Massachusetts public employees do not participate in Social Security as government workers. However, many public employees may be eligible for Social Security benefits based upon earning forty (40) quarters of credit or through the work history of a spouse. It is important to know that Social Security benefits are often affected by the receipt of a Springfield retirement allowance. Although your Springfield retirement allowance cannot be reduced as a result of other retirement benefits, Social Security benefits might be reduced as a result of your public pension.
There are two federal laws, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO), which may reduce and in some instances eliminate a Social Security benefit because of a retirement allowance from a Massachusetts public employer. To learn more about these laws and to use Social Security's on-line calculator please go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/gpo-wep/. For information on Social Security and to apply for Social Security benefits visit their website at http://www.ssa.gov.
In addition, there are several private advocacy groups and public employee unions working with the Massachusetts Congressional delegation to repeal both federal offset laws. Information on these organizations can be found on our links page.
Social Security Administration Forms
Each year in July, retirees collecting a Social Security benefit and a City of Springfield pension check are sent a form from Social Security asking them to fill out certain information in regards to their retirement income. Filling out this form can be done by the retiree and does not need to be brought to the Retirement Office. Although we are always happy to assist you with this form and will continue to do so, we thought it would be helpful to give you the information you need if you would like to complete this form on your own. Below is a list of the questions and answers.
- Question 1: Has your pension changed since the previous year? Answer: If you received a Cost of Living Increase (COLA) in July of the current year you would answer yes to this question. If no Cost of Living Increase was granted, you would answer no. A cost of living increase (if approved) is always included in your July pension check – under Earnings – COLA. You will receive a July statement from the Springfield Retirement Office in which your COLA amount will be broken out.
- Question 2: What is your gross pension amount? Answer: This amount will be on your July statement under Total Allowance –this is your gross monthly check -fill in this amount on the form.
- Question 3: Effective date of this amount. Answer: If a Cost of Living (COLA) is granted, the date will always be July 1st of the current year. If no COLA was granted the date would be July 1st of the last year you received a COLA increase. If you received a COLA increase, it will show the amount of the increase on your July statement under Earnings - COLA.
- Question 4: May we contact your employer? Answer: Yes It will ask for your Retirement Systems address and phone number: Springfield Retirement System 70 Tapley Street Springfield, MA 01104. Phone number (413) 787-6090. Sign and date the form and mail it to the Social Security Administration.