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Retirement - Active Members

Related Pages: Boards & Commissions » Retirement Board

Active members of the Worcester Retirement System can find answers to commonly asked questions below.

Q:
Am I eligible to become a member of the Worcester Retirement System?
 A:

If you are employed by the City of Worcester or WHA on a permanent basis and holding a position, which requires you to work a minimum of 20 hours per week (excluding teachers), you are eligible to become a member of the Worcester Retirement System.

Q:
Am I required to become a member of the Worcester Retirement System?
 A:

According to the Massachusetts Retirement Law (M.G.L. Chapter 32), you must become a member of the system if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Q:
How much am I required to contribute?
 A:

You are required to contribute a set percentage of your salary and if applicable, an additional 2% on any salary over $30,000 through regular payroll deductions. Your contribution rate is established by Massachusetts General Law and is determined by the date on which you first became eligible for membership in a Massachusetts Contributory Retirement System and continuously maintained your funds on account.

If the date of which you become a member of a Massachusetts Retirement System and continuously maintained your funds on account is:

Your contribution rate is:
Before January 1, 1975 ............................................... 5%
January 1, 1975 through December 31, 1983 ....................... 7%
January 1, 1984 through June 30, 1996 ............................. 8%
July 1, 1996 or after ................................................... 9%

Whether you are subject to the 2% Over $30,000 deduction is determined by your membership date. If the date on which you become a member of the Massachusetts Contributory Retirement System and continuously maintained your funds on account is:

You are:
Before January 1,1979 ................ NOT subject to "2% OVER $30K"
On or after January 1, 1979 ........... Subject to the "2% OVER $30K"
Q:
What happens to my contributions?
 A:

The Retirement Office establishes and maintains an individual annuity savings account in your name for your retirement. At the end of every calendar year, you will receive a statement showing the balance of your contributions and accumulated interest for your records.

Q:
What type of retirement plan is this?
 A:

You pension is considered a defined benefit plan that operates as a qualified employer plan under section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. As a defined benefit plan, your retirement allowance is calculated using:

  1. your years of creditable service;
  2. your age at retirement; and
  3. your highest average annual salary for 36 consecutive months.
Q:
Can I borrow money from my retirement account now and pay it back later?
 A:

No! Under State Law, your retirement account has no provision for withdrawal under any circumstance including mortgage down payments or college education.

Q:
When will I be eligible to receive a retirement allowance?
 A:

You will be eligible to receive a retirement allowance when you:

Have at least 10 years of creditable service AND have reached age 55
OR
Have 20 years of creditable service regardless of your age.

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