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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I am deeply concerned about the Legislation that reforms state

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I am deeply concerned about the Legislation that reforms state worker retiree’s health insurance benefits. I have worked for the State in two different capacities, Department of Mental Health Coordinator and Department of Transitional Assistance Benefits and Eligibility Specialist, for 7.5 years.
Under the Retiree Health Insurance benefits reform, I will be cut off from receiving any state retiree health insurance option because I have not worked for the state 20 years and do not have 10 years with the state at this time. I will be forced to continue working for the State until I am 75 years old in order to receive retiree health insurance benefits at 50% and complete the 20 year criteria. I imagine that there are other seniors in the same position.
I’ve worked hard to acquire the education I needed to take on a position with the State. I received my bachelor’s degree in 2001 and graduate degree in 2004. I am still paying off my student loans.
This legislation seems to target senior state workers who will not reasonably be able to meet to years of service requirements for the retiree health insurance benefits that have previously been promised. Less aged state workers with the same number of years of service will have the opportunity to work the required number of years to meet the designated years of service. Seniors will not. This legislature needs to be amended to provide for seniors like myself and others who are falling through the cracks.
Am I looking at actual age discrimination? what can I do about it?
Unfortunately, the problem you have with an age discrimination claim is that this new legislation is only based on years of service and not your age. Thus, everyone, even if they are 40 years old would be treated the same with regards XXXXX XXXXX 10 years, even though they can still work more years, so can someone who is 65+, at least that is the way courts and the law looks at it (and you know legislators and courts do not generally deal in reality). Furthermore the fact is that retiree benefits by their very nature impact really only those who are over 40 (the group covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act). Unfortunately, every state and even private employers are attacking retiree health benefits as those are something that the employer can modify, unlike pensions. Your fight here, since MCAD will not deal with a legislation issue under the separation of powers in the Constitution where the legislature does have authority on these matters, so your recourse in this matter is begin meeting with not just your legislator, but with several of them to seek to have them get this law modified or changed to provide you and those similarly situated some relief.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. What you have told me is as I expected.

I am very sorry about that, as I too was placed in a similar situation where my pension rights were impacted by my age and while it is not fair, I am afraid the laws are not designed to prevent it. I wish you the best in this matter.

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