Retired members from across the state traveled to the Nottingham Ballroom in Hamilton on April 13 for the annual Spring Luncheon. It was the first NJREA in-person event and for so many it felt like homecoming. Connections—of which far too many had been missed during the pandemic—were renewed. Eager to learn the latest pensions and benefits news – and what retirees can do to help advocate for their issues – NJREA members packed the room.
After NJREA President Joan Wright called the Delegate Council meeting to order, she then introduced NJEA Research Associate Director Sarah Favinger, who began the popular Member Information Session by providing attendees with the latest updates to the NJ retirement laws. “The change which was passed by the Legislature and signed into law allows for retired teachers or any professional staff member who provides special services to return to public school employment without being reenrolled in the pension system,” Favinger stated. “The school district must show a critical need, as determined by the Commissioner of Education when seeking to reemploy a retiree.”
Favinger turned the program over to NJEA Director of Research Denise Graf Policastro, who discussed IRMAA, Income-Related Monthly Adjusted Amount, which presented a lot of concerns at first. Her overview allayed members’ frustration over changes. IRMAA is an additional charge based on your modified adjusted gross income, as a part of the Medicare Part B and Part D premiums. Since 2007, high-income Medicare enrollees have been required to pay the IRMAA surcharge for Part B coverage. An IRMAA surcharge for Part D premiums took effect in 2011.
Taking care of business
After the Member Information Session, Wright called on her fellow officers to address various business items. NJREA First Vice President Kitty Sausa discussed plans for the annual membership drive and reminded everyone of the upcoming renewal deadlines. Ron Burd, the organization’s second vice president, thanked the members of the NJREA Planning Committee for their tireless work and spoke of plans for the upcoming Fall Luncheon in September and NJREA Convention in November. Robert Kapp was next and he reviewed the details of the proposed NJREA budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which was unanimously approved by the Delegate Council. Attendees also heard a report from Miriam Reichenbach and Cindy Braddock on behalf of the scholarship committee on the students chosen to receive them for the next school year.