disclaimer

This website is intended for use by teachers and administrators who are members of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System and the system’s other constituents. The text is in simple language and is meant to provide basic information and answers to the most frequently asked questions about the MTRS, its benefits, services and administration.

The information contained in this website is not intended as a substitute for the Massachusetts General Laws nor will its interpretation prevail should a conflict arise between its contents and M.G.L. c. 32. Rules governing retirement benefits are subject to change periodically either by statute of the Massachusetts Legislature or by regulation of the Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement Board. If you have any questions about any of this material, please contact our office or seek advice from a professional in the appropriate field.

If you have any comments—pro or con—or suggestions on how we can improve our site, please contact the webmaster at webmaster@trb.state.ma.us.


Privacy policy

A note from the MTRS
Your privacy is very important to us and we will protect it to the maximum extent allowed by law. You should know, however, that information you send us via the Internet is not entirely secure; additionally, like other information you may provide us in a letter or a form, information you send us online may be provided to a member of the public in response to a public records request. Please be assured that we use the information you provide us via your visits to our site, e-mail and online forms solely to serve you and to conduct MTRS business; we do not sell any mailing lists or other member information to anyone or any other agencies.

This website is intended for teachers and administrators who are members of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System and the system’s other constituents. In an effort to better serve you, our members, we offer you the opportunity to communicate with us through e-mail and apply or register for various programs using online forms. Your privacy is important to us. However, because some of the information that we receive through this website is subject to the Public Records Law, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66, Section 10, as well as regulations of the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC), 840 CMR 6.00, we cannot ensure absolute privacy. Accordingly, part or all of the information you send us may be provided to a member of the public in response to a public records request. This policy is meant to inform you of the information that we collect from you at this site, what we do with it, and to whom it may be disseminated and under what circumstances. Based on this information, you can make an informed choice about your use of this site, specifically about whether to share personally identifiable information with us through this site.

Information voluntarily provided by you
This site collects voluntary information from you through the e-mails that you send through this site, as well as through e-mail forms. The information sent by you to this site will contain personally identifiable information.

Information automatically collected and stored by this site
This site does not collect “cookies.” However, as our site is hosted on the state server, your Internet Protocol (“IP”) address is collected; this address does not identify you as an individual. We use your IP address simply to assess the frequency of visits to this site and the popularity of its various pages and functions for statistical purposes only. We will not attempt to match any personally identifiable information that you provide to us with your IP address, unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that doing so would provide information that is relevant and material to a criminal investigation.

Additionally, our online forms automatically collect the IP address of the user submitting data. Again, we do not use this IP address information unless it may be relevant and material to a criminal investigation.

For more information about cookies, please visit this site: http://www.cookiecentral.com/faq.

Dissemination of your personally identifiable information
We do not sell any personally identifiable information collected through this website. However, once you voluntarily submit personally identifiable information to us through an e-mail or through one of our forms, its dissemination is governed by the Public Records Law, the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66A (Fair Information Practices Act), Executive Order 412, 840 CMR 6.00, and other applicable laws and regulations. For this reason, part or all of the information you send us may be provided to a member of the public in response to a public records request.

In addition, the information that you voluntarily submit will be disclosed only to MTRS employees or officials on a “need to know” basis for purposes of fulfilling their job responsibilities. We will only use the information to answer your questions, respond to any requests, and fulfill the MTRS’s legal obligations.

Your access and opportunity to correct
You have certain rights to get information about you that is in our records. To learn more about this, please visit web pages regarding the Public Records Law and the Fair Information Practices Act. Also, please see regulation 840 CMR 6.07 of the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission’s (PERAC).

Security
The MTRS cannot guarantee or ensure the privacy, confidentiality and/or security of any e-mail submitted via this website. Because this site does not encrypt incoming e-mail, please do not include information that you consider highly confidential in your messages. Also, because our online applications are e-mail forms, we avoid asking for information that we consider highly confidential, such as Social Security Numbers and medical information.

However, we do use standard security measures to ensure that your personally identifiable information is not lost, misused, or altered. For your protection, software programs are used regularly to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits.

If you do wish to inquire about a matter that requires the inclusion of personal or confidential information, or feel uncomfortable submitting information to us over the Internet, please call us or submit your question or application to us via U.S mail.

Special protections against misuse of personally identifiable information within Commonwealth offices
In 1999, then-Acting Governor Swift issued Executive Order 412, which enhanced the privacy protection given to any information about you as a named individual held by the Executive Department of state government. Executive Order 412 limits the collection and dissemination of personally identifiable information within the Executive Department. This site complies with Executive Order 412, so all of the personally identifiable information that you submit to this site is given the privacy protections set forth in Executive Order 412.

Policy changes
We will post changes to this policy at least 30 days before they take effect. Any information we collect under the current privacy policy will remain subject to the terms of this policy. After any changes take effect, all new information we collect, if any, will be subject to the new policy.

More information
For questions about your privacy while using this website, please contact General Counsel, James H. Salvie, at james.salvie@trb.state.ma.us.

For more information about personal privacy on the Internet, please visit the “Privacy Initiatives” section of the Federal Trade Commission’s website: http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/index.html.


External links

The links to external sources in this website are not intended to reflect the importance of those sources or to endorse any views expressed or products or services offered by those sources.

The Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement Board (MTRB) may, at its discretion, link to sites owned, operated, or sponsored by the following entities:

  • state, federal, and local governmental entities;
  • associations of government professionals;
  • private, nonprofit entities provided that:
1) the MTRS has a noncommercial relationship with the entity, such as membership, sponsorship, or research partnership; and
2) the entity does not engage in lobbying or political activity as its principal activity.
  • entities acting as agents for the MTRS to perform specific searches.

The MTRS is not responsible for and does not in any way guarantee the accuracy of information in other sites accessible through links herein.

While we attempt to provide links to sites that will be of use to consumers, the links to sites beyond the MTRS’s site do not constitute an endorsement by the MTRS or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These links are provided for convenience only.


Online forms

Online forms may be provided by third party service Formstack. When using this service, your form is securely sent to, and stored with, Formstack. Form submissions are then transmitted via e-mail to MTRS staff, who will delete the submissions when they are no longer needed. According to Formstack's privacy policy, Formstack only uses your form submissions for internal purposes, and the data is considered private. Formstack will not distribute or sell your information to a third party, unless required by law or a valid government request. Formstack may also share information if it is acquired or merged with another company. For more information, please see the Formstack privacy policy at http://www.formstack.com/privacy.


Accessibility

The Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System is committed to achieving meaningful accessibility to this online environment for all users, including users with disabilities. We follow specific Commonwealth Web Accessibility Standards designed to meet the needs of our citizens with disabilities. The Commonwealth enterprise standards are generally based on standards used by the Federal government for technology accessibility for people with disabilities, and web content accessibility guidelines developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). For more information about the Federal standards, please visit the Section 508 website (http://www.section508.gov) or the Federal Access Board website (http://www.access-board.gov). For more information about the W3C guidelines, please visit their website (http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT). The Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System’s website is regularly tested using leading web accessibility technologies and reviewed by users to verify that this website is compliant with applicable standards.

About portable document format (PDF)
Some documents on this website are produced in portable document format (pdf). Efforts are currently underway to ensure that all files are produced using the latest version of Acrobat (file conversion software for pdfs), which is the most accessible technology currently available for these types of files. In order to improve viewing of these files, please download the latest version of Adobe Reader, which is available for free at the Adobe website (http://www.adobe.com).

However, recognizing that even this version does not always work for all users, alternative accessible formats are provided wherever possible, most commonly through a text or an HTML file.

Contact information
If any file format prevents you from accessing the information, please contact us for assistance. In order to respond in a manner most helpful to you, please note the nature of your accessibility concern, the format in which you prefer to receive the material, the web page address of the requested material, and the best way to contact you.

We also welcome your questions about this accessibility statement and comments on how to improve the site’s accessibility.

Please contact us at our main office, One Charles Park, Cambridge, MA 02142-1206, 617-679-MTRS, or by e-mail at webmaster@trb.state.ma.us.

IMPORTANT: Only messages regarding technical accessibility will be answered at the above phone or e-mail addresses. All other questions should be sent to geninfo@trb.state.ma.us.


Definitions

We use the term “personally identifiable information” to mean any information that could reasonably be used to identify you, including your name, address, e-mail address, birth date, or any combination of information that could be used to identify you.

Cookies are files that a website can place on your computer. A cookie file contains unique information that a website can use to track such things as your password, lists of web pages you have visited, and the date when you last looked at a specific web page, or to identify your session at a particular website. A cookie file allows the website to recognize you as you click through pages on the site and when you later revisit the site. A website can use cookies to “remember” your preferences, and to record your browsing behavior on the web. Although you can prevent website from placing cookies on your computer by using your browser’s preference menu, disabling cookies may affect your ability to view or interact with some website.

An “Internet Protocol Address” or “IP Address” is a series of numbers that identifies each computer and machine connected to the Internet. An IP address enables a server on a computer network to send you the file that you have requested on the Internet. The IP address disclosed to us may identify the computer from which you are accessing the Internet, or a server owned by your Internet Service Provider. Because it is machine-specific, rather than person-specific, an IP address is not, in and of itself, personally identifiable information.

An e-mail form is a type of HTML form that transfers the data entered using standard e-mail. Therefore, any information submitted using this type of application is not entirely secure. If you are uncomfortable submitting information over the Internet using this type of application, we encourage you to complete a paper copy of the form and send it to the MTRS by regular U.S. mail.

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MyTRS site policy

MTRS online agreement terms and conditions

Introduction
Before the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System (hereinafter "MTRS," "We," or "Us") will provide services found at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/ (the "Web site") or by other electronic means, including, but not limited to, e-mail or other messaging service (collectively, "Electronic Access"), you must read and accept the terms of "The MTRS online agreement terms and conditions" (hereinafter “Agreement”). If you choose not to accept these terms, you will not be granted access to use the Web site. The Web site is provided by MTRS as a convenience to its members and beneficiaries; however this Agreement creates no obligation on the part of MTRS to provide access to the Web site.

This Agreement specifically governs the Electronic Access to your MTRS information and contains your rights and responsibilities, and the terms and conditions under which this service is provided. Please read this Agreement carefully and retain it for your records. Once you have been granted access, you will have access to a single account structure (which may consist of a Member account, a Survivor account, or both). You understand that only one set of credentials per account structure will be issued, that those credentials should only be used by you, and that you are solely responsible for the privacy and protection of those credentials. You acknowledge receipt of this Agreement and agree to be bound by all terms and conditions contained herein, and all applicable terms and conditions contained in any other agreements with you governing your relationship with MTRS. You further agree that any actions taken by others using your credentials are considered to be actions taken by you.

The terms and conditions of this Agreement are in addition to the terms and conditions of any and all other agreements, including all such disclosures made pursuant to such agreements you have with MTRS. To the extent that this Agreement and another agreement contain conflicting provisions relating to Electronic Access, the provisions in this Agreement will control, but all other contractual obligations of the parties remain subject to the terms and conditions of any other agreement.


1. Electronic communication disclosures

1.1 Services covered
This Agreement governs Electronic Access to the Web site and to any additional online or other electronic service(s), including, but not limited to, online statements, notifications, e-mail or other information MTRS currently makes or in the future may make available via Electronic Access and which you currently or in the future may access or otherwise use.

1.2 Electronic signature
By selecting "I Accept" at the end of this document you are signing this Agreement electronically and you agree that doing so is the legal equivalent of you manually signing this Agreement and that you will be legally bound by its terms and conditions. You further agree that your use of a key pad, mouse or other device to select the “I Accept” button constitutes your signature, acceptance, and agreement as if actually signed by you in writing. You also agree that no certification authority or other third party verification is necessary to validate your Electronic Signature and that the lack of such certification or third-party verification will not in any way affect the enforceability of your Electronic Signature or any resulting contract between you and MTRS. You also represent that you are authorized to enter into this Agreement and that you will be bound by the terms of this Agreement.

1.3 Consent to electronic delivery
You specifically agree to receive and/or obtain certain "Member Communications" via Electronic Access. The term "Member Communications" includes, but is not limited to, any and all current and future notices and/or disclosures that various federal and/or state laws or regulations require that we provide to you, as well as such other documents, data, records, and any other communications regarding your accounts or relationship with MTRS that MTRS elects to provide via Electronic Access. You accept as reasonable and proper notice, for the purpose of any and all laws, rules, and regulations, Member Communications via Electronic Access and agree that such electronic form fully satisfies any requirement that such communications be provided to you in writing or in a form that you may keep.

You acknowledge that, for your records, you are able to use Electronic Access to retain a record by printing and/or downloading and saving the following: (i) this Agreement; (ii) all Member Communications; and (iii) any other agreements, documents, or records that you sign using your Electronic Signature.

1.4 Contact information, notification and updates
Although MTRS will endeavor to notify members, either electronically or by other means, of important events, it is your responsibility to use the Web site regularly, to read your e-mail and regular mail, to read our Advisors, notices, and other publications that we may send you or make available to you, to check for updates, and to keep MTRS informed of any changes in your mailing address and your e-mail address to ensure that you continue to receive communications. Regardless of whether MTRS is able to deliver an e-mail notification to you, you agree that the information will be deemed transmitted and received as soon as MTRS makes the information available to you through the Web site.


2. Your access and credentials

2.1 Issuance of credentials
As part of the process to create your credentials, you are required to select a username and password, and to select and answer a number of challenge questions. You are responsible for the proper safekeeping of your information.

2.2 Confidentiality of your password
The password you select must comply with MTRS security standards. Your password is confidential and should NOT be disclosed to others or recorded on documentation or records located on or around your personal computer. You are responsible for the proper safekeeping of your password. You agree not to disclose or otherwise make your password available to anyone, even close family members. Anyone authorized to use your password, shall continue to have authority until you specifically revoke such authority by changing the password.

If you fail to maintain security of your password, we reserve the right to terminate the Web sites to you under this Agreement. Users of the Web site should utilize such other security precautions as may be appropriate under any particular set of circumstances to ensure proper security over system access and access to information. The Web site provides the capability for you to change your password.

2.3 Your responsibility and liability for unauthorized access
You are responsible for all activity using the Web site. If you permit other persons to use the Web site with your credentials, you are responsible for any activity they authorize from your access. Notify MTRS immediately if you believe that your password has been lost or stolen or that someone has used it or may use it to access the Web site without your permission.


3. Website general terms and conditions; disclaimer

3.1 System unavailability
Access to the Web site may be unavailable at times for the following reasons: (1) Scheduled Maintenance - there will be necessary periods when systems require maintenance or upgrades; (2) Unscheduled Maintenance - the Web site may be unavailable when unforeseen maintenance is necessary; (3) System Outages - major unforeseen events, such as, but not limited to, earthquakes, fires, floods, computer failures, interruptions in telephone service, or electrical outages, may cause system unavailability; (4) Internet Service Provider - failure by or unavailability of an Internet Service Provider. We will make all reasonable efforts to ensure the availability of the Web site; however, we are in no way liable for system unavailability or any consequential damages that may result.

3.2 Changes in terms and conditions; time period
We may change or amend any part of this Agreement at any time. We may require you to accept the Agreement, with or without changes, annually.

3.3 Other limitations of liability
You are solely responsible for the selection, installation, maintenance and operation of your personal computer, internet access and software. We expressly disclaim any and all liability as it relates to the improper use of your personal computer, internet access and the transmission of data except as provided by statute. We are not responsible for any errors or failures due to any malfunction of your personal computer, internet service or the software, or unsuitability of your personal computer or software, or any virus, or any problems that may be associated with the use of your computer and/or the internet.

3.4 Termination of access
You may terminate your access to the Web site at any time by simply discontinuing the use of the service. We, at our sole discretion, may terminate your access to the Web site at any time.

3.5 License permission and use restrictions
The Web site is intended for use by members of MTRS ("you") as an information resource for MTRS ("we"). You are granted a nonexclusive, revocable license to copy or print one unaltered permanent copy of site materials for your personal use - noncommercial use only. No permission is given to print (other than the nonexclusive, revocable license for one copy of site materials for personal use), copy, reproduce, distribute, publicly display, perform, publish, transmit, upload, download, store, license, create derivative works from, alter, or modify materials, transfer, or sell anything obtained from the Web site. You agree that you will not use (or allow others to use) the Web site or any information contained on it for any wrongful, unauthorized, or unlawful purposes. You also agree to indemnify and hold us and our affiliates harmless from and against any loss, damage, or expense incurred because of any such use.

3.6 Disclaimer of warranties
Information available on the Web site is produced by us or is acquired from third-party sources believed by us to be accurate and reliable. The information and materials contained as part of this Web site are provided on an "as is" and "as available" basis, without any warranties whatsoever about the nature or content (either when posted or as a result of the passage of time) of any material at this Web site, and without any representations or guarantees. All express and implied warranties are expressly excluded and disclaimed, including, but not limited to, any implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. MTRS does not warrant the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of this information and materials, and it expressly disclaims liability for errors or omissions in this information and materials. In addition, MTRS makes no representations, warranties or guarantees that this Web site will be secure, accessible continuously, and without interruption or error free. To the extent that you might otherwise believe that any warranties, guarantees, or representations have been made to you, you hereby agree that such statements, whether made orally or in writing, are to be construed as merely non-binding expressions of policy rather than affirmative representations, obligations, guarantees, or warranties. In the event of any conflict between this section and other terms and provisions of this agreement, this section shall be construed to take precedence.

3.7 Limitation of liability
In order to provide you with this service, MTRS is unable to accept liability for any conduct, acts, or omissions at this Web site or any losses you may incur. In no event shall MTRS be liable for any damages (including without limitation any direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages), losses or expenses that arise in connection with the Web site, the use of the Web site, or the inability of anyone to use the Web site, or for any claims by any third parties. MTRS shall also not be liable for any damages, losses, or expenses that arise in connection with any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, defect, delay in operation or transmission, or computer or system failure. MTRS shall not be liable for such damages, losses, or expenses even though it or its representatives are advised of the possibility of such damages, losses or expenses.

3.8 Violations/indemnification
Your access privileges are conditioned on your adherence to the terms discussed here. You agree that MTRS may, in its sole discretion, deny you access to the Web site. You further agree, at your own expense, to defend and indemnify MTRS and hold MTRS harmless against all claims arising in any manner whatsoever which may be asserted against MTRS, and all losses arising on any manner whatsoever and incurred as a result of any violations of this agreement by you. MTRS reserves the right, at its own expense, to assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter subject to indemnification by you, and such assumption will not relieve you of your indemnity obligations. If asked to do so, you agree that you will not attempt to access this Web site.

3.9 Hyperlinks
MTRS provides hyperlinks to external sites as a convenience to you and has no control over the content posted at these Web sites, nor does MTRS make any representation as to the content of these Web sites. Hyperlinks to other internet resources are to be used by you at your own risk. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed and other links provided by these resources may not be investigated, verified, or monitored by MTRS, and such links are not endorsed by MTRS unless otherwise specifically stated. If you believe that MTRS has provided a hyperlink to a site that contains infringing or illegal content or which makes available cracker tools or other circumvention devices, we ask you to notify MTRS so that we may evaluate whether (in MTRS sole discretion) to disable it.

3.10 Services
The services that are offered are offered as a convenience through the Web site, and can be amended in whole or in part or terminated at any time. Users of the Web site shall have no right to expect the continuation of any part of the Web site or any services that are offered through the Web site.

3.11 Required information
All information submitted to you via this Web site may be used by us in any manner that complies with applicable laws and regulations, and the policies of MTRS. You should be aware that to successfully retire and secure all your rights, coordination with other parties, such as your employer, the Group Insurance Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or your health plan may be necessary, and that MTRS is authorized to collect and use the information requested within this Web site by Massachusetts General Laws chapter 32. Your information collected will only be used for the purposes allowed by M.G.L. c. 32, the MTRS’s regulations at 807 CMR 1.00 et seq., regulations of the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission at 840 CMR 1.00 et seq., and other applicable laws and regulations.

Failure to provide any requested and mandatory information will affect your ability to access and update your MTRS information or access specific MTRS web based service offerings. You have the right to review the file maintained on you by MTRS upon proper identification. To do so you may contact the Director of Member Services at 617-679-6877.

3.12 Limited license
Original material which MTRS posts on this Web site is protected by intellectual property laws. You are hereby granted a non-exclusive license to use this Web site. You are also granted a limited license to print a copy of content posted at this Web site, but only for your personal use. Except as expressly provided herein all rights are reserved. Among other things, except to the extent required for the limited purpose of reviewing material on the Web site, electronic reproduction, adaptation, distribution, performance, or display is prohibited. Commercial use of any of the content of this Web site is strictly prohibited. You may not display this Web site in frames (or any of the content via links) without MTRS express written permission.

3.13 Copyright
MTRS owns the copyright to the pages and the screens displaying the pages that appear on the Web site.

3.14 Trademarks and servicemarks
MTRS owns any trademark and service mark rights in marks contained in the Web site pages.

3.15 Unsolicited e-mail, spamming and spoofing
You may not use this Web site to transmit unsolicited e-mail. You may not send unsolicited e-mail to this Web site or to anyone whose e-mail address includes the domain name used on this Web site. You may not use MTRS domain name as a pseudonymous return e-mail address for any communications which you transmit from another location or through another service. You may not pretend to be someone else or spoof another's identity when using this Web site.

3.16 No waiver
No waiver of any of the foregoing terms and conditions shall be effective unless it is in writing and signed by an authorized officer of MTRS, and no waiver shall be deemed to imply or constitute a continuing waiver or a waiver of any other term or condition.

3.17 Jurisdiction and governing law
You will be deemed to have agreed to the exclusive jurisdiction of the State and Federal courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, USA, for resolution of any dispute you have relating to the services offered herein, or to this agreement. The laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (except its conflict of laws rules) will be applied to any dispute, regardless of where it is heard, and these terms and conditions and the interpretation thereof are governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

3.18 Construction
If any portion of this agreement is ruled invalid or otherwise unenforceable, it shall be deemed amended in order to achieve as closely as possible the same effect as originally drafted. Any invalid or unenforceable portion shall be construed as narrowly as possible in order to give effect to as much of the agreement as possible. The headings used in this Agreement are intended solely for convenience of reference and are not intended to explain, modify, or place any construction or limitation upon any of the provisions of the Agreement.

It is recommended that you print this document for future reference.

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