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Massachusetts Society of Professors

The Union of Faculty and Librarians at UMass Amherst

Section 60 Transfer from ORP to SERS

In 2011 the MTA won a great victory: the legislature passed a law allowing employees who were originally enrolled in the private Optional Retirement Program (ORP) to transfer to the public MSERS (Massachusetts State Employees' Retirement System).  Since 2014, after the IRS approved the transfer, two state agencies have been responsible for implementing Section 60: the State Retirement Board (SRB) and the Department of Higher Education (DHE), staff to the Board of Higher Education. Implementation has not gone smoothly, partly because the SRB and the DHE had to invent procedures where none existed, and partly because the SRB and the DHE did not have adequate resources for handling the increased workload.  Currently the most problematic aspect of implementation continues to be the transfer of ORP assets to the MSERS. MTA has been in constant communication with the SRB and the DHE about correcting errors, reminding staff about delays, insisting on equal enforcement of Section 60, calling attention to complications and offering recommendations for addressing them. MTA's role has saved members more than $100,000 in overcharges by the SRB.
The MSP has been working with the MTA to get answers to a number of questions our members have been raising about the Section 60 transfer process.  We know that many people still have not received the information about transferring their funds to the State Retirement Board, and other people have raised concerns about how the employee contribution will be calculated upon retirement -- the process is taking far too long and definitive answers have not been forthcoming from the SRB.  We are making progress, and we will continue to keep our members updated.  
2/9/2018 Update from Donna Siritus (MTA's expert on the Section 60 process) to the Higher Education Leadership Council (HELC): Section 60 Report to HELC
Materials distributed at the 12/12/17 MSP meting with Donna Sirutis and Mark Hickernell (MTA Attorney)