Massachusetts State, Major City, & Public School Retirement Systems Massachusetts State, Major City & Public School Retirement Systems

The Massachusetts State Retirement Board administers the Massachusetts State Employees’ Retirement System (MSERS) for state employees and certain other public employees. The Board also administers the former Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Employees’ Retirement System and benefits for members of the Judiciary.

The MSERS is a contributory defined benefit retirement system governed by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 32. The system provides retirement, disability, survivor, and death benefits to members and their beneficiaries. This governmental plan is a Code section 401(a) retirement plan under Code section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code, established and maintained for the employees of the Commonwealth.

MSERS membership is mandatory for nearly all state employees who are employed part time (minimum half time), or full time.

The Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System (MTRS) is the largest of the Commonwealth’s 105 contributory retirement systems. MTRS provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to more than 88,000 active educators and 55,000 retirees and survivors. Learn more about the The Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System below.


QDRO State Plans
(Massachusetts Domestic Relations Order)
Consists of Seven Retirement Plans:
  • Massachusetts Public Employee Retirement System
  • Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency Retirement System
  • Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Employees’ Retirement System
  • Massachusetts Port Authority Employees’ Retirement System
  • Minuteman Regional School District Retirement System
  • MWRA Retirement System
  • Pension Reserves Investment Management Retirement System
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QDRO Teacher’s Plans
(Massachusetts Domestic Relations Order)
Consists of Two Retirement Plans:
  • Blue Hills Regional School Retirement System
  • Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System
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QDRO County/Regional Plans
(Massachusetts Domestic Relations Order)
Consists of Twelve Retirement Plans:
  • Barnstable County Retirement System
  • Berkshire County Retirement System
  • Bristol County Retirement System
  • Dukes County Contributory Retirement System
  • Essex Regional Retirement System
  • Franklin County Retirement System
  • Hampden County Regional Retirement System
  • Hampshire County Retirement System
  • Middlesex Retirement System
  • Norfolk County Retirement System
  • Plymouth County Retirement System
  • Worcester Regional Retirement System
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QDRO City/Regional Plans
(Massachusetts Domestic Relations Order)
Consists of Eighty-five Retirement Plans:
  • Adams Retirement System
  • Amesbury Retirement System
  • Andover Contributory Retirement System
  • Arlington Retirement System
  • Athol Retirement System
  • Attleboro Retirement System
  • Belmont Retirement System
  • Beverly Retirement System
  • Boston Retirement System
  • Braintree Contributory Retirement System
  • Brockton Contributory Retirement System
  • Town of Brookline Contributory Retirement System
  • City of Cambridge Contributory Retirement System
  • Chelsea Retirement System
  • Chicopee Retirement System
  • Clinton Retirement System
  • Concord Retirement System
  • Danvers Retirement System
  • Dedham Contributory Retirement System
  • Easthampton Retirement System
  • Everett Retirement System
  • Fairhaven Retirement System
  • Fall River Retirement System
  • Falmouth Retirement System
  • Fitchburg Retirement System
  • Framingham Retirement System
  • Gardner Retirement System
  • Gloucester Contributory Retirement System
  • Greenfield Retirement System
  • Haverhill Retirement System
  • Hingham Retirement System
  • Holyoke Retirement System
  • Hull Retirement System
  • Lawrence Retirement System
  • Leominster Contributory Retirement System
  • Lexington Retirement System
  • Lowell Retirement System
  • Lynn Retirement System
  • Malden Retirement System
  • Marblehead Contributory Retirement System
  • Marlborough Retirement System
  • Maynard Contributory Retirement System
  • Medford Retirement System
  • Melrose Retirement System
  • Methuen Contributory Retirement System
  • Milford Retirement System
  • Milton Retirement System
  • Montague Retirement System
  • Town of Natick Contributory Retirement System
  • Needham Retirement System
  • City of New Bedford Contributory Retirement System
  • Newburyport Retirement System
  • Newton Retirement System
  • North Adams Retirement System
  • North Attleboro Retirement System
  • Northampton Retirement System
  • Northbridge Retirement System
  • Norwood Retirement System
  • Peabody Retirement System
  • Pittsfield Contributory Retirement System
  • Plymouth Retirement System
  • Quincy Retirement System
  • Reading Retirement System
  • Revere Retirement System
  • City of Salem Contributory Retirement System
  • Saugus Retirement System
  • Town of Shrewsbury Contributory Retirement System
  • Somerville Retirement System
  • Southbridge Retirement System
  • City of Springfield Contributory Retirement System
  • Stoneham Retirement System
  • Swampscott Contributory Retirement System
  • City of Taunton Contributory Retirement System
  • Wakefield Retirement System
  • Waltham Retirement System
  • Watertown Contributory Retirement System
  • Webster Retirement System
  • Town of Wellesley Contributory Retirement System
  • West Springfield Retirement System
  • Westfield Contributory Retirement System
  • Weymouth Retirement System
  • Winchester Retirement System
  • Winthrop Retirement System
  • City of Woburn Retirement System
  • Worcester Retirement System
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The Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System

Payments made by the MTRS are subject to neither the Retirement Equity Act nor the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) because MTRS is specifically exempt from the provisions of both those federal acts.

The retirement benefits of members of MTRS are subject to distribution in a divorce. This division and distribution requires a DRO.

A domestic relations order (DRO) is a judgment, decree or order (including approval of a property settlement agreement) that sets out how a person’s retirement benefits are to be allocated between parties who are divorcing or who are already divorced. The MTRS must accept the DRO to ensure that it complies with the General Laws and is enforceable.

DROs deal primarily with retirement benefits. Because a pension is an asset that becomes payable at some future date, and involves many unknowns, it is necessary to address how it will be divided in a very specific document. This document usually gives an alternate payee the right to receive part of the benefits that would be payable to a participant under the plan. The DRO may not alter the amount or form of the benefits of the plan.

A DRO is accepted by the MTRS when:
1) The parties submit the DRO to the legal unit.
2) The legal unit reviews the DRO to be sure that it complies with the MTRS plan (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 32) and can be implemented. If the DRO is not acceptable, the legal unit notifies the attorney submitting the DRO that revisions need to be made. If the DRO is acceptable and has been signed by the court, the legal unit prepares a standard letter accepting it as a qualified DRO.
3) The Legal Unit files the order in the member’s file and notes the order in their computer system.

Frequently Asked Questions About MTRS:

Q. Does a member of the MTRS have to have a Domestic Relations Order as part of a divorce?
A. No. Depending on the spouses’ financial situation, they may be able to address the division of a MTRS pension in another way, such as calculating the present value of the benefits and then trading the pension for other assets.
Q. Can the MTRS determine the present value of future retirement benefits?
A. No. MTRS can only give information regarding current account balances. For computation of the present value of the member’s benefits, a party needs to consult an actuary or other financial professional for a pension appraisal. The MTRS provides the information that an appraiser needs to assign a value to a pension.
Q. What issues must a divorcing retiree consider in a Domestic Relations Order?
A. His or her retirement allowance may be apportioned, but neither the total amount nor the option he or she selected at the time of retirement may be changed. If applicable, MTRS divides the monthly allowance according to the terms of the Court’s order or the parties’ agreement.
Q. From the MTRS’s perspective, what issues does a member need to address in structuring a Domestic Relations Order?
A. If MTRS is currently paying a retiree a retirement allowance, he or she needs to be sure to address the percentage or amount of the retirement allowance that is to be made payable to the alternate payee. Because a participant’s retirement allowance is already fixed, the issues a retiree must address in a DRO are simpler than for an active member.
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