MTA retired members eligible for $250 stimulus payment

When President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law on Feb. 17, it included a provision that provides retirees with a one-time stimulus payment of $250.

As originally drafted, the provision would have excluded federal, state and local retirees who do not participate in the Social Security system.

U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) first introduced a technical correction designed to fix the provision so that all retirees would be eligible. The Senate version of the recovery bill, however, did not include the payments.

When the bill was being negotiated by a joint House-Senate conference committee, Kerry continued his fight for retirees. Fellow members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation joined the effort, and the Kerry amendment was eventually included in the final version of the bill.

Without that change, MTA Retired members and other retired public employees in the Commonwealth would not have been eligible for the $250 payment because Massachusetts is one of 15 states in which public employees do not participate in the Social Security system.

Members who earned Social Security benefits from jobs covered by Social Security will receive the one-time payment by June 4. The money will be delivered the same way that each retiree’s Social Security benefit is currently delivered.

Members who do not receive a Social Security benefit may need to file a 2009 tax return to collect the benefit. This process is still being formulated. Additional information will be provided to MTA members as it becomes available.